Notebookcheck

HTC U12 Life Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker, 👁 Florian Schmitt, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Finn D. Boerne), 12/11/2018

The perfect Bokeh. HTC positions the U12 Life as a smartphone with amazing camera effects to suit and satisfy everyone's artistic needs and wishes. In addition, it is also capable of 4K video recording, is supposed to feature a high-performance SoC, and long battery life. Let's find out which claims will hold up to our review and which ones will fall victim to an overly zealous marketing department.

HTC U12 Life

The predecessor, the U11 Life, was still based on Android One, and all updates and security patches were provided by Google. For today’s review unit, HTC seems to have reconsidered this step and reinstated its own Sense user interface on the U12 Life again.

Performance-wise, the device is equipped quite decently. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 combined with an Adreno 509, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of eMMC storage should make for ample performance. Optionally, the device can also be purchased with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC storage.

The competition is quite numerous in the U12’s price range of around $300. The contenders we picked include the U12’s own predecessor, the U11, as well as other similarly equipped devices: the Nokia 7.1, the Umidigis Z2, and the Samsung Galaxy A6 2018.

HTC U12 Life (U Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
, 4GB or 6GB
Display
6 inch 18:9, 2160 x 1080 pixel 402 PPI, capacitive, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB eMMC Flash, 64 GB 
, 64GB or 128GB, 54 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio, Card Reader: microSD, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, barometer, USB Type-C 2.0 (OTG)
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM (850/900/1,800/1,900), 3G UMTS (B1/B2/B5/B8/B42), HSUPA (6), 4G LTE FDD/TDD (B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B20/B28/B32/B66/B38B/B40), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.3 x 158.5 x 75.4 ( = 0.33 x 6.24 x 2.97 in)
Battery
3600 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix 16+5MP (f/2.0)
Secondary Camera: 13 MPix f/2.0
Additional features
Speakers: 1 speaker, Keyboard: on-screen, Keyboard Light: yes, USB power supply, USB Type-C cable, stereo headset, HTC Sense, fanless
Weight
175 g ( = 6.17 oz / 0.39 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
300 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Case

HTC refers to the U12 Life’s exterior as “Liquid Surface”, and it is available in two distinct colors: “Midnight Blue” and “Twilight Purple”. The backside and the sides are constructed of a single piece of acrylic glass covered with a skid-proof layer with horizontal stripes for additional grip on flat surfaces and in your hands. Overall, the U12 left a very robust and sturdy impression, and it should withstand drops with nothing more than a few minor scratches. External pressure and torsional forces did not seem to have too much of an effect on the device either. It should be just fine in your pocket or even your backpack when tossed in-between a plethora of other stuff.

The side bezels are very narrow, yet top and bottom are very pronounced in return. The bottom remained free of input devices and other smartphone components while the top houses the speaker, the front-facing selfie-camera, and an LED flash. All physical buttons are located on the right-hand side, sitting firmly in their respective individual indentations. The left-hand side contains the nanoSIM/microSD slot. Overall, build quality was of a very high quality.

Given that the U12 featured the biggest display of all devices in our test group it was also the largest and with 175 g (~6.2 oz) also the heaviest device of the bunch. However, it remained fairly compact for a 6-inch smartphone.

HTC U12 Life
HTC U12 Life
HTC U12 Life
HTC U12 Life
HTC U12 Life
HTC U12 Life

Size Comparison

158.5 mm / 6.24 inch 75.4 mm / 2.97 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 175 g0.3858 lbs153.4 mm / 6.04 inch 74.4 mm / 2.93 inch 8.3 mm / 0.3268 inch 165 g0.3638 lbs149.7 mm / 5.89 inch 71.2 mm / 2.8 inch 8 mm / 0.315 inch 160 g0.3527 lbs149.9 mm / 5.9 inch 70.9 mm / 2.79 inch 7.7 mm / 0.3031 inch 162 g0.3571 lbs149.1 mm / 5.87 inch 72.9 mm / 2.87 inch 8.1 mm / 0.3189 inch 142 g0.3131 lbs

Connectivity

The HTC U12 Life is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 mid-range SoC as well as an integrated Adreno 509 GPU. Combined with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage it should offer plenty of performance for everyday applications and tasks and even satisfy more demanding requirements.

Storage can be expanded via microSD, however by doing so you are going to lose the secondary nanoSIM slot. Wired data transfers can be achieved via the single USB-C port at the bottom of the device. Unfortunately, it is only connected to a USB 2.0 bus but it does support USB-OTG features, such as charging external devices, in return.  The U12 also marks the return of the 3.5-mm headphone jack, which was suspiciously missing on its U11 predecessor. It supports external speakers as well as headsets.

Left: nanoSIM / microSD slot
Left: nanoSIM / microSD slot
Bottom: microphone, USB Type-C
Bottom: microphone, USB Type-C
Right: power button, volume rocker
Right: power button, volume rocker
Top: microphone, 3.5-mm headphone jack
Top: microphone, 3.5-mm headphone jack

Software

The operating system is HTC’s own Sense UI on top of Android Oreo 8.1 with security patches as of August 1, 2018. The user interface is very similar to pure Android, and the major differences are the news screen called “BlinkFeed”, a few updates icons, and a number of preloaded apps. The latter can neither be uninstalled nor deactivated.

Should you be interested in Android’s multi-user capabilities you will be glad to hear that multiple users can be easily configured in the U12’s settings menu. While storage is expandable, microSD cards can only be formatted as external storage, and are thus not available for offloading applications. Accordingly, they can only be used for media files.

Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life
Software HTC U12 Life

Communication and GPS

HTC’s U12 Life supports cellular connections in 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. Thanks to support for LTE Cat. 11 it tops out at 600 and 75 Mbit/s downstream and upstream transfer rates, respectively. We have not had any problems with cellular connectivity during our review period.

In addition to NFC and Bluetooth the HTC smartphone also supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. According to our benchmarks, its Wi-Fi performance was decent and on a par with, yet second to, the Nokia 7.1 (RX) and the HTC U11 Life (TX).

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Nokia 7.1
Adreno 509, 636, 32 GB eMMC Flash
334 (min: 311, max: 342) MBit/s ∼100% +1%
HTC U12 Life
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB eMMC Flash
330 (min: 63, max: 342) MBit/s ∼99%
HTC U11 Life
Adreno 508, 630, 32 GB eMMC Flash
224 MBit/s ∼67% -32%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=424)
223 MBit/s ∼67% -32%
Umidigi Z2
Mali-G71 MP2, Helio P23 MT6763V, 64 GB eMMC Flash
124 (min: 105, max: 122) MBit/s ∼37% -62%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
Mali-T830 MP2, 7870 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
120 MBit/s ∼36% -64%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
HTC U11 Life
Adreno 508, 630, 32 GB eMMC Flash
274 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
HTC U12 Life
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB eMMC Flash
259 (min: 252, max: 263) MBit/s ∼95%
Nokia 7.1
Adreno 509, 636, 32 GB eMMC Flash
232 (min: 217, max: 244) MBit/s ∼85% -10%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=424)
213 MBit/s ∼78% -18%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
Mali-T830 MP2, 7870 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
123 MBit/s ∼45% -53%
Umidigi Z2
Mali-G71 MP2, Helio P23 MT6763V, 64 GB eMMC Flash
106 (min: 90, max: 112) MBit/s ∼39% -59%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø337 (314-342)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø259 (252-263)
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors

We test GPS accuracy with an app called “GPS Test”. Outdoor GPS accuracy was determined to be a very decent 3m (~10 ft). Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain GPS lock indoors at all. Supported location services include GPS and GLONASS.

In addition to the GPS Test app, we also take every device on a quick bike tour around the block, and compare it to a professional Garmin Edge 520 satnav. On long straights, the U12 was fairly accurate and placed us very close to the actual track. Bends and changes of directions were registered rather slowly, and accordingly the recorded track differed quite drastically from the actual track in these situations. All things considered we were not particularly impressed with the U12’s GPS capabilities.

GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS HTC U12 Life
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520
GPS Garmin Edge 520

Telephony and Call Quality

HTC opted for Google’s well-known default telephony app. It features a dialpad, contacts, and a 'recents' list. Call quality was superb, and we were particularly impressed by the HTC’s high volume and clear transmission of voices. We should also add that ambient noise cancelling worked remarkably well.

The included headset was decent and very loud. Consequently, it remained usable even in very noisy environments.

Cameras

Front-facing camera sample photo
Front-facing camera sample photo

The HTC U12 Life is equipped with two cameras: a dual-lens 16+5 MP rear-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0 and a 13 MP front-facing camera. The latter produced usable portrait photos with a lack of details, blurry edges, and pale colors. When zoomed in uniformly colored surfaces displayed a slight graininess. In addition to HDR and a beauty mode, the camera app also includes various presets as well as an auto-timer.

Panorama photos taken with the rear-facing main camera were somewhat decent, albeit we noticed problems with high dynamic range scenes. Darker, shady areas tend to be too dark, which means that objects contained within become practically invisible. On the other side of the lighting spectrum colors pop, details are acceptable, and edges blur even when not zoomed in. Good lighting conditions presupposed the camera’s close-range mode produced sharp photos with popping colors and well-defined edges. The Bokeh effect that HTC’s marketing singled out to promote works very well and puts noticeable emphasis on the chosen motive. This all quickly changes for the worse under less than ideal lighting conditions. While the camera manages to capture the objects it is pointed at, parts of the photo will be too dark to show any details whatsoever. And even if you manage to detect objects in the dark areas they will be very blurry. The preloaded camera app only allows for minor adjustment and image quality improvements. In addition to brightness, it contains an HDR and a panorama mode, as well as presets for landscape, sport, and night photography. The latter have almost no effect on the photos, though.

Overall video quality was comparable to the camera’s photo quality, and videos were smooth thanks to image stabilization. The only software feature is a panorama mode.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images
ColorChecker Passport
ColorChecker Passport

We test every camera in our lab under normalized conditions with the ColorChecker Passport. As you can see on the right, bright colors tend to be overexposed while dark colors tend be too dark. Dark grays turned out to be a bit too bright as well.

Under these normalized conditions we also take a photo of our test chart. Overall, colors were too dark and the photo was noticeably brighter towards the left edge. In addition, we noticed some paleness towards the bottom of the photo.

HTC U12 Life - test chart
HTC U12 Life - test chart (zoomed in)

Accessories and Warranty

Included in the box are a modular USB charger with matching USB-C cable, a SIM tool, and a stereo headset with a 3.5-mm plug. Additional accessories tailored specifically to the U12 are not available.

Like all HTC smartphones released after May 1, 2016, the U12 comes with a 12-month warranty by default. Please see our Guarantees, Return policies and Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices and Handling

HTC’s keyboard application of choice is an app called “TouchPal”. It features large buttons and various customizations to tailor it to your individual liking. It can be further individualized via various themes. The U12’s touchscreen was very responsive and accurate, and its smooth display surface worked in favor of painless and trouble-free drag & drop operations. The integrated orientation sensor reacted very quickly to changes in orientation.

A fingerprint reader is located at the back of the HTC smartphone, and it worked very reliably. We have only had a few failed or delayed attempts during our entire review period.

HTC U12 Life - input devices
HTC U12 Life - input devices

Display

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

The U12’s 6-inch 18:9 IPS display runs at a native resolution of 2160 x 1080. Its average maximum brightness of 452 nits turned out to be slightly below average for its class, and a brightness distribution of 90% was just mediocre as well. The display utilizes PWM for brightness regulation, which could potentially cause eyestrain and headaches for sensitive users.

442
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
444
cd/m²
459
cd/m²
468
cd/m²
438
cd/m²
468
cd/m²
457
cd/m²
425
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 470 cd/m² Average: 452.3 cd/m² Minimum: 5.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Contrast: 755:1 (Black: 0.62 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.09 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 6.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
99.5% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.708
HTC U12 Life
IPS, 2160x1080, 6
HTC U11 Life
SLCD, 1920x1080, 5.2
Nokia 7.1
IPS, 2280x1080, 5.84
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
Super AMOLED, 1480x720, 5.6
Umidigi Z2
IPS, 2246x1080, 6.2
Screen
24%
10%
24%
-9%
Brightness middle
468
545
16%
577
23%
453
-3%
472
1%
Brightness
452
526
16%
550
22%
459
2%
466
3%
Brightness Distribution
90
87
-3%
91
1%
93
3%
76
-16%
Black Level *
0.62
0.42
32%
0.36
42%
0.44
29%
Contrast
755
1298
72%
1603
112%
1073
42%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.09
4.9
20%
7.4
-22%
2.6
57%
7.91
-30%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.23
8.5
17%
15
-47%
9.2
10%
14.85
-45%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.8
5.4
21%
10.2
-50%
1.6
76%
10.6
-56%
Gamma
2.708 81%
2.31 95%
2.29 96%
2.07 106%
2.417 91%
CCT
6972 93%
7610 85%
9657 67%
6356 102%
9374 69%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9367 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

According to our measurements, the contrast ratio was just 755:1 due to an elevated black level of 0.62 nits. Both are significantly worse than on all other Android smartphones we compared the U12 Life to.

Our CalMAN analysis was more favorable, and colors turned out to be fairly balanced. Color temperature can be adjusted in the settings menu.

CalMAN - color accuracy
CalMAN - color accuracy
CalMAN - color space
CalMAN - color space
CalMAN - grayscale
CalMAN - grayscale
CalMAN - saturation
CalMAN - saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
34 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 21 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 88 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
48 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 35 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 78 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (39.8 ms).

Overall brightness was high enough for the U12 to remain usable outdoors. However, due to the display’s highly reflective nature you have to be aware of your surroundings. The sunnier the weather the worse it gets.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors
Outdoors

As expected of an IPS panel viewing angles were very wide, and the display remained readable from all angles without any color distortions. As long as you manage to keep reflections to a minimum, the display can be used even at extreme angles.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC and Adreno 509 GPU the U12’s performance was very smooth. With 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage, the device was equipped like a typical mid-range device capable of mastering most everyday applications and challenges.

Overall benchmark performance placed the U12 either at the top or in second place, depending on benchmark. It turned out to be very fast for a mid-range smartphone. Translated into everyday usage experience this means that the U12 remained very smooth and responsive throughout all of our tests.

Geekbench 4.4
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
4465 Points ∼97%
HTC U11 Life
3956 Points ∼86% -11%
Nokia 7.1
4560 Points ∼99% +2%
Umidigi Z2
2904 Points ∼63% -35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (4278 - 5041, n=11)
4505 Points ∼98% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (663 - 21070, n=322)
4603 Points ∼100% +3%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
4914 Points ∼99%
HTC U11 Life
4193 Points ∼85% -15%
Nokia 7.1
4902 Points ∼99% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
3741 Points ∼75% -24%
Umidigi Z2
3677 Points ∼74% -25%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (4781 - 5426, n=11)
4960 Points ∼100% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (3240 - 11598, n=381)
4621 Points ∼93% -6%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1338 Points ∼96%
HTC U11 Life
877 Points ∼63% -34%
Nokia 7.1
1333 Points ∼96% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
732 Points ∼53% -45%
Umidigi Z2
788 Points ∼57% -41%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1323 - 1506, n=11)
1351 Points ∼97% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (903 - 4824, n=383)
1387 Points ∼100% +4%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
5730 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
4835 Points ∼84% -16%
Nokia 7.1
5663 Points ∼99% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
3809 Points ∼66% -34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (5611 - 6277, n=11)
5291 Points ∼92% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (3227 - 11440, n=378)
5073 Points ∼89% -11%
Work performance score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
6412 Points ∼97%
HTC U11 Life
5818 Points ∼88% -9%
Nokia 7.1
6343 Points ∼96% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
4878 Points ∼74% -24%
Umidigi Z2
5840 Points ∼88% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (6040 - 7618, n=10)
6617 Points ∼100% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (4096 - 14439, n=546)
5569 Points ∼84% -13%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
2386 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
1718 Points ∼72% -28%
Nokia 7.1
2310 Points ∼97% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1602 Points ∼67% -33%
Umidigi Z2
1663 Points ∼70% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (2258 - 2644, n=10)
2376 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (573 - 4535, n=392)
1844 Points ∼77% -23%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
869 Points ∼54%
HTC U11 Life
809 Points ∼50% -7%
Nokia 7.1
869 Points ∼54% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
241 Points ∼15% -72%
Umidigi Z2
385 Points ∼24% -56%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (645 - 872, n=10)
840 Points ∼52% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (76 - 8206, n=392)
1619 Points ∼100% +86%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1012 Points ∼67%
HTC U11 Life
917 Points ∼61% -9%
Nokia 7.1
1009 Points ∼67% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
297 Points ∼20% -71%
Umidigi Z2
464 Points ∼31% -54%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (765 - 1016, n=10)
980 Points ∼65% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (94 - 6312, n=395)
1504 Points ∼100% +49%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
2343 Points ∼98%
HTC U11 Life
1702 Points ∼71% -27%
Nokia 7.1
2347 Points ∼98% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1601 Points ∼67% -32%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1601 Points ∼67% -32%
Umidigi Z2
1473 Points ∼61% -37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (2343 - 2683, n=10)
2396 Points ∼100% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (375 - 4703, n=407)
1821 Points ∼76% -22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1403 Points ∼64%
HTC U11 Life
1204 Points ∼55% -14%
Nokia 7.1
1396 Points ∼64% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
387 Points ∼18% -72%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
387 Points ∼18% -72%
Umidigi Z2
603 Points ∼27% -57%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1358 - 1406, n=10)
1396 Points ∼64% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (131 - 14951, n=407)
2194 Points ∼100% +56%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1540 Points ∼82%
HTC U11 Life
1299 Points ∼69% -16%
Nokia 7.1
1534 Points ∼82% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
465 Points ∼25% -70%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
465 Points ∼25% -70%
Umidigi Z2
694 Points ∼37% -55%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1525 - 1554, n=10)
1538 Points ∼82% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (159 - 8141, n=408)
1872 Points ∼100% +22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
2281 Points ∼97%
HTC U11 Life
1779 Points ∼75% -22%
Nokia 7.1
2251 Points ∼95% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1709 Points ∼72% -25%
Umidigi Z2
1570 Points ∼67% -31%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (2251 - 2634, n=10)
2360 Points ∼100% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (486 - 4320, n=468)
1781 Points ∼75% -22%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
815 Points ∼60%
HTC U11 Life
729 Points ∼54% -11%
Nokia 7.1
811 Points ∼60% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
211 Points ∼16% -74%
Umidigi Z2
368 Points ∼27% -55%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (797 - 818, n=10)
812 Points ∼60% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (65 - 6362, n=470)
1350 Points ∼100% +66%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
951 Points ∼74%
HTC U11 Life
839 Points ∼65% -12%
Nokia 7.1
945 Points ∼73% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
262 Points ∼20% -72%
Umidigi Z2
443 Points ∼34% -53%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (946 - 962, n=11)
864 Points ∼67% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (80 - 5734, n=478)
1286 Points ∼100% +35%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
2364 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
1711 Points ∼72% -28%
Nokia 7.1
2316 Points ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1705 Points ∼72% -28%
Umidigi Z2
1562 Points ∼66% -34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1349 - 2626, n=10)
2274 Points ∼96% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (512 - 4454, n=501)
1691 Points ∼72% -28%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1336 Points ∼74%
HTC U11 Life
1257 Points ∼69% -6%
Nokia 7.1
1323 Points ∼73% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
264 Points ∼15% -80%
Umidigi Z2
583 Points ∼32% -56%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1313 - 1353, n=10)
1332 Points ∼73% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (43 - 10008, n=501)
1815 Points ∼100% +36%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1479 Points ∼95%
HTC U11 Life
1336 Points ∼86% -10%
Nokia 7.1
1462 Points ∼94% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
325 Points ∼21% -78%
Umidigi Z2
677 Points ∼43% -54%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1458 - 1493, n=10)
1476 Points ∼94% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (55 - 7820, n=509)
1562 Points ∼100% +6%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
16924 Points ∼98%
HTC U11 Life
12919 Points ∼75% -24%
Nokia 7.1
17274 Points ∼100% +2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
6184 Points ∼36% -63%
Umidigi Z2
10349 Points ∼60% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (0 - 19365, n=11)
15577 Points ∼90% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (4811 - 45072, n=659)
13790 Points ∼80% -19%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
20778 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
18469 Points ∼89% -11%
Nokia 7.1
20610 Points ∼99% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
5376 Points ∼26% -74%
Umidigi Z2
10960 Points ∼53% -47%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (0 - 20953, n=11)
18924 Points ∼91% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (7567 - 162695, n=659)
20320 Points ∼98% -2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
19777 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
16859 Points ∼85% -15%
Nokia 7.1
19762 Points ∼100% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
5537 Points ∼28% -72%
Umidigi Z2
10818 Points ∼55% -45%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (0 - 20404, n=11)
18061 Points ∼91% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (8316 - 83518, n=660)
16844 Points ∼85% -15%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
36 fps ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
30 fps ∼83% -17%
Nokia 7.1
35 fps ∼97% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
12 fps ∼33% -67%
Umidigi Z2
22 fps ∼61% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (35 - 36, n=11)
35.6 fps ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 251, n=689)
35.3 fps ∼98% -2%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
35 fps ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
29 fps ∼83% -17%
Nokia 7.1
34 fps ∼97% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
19 fps ∼54% -46%
Umidigi Z2
21 fps ∼60% -40%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (30 - 40, n=11)
34.5 fps ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (9.8 - 120, n=692)
27.3 fps ∼78% -22%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
16 fps ∼82%
HTC U11 Life
14 fps ∼71% -12%
Nokia 7.1
16 fps ∼82% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
5.4 fps ∼28% -66%
Umidigi Z2
10 fps ∼51% -37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (16 - 16, n=11)
16 fps ∼82% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (2.7 - 132, n=608)
19.6 fps ∼100% +23%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
15 fps ∼83%
HTC U11 Life
14 fps ∼77% -7%
Nokia 7.1
15 fps ∼83% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
10 fps ∼55% -33%
Umidigi Z2
9.7 fps ∼54% -35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (13 - 18, n=11)
15 fps ∼83% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (5.4 - 115, n=613)
18.1 fps ∼100% +21%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
10 fps ∼62%
HTC U11 Life
9.7 fps ∼60% -3%
Nokia 7.1
10 fps ∼62% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
3.2 fps ∼20% -68%
Umidigi Z2
6.6 fps ∼41% -34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (9.8 - 10, n=11)
9.98 fps ∼62% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1.6 - 88, n=469)
16.1 fps ∼100% +61%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
9.8 fps ∼64%
HTC U11 Life
9.8 fps ∼64% 0%
Nokia 7.1
9.6 fps ∼62% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
6.9 fps ∼45% -30%
Umidigi Z2
6.1 fps ∼40% -38%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (8.4 - 12, n=11)
9.81 fps ∼64% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (3.4 - 110, n=472)
15.4 fps ∼100% +57%
GFXBench
Aztec Ruins High Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
3.6 fps ∼40%
Nokia 7.1
3.5 fps ∼39% -3%
Umidigi Z2
2.2 fps ∼24% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (2 - 4.4, n=8)
3.39 fps ∼38% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (0.86 - 59, n=172)
8.99 fps ∼100% +150%
2560x1440 Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
2.2 fps ∼35%
Nokia 7.1
2.2 fps ∼35% 0%
Umidigi Z2
1.4 fps ∼22% -36%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (2.2 - 2.3, n=8)
2.21 fps ∼35% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (0.26 - 31, n=172)
6.24 fps ∼100% +184%
Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
5.7 fps ∼42%
Nokia 7.1
5.5 fps ∼40% -4%
Umidigi Z2
3.5 fps ∼26% -39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (4.9 - 6.9, n=8)
5.61 fps ∼41% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (1.8 - 59, n=173)
13.6 fps ∼100% +139%
1920x1080 Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
6 fps ∼40%
Nokia 7.1
6 fps ∼40% 0%
Umidigi Z2
3.8 fps ∼26% -37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (5.4 - 6.1, n=8)
5.93 fps ∼40% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (0.94 - 63, n=173)
14.9 fps ∼100% +148%
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
6.3 fps ∼59%
HTC U11 Life
5.5 fps ∼51% -13%
Nokia 7.1
6.3 fps ∼59% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
2 fps ∼19% -68%
Umidigi Z2
3.9 fps ∼36% -38%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (6.3 - 6.3, n=11)
6.3 fps ∼59% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (0.89 - 54, n=398)
10.7 fps ∼100% +70%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
6 fps ∼62%
HTC U11 Life
5.4 fps ∼55% -10%
Nokia 7.1
5.9 fps ∼61% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
4 fps ∼41% -33%
Umidigi Z2
3.6 fps ∼37% -40%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (5.1 - 7.4, n=11)
6.01 fps ∼62% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (1.6 - 58, n=402)
9.74 fps ∼100% +62%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
116595 Points ∼88%
Nokia 7.1
116496 Points ∼88% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
61794 Points ∼46% -47%
Umidigi Z2
84332 Points ∼63% -28%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (115565 - 138661, n=11)
118863 Points ∼89% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (52607 - 398720, n=291)
133058 Points ∼100% +14%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
95287 Points ∼97%
HTC U11 Life
73617 Points ∼75% -23%
Nokia 7.1
95013 Points ∼97% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
46779 Points ∼48% -51%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (92015 - 125213, n=10)
98051 Points ∼100% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (108601 - 293444, n=491)
87166 Points ∼89% -9%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1061 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
858 Points ∼81% -19%
Nokia 7.1
1046 Points ∼99% -1%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
732 Points ∼69% -31%
Umidigi Z2
739 Points ∼70% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1018 - 1088, n=9)
1054 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=621)
751 Points ∼71% -29%
Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1597 Points ∼80%
HTC U11 Life
1515 Points ∼76% -5%
Nokia 7.1
1590 Points ∼80% 0%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
533 Points ∼27% -67%
Umidigi Z2
867 Points ∼44% -46%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1590 - 1625, n=9)
1605 Points ∼81% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=621)
1986 Points ∼100% +24%
Memory (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1979 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
838 Points ∼42% -58%
Nokia 7.1
1917 Points ∼97% -3%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
1096 Points ∼55% -45%
Umidigi Z2
1272 Points ∼64% -36%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1236 - 2492, n=9)
1951 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 7500, n=621)
1487 Points ∼75% -25%
System (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
4563 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
3215 Points ∼70% -30%
Nokia 7.1
4457 Points ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
2201 Points ∼48% -52%
Umidigi Z2
2476 Points ∼54% -46%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (4320 - 5348, n=9)
4566 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=621)
2910 Points ∼64% -36%
Overall (sort by value)
HTC U12 Life
1978 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Life
1368 Points ∼69% -31%
Nokia 7.1
1941 Points ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
985 Points ∼50% -50%
Umidigi Z2
1192 Points ∼60% -40%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (1734 - 2156, n=9)
1963 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=625)
1450 Points ∼73% -27%

Legend

 
HTC U12 Life Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Qualcomm Adreno 509, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC U11 Life Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Qualcomm Adreno 508, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia 7.1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Qualcomm Adreno 509, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018 Samsung Exynos 7870 Octa, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Umidigi Z2 Mediatek Helio P23 MT6763V, ARM Mali-G71 MP2, 64 GB eMMC Flash

We can see the same when looking at the Octane V2 browser benchmark results, as the only smartphone capable of outperforming the U12 was Nokia’s 7.1. Everyday browsing performance was thus very smooth - websites loaded very quickly and media contents were loaded and played back in no time.

JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (44.2 - 51.5, n=10)
45.4 Points ∼100% +2%
Nokia 7.1 (Chrome 70)
45.08 Points ∼99% +2%
HTC U12 Life (Chrome 70)
44.314 Points ∼98%
Average of class Smartphone (12 - 273, n=520)
39.3 Points ∼87% -11%
HTC U11 Life (Chrome 63)
28.993 Points ∼64% -35%
Umidigi Z2 (Chrome 70)
22.014 Points ∼48% -50%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018 (Chrome 64.0.3282.137)
20.877 Points ∼46% -53%
Octane V2 - Total Score
HTC U12 Life (Chrome 70)
9121 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (8163 - 9746, n=11)
8657 Points ∼95% -5%
Nokia 7.1 (Chrome 70)
8627 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (1994 - 43280, n=682)
6403 Points ∼70% -30%
HTC U11 Life (Chrome 63)
4893 Points ∼54% -46%
Umidigi Z2 (Chrome 70)
4132 Points ∼45% -55%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018 (Chrome 64.0.3282.137)
3739 Points ∼41% -59%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Umidigi Z2 (Chrome 70)
12642 ms * ∼100% -166%
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018 (Chrome 64.0.3282.137)
11807.6 ms * ∼93% -148%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=702)
10678 ms * ∼84% -124%
HTC U11 Life (Chrome 63)
9493 ms * ∼75% -100%
HTC U12 Life (Chrome 70)
4757.5 ms * ∼38%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (4105 - 4820, n=11)
4653 ms * ∼37% +2%
Nokia 7.1 (Chrome 70)
4562.2 ms * ∼36% +4%

* ... smaller is better

When looking at storage performance we see a dip into the midfield for the first time. Out of the box around 54 GB were available to the user, and storage can be expanded via microSD. Unfortunately, apps cannot be offloaded onto the microSD card as the phone is neither capable of detecting microSD cards formatted as internal storage nor reformatting them accordingly.

When running our benchmark suite on our usual Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference card the U12’s card reader performed admirably and overall average for its class.

HTC U12 LifeHTC U11 LifeNokia 7.1Samsung Galaxy A6 2018Umidigi Z2Average 64 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
22%
-16%
-27%
5%
1%
-14%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
60.87 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
59.83 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-2%
61.23 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
1%
65.66 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
8%
71.16 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
17%
55.9 (11.2 - 74.7, n=101)
-8%
48.7 (9.5 - 87.1, n=413)
-20%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
82.35 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
82.75 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
83.49 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
1%
81.39 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-1%
81.39 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-1%
74 (41.7 - 87.2, n=101)
-10%
66.7 (8.1 - 96.5, n=413)
-19%
Random Write 4KB
16.2
50.2
210%
11.93
-26%
10.68
-34%
17.61
9%
24 (3.4 - 88.2, n=112)
48%
21.3 (0.14 - 250, n=730)
31%
Random Read 4KB
56.71
39.3
-31%
44.9
-21%
24.54
-57%
53.29
-6%
54.3 (11.4 - 149, n=112)
-4%
46.1 (1.59 - 196, n=730)
-19%
Sequential Write 256KB
209.45
120
-43%
125.98
-40%
100.64
-52%
214.68
2%
171 (40 - 246, n=112)
-18%
94.6 (2.99 - 590, n=730)
-55%
Sequential Read 256KB
272.79
268
-2%
250.9
-8%
208.44
-24%
291.22
7%
273 (95.6 - 704, n=112)
0%
266 (12.1 - 1504, n=730)
-2%

Gaming

Graphics tasks are handled by an Adreno 509 Qualcomm GPU capable of running current games in high details. Both games tested by us, “Arena of Valor” and “Asphalt 9: Legends”, ran very smoothly and loaded quickly. Thanks to its smooth display coating, the device remained very comfortable to game on even after extended gaming sessions. The touchscreen was very responsive, and so was the phone’s positioning sensor.

Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor

Emissions

Temperature

With 27 °C (80.6 °F) when idle and 37 °C (98.6 °F) under load, surface temperatures remained moderate regardless of load. As a result, the device remains usable for prolonged periods of time without overheating and becoming uncomfortable to hold or handle.

Max. Load
 34.9 °C
95 F
33 °C
91 F
34 °C
93 F
 
 35.1 °C
95 F
32.7 °C
91 F
35.1 °C
95 F
 
 34.8 °C
95 F
33.1 °C
92 F
34 °C
93 F
 
Maximum: 35.1 °C = 95 F
Average: 34.1 °C = 93 F
33.1 °C
92 F
34.2 °C
94 F
36.6 °C
98 F
33.1 °C
92 F
34.4 °C
94 F
37.1 °C
99 F
33 °C
91 F
34.2 °C
94 F
35.7 °C
96 F
Maximum: 37.1 °C = 99 F
Average: 34.6 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  32.2 °C = 90 F | Room Temperature 21.6 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.1 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.1 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 37.1 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.7 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heatmap - front
Heatmap - front
Heatmap - backside
Heatmap - backside

Speakers

Speakers
Speakers

The single speaker is capable of a somewhat balanced soundscape and a decent maximum volume. In other words, the U12 is usable for occasional media consumption and does not require external speakers or headphones for an enjoyable movie experience.

The included 3.5-mm stereo headset turned out to offer a very decent soundscape as well. The phone’s 3.5-mm headphone jack was very tight and had no negative effect on sound quality whatsoever. The same can be said about Bluetooth audio connections.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.533.82534.935.33139.539.24038.639.4503940.8632833.88029.730.610028.529.812524.726.116023.733.820022.5462502148.531520.852.340019.959.650020.161.46301961.380018.566100019.266.612501969.7160018.170.720001870.3250017.471.7315017.672.6400017.875.750001878.36300187780001870.5100001868.2125001865.6160001855.3SPL64.130.684.8N17.21.557.8median 18.5median 66Delta29.535.236.932.938.737.236.931.737.939.63728.335.427.332.926.93226.738.82443.220.947.220.951.319.556.218.563.517.566.817.569.615.772.815.872.416.675.615.87215.471.915.574.21671.215.880.71679.916.372.816.372.716.271.416.465.516.463.228.6871.167.8median 16.4median 71.22.17.8hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHTC U12 LifeSamsung Galaxy A6 2018
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
HTC U12 Life audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 26.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.4% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 37% of all tested devices in this class were better, 13% similar, 50% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 61% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 31% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy A6 2018 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (87 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 26.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.8% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 3% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 92% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 27% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 67% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

A power consumption of 0.7 W when idle and 7.4 W under load make for a fairly energy efficient smartphone. On average, the Android device landed somewhere in the middle surrounded by its competitors. We should add that all of its competitors chosen for this review showed significantly lower power consumption under load.

The included 10 W fast charging power supply is powerful enough to ensure sufficient charging capabilities at all times.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.05 / 0.15 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.7 / 1.5 / 2.5 Watt
Load midlight 4.7 / 7.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HTC U12 Life
3600 mAh
HTC U11 Life
2600 mAh
Nokia 7.1
3060 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
3000 mAh
Umidigi Z2
3850 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
10%
-7%
24%
-2%
-17%
2%
Idle Minimum *
0.7
0.63
10%
1.01
-44%
0.81
-16%
0.9
-29%
0.965 (0.6 - 1.75, n=11)
-38%
0.878 (0.2 - 3.4, n=757)
-25%
Idle Average *
1.5
2.1
-40%
2.2
-47%
1.26
16%
2
-33%
2.21 (1.4 - 4.48, n=11)
-47%
1.733 (0.6 - 6.2, n=756)
-16%
Idle Maximum *
2.5
2.15
14%
2.25
10%
1.3
48%
2.6
-4%
2.57 (2 - 4.5, n=11)
-3%
2.02 (0.74 - 6.6, n=757)
19%
Load Average *
4.7
3.34
29%
3.76
20%
2.87
39%
3.6
23%
4.56 (3.65 - 7.92, n=11)
3%
4.07 (0.8 - 10.8, n=751)
13%
Load Maximum *
7.4
4.83
35%
5.56
25%
4.82
35%
5
32%
7.41 (5.1 - 13.6, n=11)
-0%
5.9 (1.2 - 14.2, n=751)
20%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

In our real-world Wi-Fi test, the HTC U12 Life lasted for around 10 hours before it shut down. In other words, its own predecessor, the HTC U11 Life, outlasted the U12 by roughly two hours. Keep in mind that the latter was equipped with a comparatively small battery. When compared to other current smartphones of its class overall battery life was just mediocre at best.

The included 10 W power supply is capable of charging the 3,600-mAh battery from near empty to full in around two hours.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
10h 03min
HTC U12 Life
3600 mAh
HTC U11 Life
2600 mAh
Nokia 7.1
3060 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A6 2018
3000 mAh
Umidigi Z2
3850 mAh
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
603
725
20%
346
-43%
608
1%
740
23%

Pros

+ decent performance
+ decent battery life
+ skid-proof rear panel
+ 3.5-mm headphone jack is back

Cons

- mediocre camera
- lots of preloaded apps that cannot be uninstalled

Verdict

In review: HTC U12 Life. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.
In review: HTC U12 Life. Review unit courtesy of HTC Germany.

Over the course of our tests and benchmarks the HTC U12 proved itself as a solid mid-range smartphone with a decent overall system performance capable of performing even demanding tasks without excessive and disruptive loading times. Speaker quality was decent and so was call quality.

The HTC U12 is a solid mid-range smartphone with a very decent system performance overall. However, the camera features it is so prominently advertised with are pretty much useless.

We were disappointed with the U12’s camera performance, though. While it is true that the Bokeh effect that HTC’s marketing is so keen to emphasize worked very well for close-range objects the remaining camera features were mediocre at best. Battery life has also suffered noticeably, however it is somewhat compensated for by the device’s more than decent system performance.

HTC U12 Life - 12/07/2018 v6(old)
Mike Wobker

Chassis
83%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
47 / 60 → 78%
Weight
90%
Battery
93%
Display
76%
Games Performance
45 / 63 → 71%
Application Performance
54 / 70 → 78%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Audio
55 / 91 → 60%
Camera
68%
Average
74%
83%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HTC U12 Life Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-12-11 (Update: 2019-02-25)