Smartphone is not enough to save HTC

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

After years of declining sales, downloading $ 1 billion in patents and personnel to Google, and recently cutting 25 percent of its global workforce, when it comes to HTC, I got a big question: So, what's left? Of course, it is possible that HTC has been able to isolate its promising company Vive VR turning that department into an independent company. But as for HTC itself, if everything the company has left in the tank is its next cryptographic phone and this, the new U12 +, things do not look good.

Initially, when I heard about the U12 +, I was optimistic. HTC's previous star phone was one of the biggest in 2017 thanks to its unique design, the huge 3930 mAh battery in the larger U11 + and a camera that was just as good, if not better than those found in phones of Samsung and Apple. And by 2018, it looked like HTC was going to rely on its innovative side-mount pressure sensors so you could control even more functions with a simple hand grip.


What is it?

HTC last (and possible is the last) flagship phone

I like it

Transparent back, big speakers and its camera is legitimate

I do not like it

Battery lifetime less than average and touch controls and tight wonky [19659011] And in some ways, that approach paid off completely, because now in addition to simply pressing the phone to call the Google Assistant or anything else you want, you can also touch the sides twice of the phone to go back, press and hold invokes any application you choose, or simply grab the phone to prevent it from darkening or turning the screen without your approval.

Besides that, you can even customize what the phone tightens within individual applications, so when using the camera application, for example, you c tighten the phone to take a picture, or press and hold to toggle between the front and back cameras of the phone. And since almost all these functions can be adjusted and adjusted to your liking, the U12 + seems to have endless customization possibilities. It's a phone tweaker's dream.

Unfortunately, what HTC forgot to do was increase the sensitivity of the U12 + pressure sensors, because even when set at its lowest level, making the phone recognize a compression is uncomfortable, and if you squeeze the phone a lot It could even be a bit painful. The metal sides of the phone do not have any elasticity, so for the phone to recognize your compression, you essentially have to bruise your fingers.

Those things on the side may look like buttons, but they're actually pumped prototypes sensitive to the touch,
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

But perhaps the biggest offense of the U12 + is what HTC did with the "buttons" lock and volume of the phone. That's because they are not really buttons, they are small pieces of raised metal with even more integrated touch sensors. And unlike the Touch ID's "buttons" found on previous iPhones, HTC has not tried to use high-quality haptics to trick their fingers and make them believe they are real. Sure, the "buttons" vibrate when you press them, but still feel dead, and like the rest of the phone's compression controls, you have to press them harder than you think you should when you want them to work.

I really do not understand, and when you consider that the phone has a curvilinear shape, almost fluid like glbad, I think it's a tragedy that HTC has not done everything and do the buttons of the U12 + totally in favor of a complete in touch controls. In a world in which phone manufacturers are already trying to eliminate everything that happens on a phone that is not a screen or a camera, that would be a big step forward in our inevitable "all tactile" future.

When the light hits just right, the transparent back of the U12 + looks bad.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Meanwhile, inside, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 phone chip, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and microSD card slot offer the kind of performance you would expect from a $ 800 telephone. . However, your battery does not. For some reason, after putting a large 3,950 mAh battery in the U11 +, which had a screen with the same dimensions of 6 inches and a resolution of 2880 x 1440 than the U12 +, HTC opted for this time with a 3500 mAh smaller. That means that in our summary test, the U12 + lasted only 8 hours and 1 minute, the shortest time we've seen on any phone in 2018, regardless of price, and between three and four hours (or more) shorter than many of its star products. competitors including the Galaxy S9 + (12:27), the Huawei P20 Pro (11:36) or OnePlus 6 (13:03).

Even leading device manufacturers like Sony have a hard time keeping up with the Google and Samsung cameras, but HTC did.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

However, one of the characteristics of the U12 + is its cameras, which have been duplicated to include dual 8 MP cameras in the front and double cams of 12 MP in the back part. That means you can take photos in portrait mode regardless of which side of the phone you are using, which is good, but what is even more impressive is that once again, HTC has managed to keep up with its main competitors. In the light of day, the U12 + not only captured a challenging photo of a flower in the diffuse light of a sunset with a more accurate white balance, but also avoided pressing the color saturation and sharpness too much. see in a comparison photo taken by a Galaxy S9 +.

Click to see full size photos
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

And in low light, while the photo of the U12 + looks a bit more grainy than the photo of the S9 +, It does not have any of the greenish tones on the yellow warning trail at the bottom of the shot, there are better details on the cobblestones on the road and clean and bright colors everywhere. The only other advantage of the S9 + is a slightly better range, as seen by more details on the beams at the top of the building.

Double cams in front and behind means you can always take photos in portrait mode.
Photo: Sam Rutherforrd (Gizmodo)

So in the end, what we have left is an incredibly frustrating phone. In addition to its transparent and glossy glbad, it looks almost exactly the same as last year's device and yet its cameras are even better. Unfortunately, the U12 + has taken a step back in battery life, and although its improved pressure sensors offer even more control and customization, the performance and execution of HTC's touch and compression functions simply do not exist.

But what worries me even more is that with HTC in such a financial problem, it is possible that the U12 + is the latest flagship phone that HTC has manufactured. And for a company that has created a lot of excellent phones of all time like the T-Mobile G1 (or the HTC Dream as it is known outside the US), which was the first phone sold that ran Android, or the legendary HTC One M7, which may have been the best phone of its generation, the death of HTC is a rather depressing thought. And despite its shortcomings, the U12 + shows that HTC did not sell all its best ideas to Google. There is still potential in what remains of HTC, but if things do not start to improve soon, all the great successes of HTC can remain strictly in the past.

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)


  • The "buttons" on the side of the U12 + are actually fake touch sensors that annoyingly do not have any real tactile feedback.
  • With only 8 hours, the battery life of the U12 + is the shortest we have seen on any smartphone. year.
  • The specifications and performance are generally quite solid, although with a maximum brightness of 400 nits, the U12 + screen could be a bit brighter.
  • The transparent glbad on the back is a nice look, and your camera is as good as those found in the main major competitors.
  • There are no headphones.


Android 8.0 • 6-inch and 2880 x 1440 LCD screen • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor • 6GB of RAM • 64GB or 128GB of storage • MicroSD card slot • stereo speakers • Dual front cameras 8 MP • dual 12 MP rear cameras • IP-68 water resistance • 3.1-C USB port • no headphone jack • 6.17 x 2.91 x 0.34-inch • 6.63 ounces


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