The just-announced HTC U12 Plus has a number of standout features for anyone looking to get a high-end smartphone. They include the next generation of HTC’s Edge Sense, along with many camera improvements, compared to the HTC U11. The new phone also includes always-on support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and much more. Let’s take a more detailed look at the most interesting features found on the HTC U12 Plus.
Don’t miss: HTC U12 Plus hands-on
HTC Edge Sense 2
Edge Sense was first introduced in the HTC U11, and allowed owners of that phone to launch apps and activate features just by squeezing the sides of the device. For the HTC U12 Plus, the company has included the next version of this feature, Edge Sense 2. The biggest improvement is that HTC has put in ways to hold and tap the sides of the phone to activate features, in addition to squeezing the sides.
For example, you can hold the U12 Plus in one hand, and then tap the side with your thumb twice. This Edge Sense 2 action shrinks the screen on the phone so that you can touch all of it with your thumb. This should be helpful if you need to use the U11 Plus with just one hand. You can also activate the phone’s Edge Launcher app, which lets you access a number of customizable shortcuts to the phone’s apps and/or buttons.
Another cool feature with Edge Sense 2 could be even more helpful for one-handed use of the U12 Plus. The phone will “know” it is being held in portrait mode, so it can lock that screen in place even if the phone itself rotates.
It sounds like HTC is doubling down on Edge Sense with the U12 Plus, and it will be interesting to see if the company adds any more features in future software updates.
Dual cameras on the back and front
The HTC U11 had just a single rear 12MP camera, and while it didn’t include features such as support for portrait mode or other effects, it was still a solid camera that took highly detailed photos. The U11 also had a single front-facing 16MP camera. For the U12 Plus, HTC decided to go back to the dual-camera trend. Indeed, the company put in two sensors in both the back and front of the phone, totaling four cameras in all. Images taken with these cameras were given a rating of 103 by the DxOMark team, which is the highest rating ever for a dual-camera smartphone.
The rear cameras have 12 and 16MP sensors. There is support for optical image stabilization (OIS), but just on the main 12MP camera, which also has bigger pixels and a f/1.75 wide-angle aperture. The 16MP secondary rear camera has a f/2.6 aperture and a 2X optical zoom.
While the U11 didn’t do as well in low-light conditions, the cameras on the U12 Plus definately take better images in those kinds of settings. The new camera also has HDR Boost 2, a new version of the tech that was included in the U11, which auto-processes images as HDR to help create as clear and as detailed a photo as possible. For the new version, the U12 Plus uses HDR Boost 2 to create images that are even smoother and crisper than before, along with more detail with less noise when the lights are down or glare is up. HDR Boost 2 also supports multi-frame noise reduction.
Fans of Bokeh effects in images, especially in selfies, will be happy to know that the U12 Plus has both auto and manual Bokeh modes for the rear and front cameras, the latter of which consists of dual 8MP sensors, with f/2.0 apature lenses.
For taking videos, the phone supports OIS, with 4K clips shooting at 30 to 60fps, while clips at 1080p support 30, 60, and 240fps. The cameras also use Sonic Zoom to blur background noise in videos so the subjects are the main focus. The videos also support Audio Boost and Auto Zoom features.
New design and materials
The HTC U12 Plus uses what the company calls a liquid design form factor. It uses curved glass on both the front and back, and also has very narrow borders on its sides, along with small bezels on the top and bottom of its 18:9 6-inch Super LCD6 display. The company worked to make the blue color version look special; it has some translucency that allows you to see some of the phone’s hardware inside. The phone will also be sold in a ceramic black color with a gunmetel finish, and HTC plans to sell a version in a flame red color in the near future.
Another interesting design move deals with the familiar side buttons found on most smartphones. In the HTC U12 Plus, they are not physical buttons at all, but rather Edge Sense keys. They will provide haptic feedback so you still feel like you are pressing down on a physical key. Ditching these buttons also helps the phone to get an IP68 waterproof rating, which means the U12 Plus can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes and still work.
Audio and “always on” features
As usual, HTC tries to make audio features stand out on its phones. For one thing, the HTC U12 Plus has four microphones. Not only is this great for capturing audio, but it comes in handy with its “always on” feature. It can be set up so that the phone is either truly always on, or it starts working when you pick up the phone.
The HTC U12 Plus will also have dual speakers — one on top and one on the bottom of the phone, along with dedicated amps on each drive. It will also ship with the company’s HTC USonic earbuds with active noise cancellation features. The earbuds will be USB Type-C accessories, and the phone will not have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, nor will it have a 3.5mm/USB Type-C adapter.
High-end hardware inside
Along with all of these previous features, the HTC U12 Plus has some solid hardware specs inside. It will use the current mobile processor champion, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, and all of the models will come with 6GB of RAM, with storage options of 64GB and 128GB. It will come with Android 8.0 Oreo pre-installed, and its 6-inch display will have a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440, with 537ppi and 100 percent DCI-P3 for vivd colors. It also has Bluetooth 5.0 support and comes with a 3,500mAh battery. There is a Quick Charge 3 charger in the box, but it also can use the faster Quick Charge 4 if you purchase a charger with that support.
You can find the full list of HTC U12 Plus specs here.
Pre-orders start today
If all of that makes you want to get the HTC U12 Plus, the good news is that pre-orders start today. In the U.S., you can purchase the translucent blue model for $799 with 64GB of storage, or for $849 with 128GB of storage. The ceramic black model will only be sold with 64GB of storage for $799 in the U.S.
In Canada, the price for the translucent blue color model will be $1,099 CAD with 64GB of storage, or $1,169 CAD the 128GB option. The ceramic black model will only be sold with 64GB of storage, again for $1,099 CAD. Shipments of the phone should begin in those countries sometime in mid-June.
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