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HTC U12 Plus Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martin Jungowski), 06/01/2018

Future+. If we had to narrow down HTC to a single quality it would be innovative, and the HTC U12+ definitely fits that bill as well and is full to the brim with the latest technology. Let us find out whether or not it is as futuristic as it seems at first glance.
Update: additional information regarding the 3.5-mm headphone adapter added.

HTC U12 Plus

HTC certainly has not lost its spunk; the Taiwanese manufacturer has just announced the HTC U12+ as the only flagship smartphone for 2018. According to HTC, their one and only flagship contender for 2018 contains every single feature deemed necessary to play with the big boys this year. Unlike in previous years we will not see an interim HTC U12 this year as this move or product has been dubbed pointless by HTC. Instead, this engineering marvel contains so many features that it can easily keep up with every other so-called “Plus” smartphone, hence the name. These features include, but are not limited to enhanced Edge Sense controls, upgraded cameras, a high-resolution 2:1 display, and one of the fastest SoCs money can buy.

The device can be pre-ordered at a retail price of $799 for the 64 GB and $849 for the 128 GB model, and it is expected to ship in June. HTC club members can receive a 10% discount on HTC’s website.

At first glance it looks like a pretty decent deal, but will it endure our closer look? We have had the chance to take a closer look at the HTC U12+ during a preview event in Munich, Germany. Please note that the photographed and tested devices in this article are pre-production samples that can differ quite significantly from the actual production model in terms of choice of material, build quality, and performance. By now, we have also received our final test sample which we have pitted against the crème de la crème of high-end smartphones: Samsung Galaxy S9+Huawei P20 ProApple iPhone XOnePlus 6Sony Xperia XZ2Nokia 8 SiroccoLG G7 ThinQ, and last but not least the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s. In addition, HTC’s latest flagship candidate will also have to prove itself vis-a-vis its U11 Plus predecessor, which scored particularly poorly in the display department.

This review was originally published as live review and updated bit by bit every other day. The translation is based on the final and finished review.

Changelog:

  • 06/20/2018: additional information added regarding the 3.5-mm headphone adapter in the Speakers section.
HTC U12 Plus (U Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
6144 MB 
Display
6 inch 2:1, 2880 x 1440 pixel 537 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, Super LCD 6, HDR 10, DCI-P3, sRGB, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 50.33 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: audio output via USB-C, Card Reader: microSD up to 2 TB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: proximity sensor, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, magnetic sensor, sensor hub, DisplayPort via USB Type-C, AirPlay, DLNA, Miracast, HTC Connect, USB-OTG
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, GSM (850/900/1,800/1,900); UMTS (850/900/1,900/2,100); LTE (1,2,3,4,5,7,8,12,13,17,20,28,32,38,39,40,41,66), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.7 x 156.6 x 73.9 ( = 0.38 x 6.17 x 2.91 in)
Battery
13.3 Wh, 3500 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 23.8 h
Operating System
Android 8.0 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix dual camera: 12 MP wide angle with HTC UltraPixel 4, 1.4 µm, f/1.75 + 16 MP telephoto lens 1 µm, f/2.6, phase detection and laser autofocus, HDR Boost 2, videos @ 4K 60fps, 240 fps slow motion @ 1080p
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix dual camera 2x 8 MP 1.12 µm, f/2.0, wide angle with bokeh and HDR Boost
Additional features
Speakers: front-facing stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, Quick Charge 3.0 charger, USB cable, USonic headset, HTC Sense Companion, 24 Months Warranty, LTE Cat. 18 (1.2 Gbps download, 150 Mbps upload), 4x4 MIMO, VoLTE, VoWiFi, EdgeSense 2 controls, Hi-Res audio certified, IP68-certified, fanless
Weight
188 g ( = 6.63 oz / 0.41 pounds), Power Supply: 80 g ( = 2.82 oz / 0.18 pounds)
Price
799 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Even though the only color available for pre-order right now is “Translucent Blue” (coincidentally also the most exciting choice), the HTC U12+ will eventually be available in three different colors. This particular color concept has already been applied to the HTC U11 Plus: a translucent case through which the internal hardware becomes visible to the observer. Apparently, the U11 Plus in this particular choice of color sold better than expected, and HTC has decided to recycle the idea for its U12+. The rear side’s center is translucent and shows the battery’s prettified surface as well as other internal hardware components. The translucency fades towards the sides and turns into a solid Blue. The other two color options are just as exciting - once again HTC’s so-called liquid design philosophy makes for several layers of glass resulting in marvelous reflections and light effects. For example, the Black model seems to be more Grayish from some angles, but deep Black from others and the “Flame Red” model can look Golden from a specific angle. This design is gorgeous to look at, however the glass surface is also fairly susceptible to fingerprints and scratches. In fact, you can see a fair amount of scratch marks on the preview units pictured below.

Thanks to a special manufacturing technique HTC has been able to further reduce the bezel width at the front on the sides. The bezels above and below the display have remained untouched, though, and are required to house various sensors, cameras, and the speakers.

Unfortunately, the device’s sturdiness was nothing to write home about. Applying pressure to the front or back resulted in visible distortions on the display, and the case creaked slightly but noticeably under torsional pressure. That said we would like to once again remind our readers that these were pre-production samples and we will have to wait for an actual finalized production unit before making any judgements or assumptions.

The rear-facing main camera sits flush with the case and features a surrounding frame for improved protection from scratches. At 9.7 mm (0.4 in), the U12+ is quite bulky but makes up for its size with a weight of just 188 g (6.6 oz) and thus less than most flagship smartphones.

HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus Translucent Blue
HTC U12 Plus Flame Red

Size Comparison

Connectivity

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While US customers can choose between a 64 GB and a 128 GB model with 6 GB of RAM each, European customers are limited to the former for the time being. Both models support memory expansion via microSD cards of up to 2 TB, which can be formatted as internal storage.

The phone offers two 4G/LTE-capable SIM slots, one of which shares its physical space with the microSD card. HTC has promised a software update to include Dual-VoLTE in the future. In case one’s carrier supports Wi-Fi calling, the U12+ does so as well.

As before, audio signals are put out via the smartphone’s USB-C connector, which also supports DisplayPort and USB-OTG. Wireless media support includes HTC Connect, Apple AirPlay, Micacast, and DLNA. Radio and infrared blaster are not supported.

Top: microphone
Top: microphone
Left: card slot
Left: card slot
Right: volume rocker, power button
Right: volume rocker, power button
Bottom: speaker, USB, microphone
Bottom: speaker, USB, microphone

Software

HTC’s own Sense user interface is imposed on Android 8.0 Oreo, and HTC has promised an update to Android P. At the same time, the Taiwanese manufacturer did not fail to emphasize that previous devices have always received at least 2 major Android upgrades in the past. The security patch level of our final test sample was as of March 2018, and thus somewhat outdated. However, past experiences seem to indicate that one can expect quarterly updates from HTC.

As usual, HTC’s own Sense Companion is preloaded on the device. Its artificial intelligence analyzes the user’s behavior in order to offer useful tips or automatically apply settings. By and large, the OS is surprisingly vanilla with just a handful of preloaded apps. The phone supports so-called motion launch gestures, which are basically individually configured gestures to interact with the phone, as well as Edge Sense. The latter has already been present on the HTC U11 and U11 Plus, and it has been improved for this year’s model.

Unfortunately, Android’s user management feature has been disabled on the HTC U12+.

HTC U12 Plus: Homescreen
HTC U12 Plus: quick settings
HTC U12 Plus: apps
HTC U12 Plus: software
HTC U12 Plus: Sense Companion
HTC U12 Plus: Edge Sense
HTC U12 Plus: Motion Launch

Communication and GPS

LTE Cat. 18 with up to 1.2 Gbps (downstream) is included, and the device supports a total of 18 different LTE bands. Traveling abroad with the U12+ should thus be fairly uncomplicated. During our tests, cellular reception was inconspicuous and did not cause any problems.

Support for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC are pretty much a must for any flagship smartphone these days. Connected to our Linksys EA8500 reference router’s 5 GHz Wi-Fi network, the phone’s transfer rates were very high and consistent. The Wi-Fi range was superb by and large. However, PUBG Mobile complained about poor connectivity every now and then and even terminated the connection on one occasion.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
914 MBit/s ∼100% +58%
LG G7 ThinQ
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
656 MBit/s ∼72% +13%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
652 MBit/s ∼71% +13%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
579 MBit/s ∼63%
HTC U11 Plus
Adreno 540, 835, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
345 MBit/s ∼38% -40%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=311)
212 MBit/s ∼23% -63%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
LG G7 ThinQ
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
651 MBit/s ∼100% +14%
HTC U11 Plus
Adreno 540, 835, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
583 MBit/s ∼90% +2%
HTC U12 Plus
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
573 MBit/s ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Mali-G72 MP18, 9810, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
519 MBit/s ∼80% -9%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
A11 Bionic GPU, A11 Bionic, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
374 MBit/s ∼57% -35%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=311)
206 MBit/s ∼32% -64%
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors

Location services support includes A-GPS, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo. Outdoors, GPS lock was obtained within less than one second and accuracy eventually settled at around 3 m (~10 ft). Indoors, it took around 15 s to obtain GPS lock and accuracy was between 5 and 24 m (~16 – 79 ft).

In order to determine GPS precision, we take every smartphone on a short bicycle tour together with a professional Garmin Edge 500 GPS. After finishing the ride the recorded GPS tracks differed by just 10 m (~33 ft), and the HTC U12+ did an excellent job by and large. In most cases positioning was very precise, and the U12+ gets our full endorsement in this particular respect.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus
HTC U12 Plus

Telephony and Call Quality

Not much has changed in terms of telephony, and our review unit’s call quality was superb. Using the device’s earphone, voice quality was excellent on both sides but was accompanied by minor static when connected to a 3G network. On speakerphone, voice quality remained very high with just minor reverberations. If ambient noise was low we were even able to walk away from the phone. The included headset supports active noise cancelling and performed exceptionally well.

The HTC U12+ supports both VoLTE as well as Wi-Fi calling if the carrier does so as well.

Cameras

HTC U12 Plus: front facing camera
HTC U12 Plus: front facing camera
front facing camera with AR sticker
front facing camera with AR sticker

HTC has equipped its latest flagship smartphone with dual-cameras on both front and back, although the front-facing camera uses the secondary lens for an improved bokeh effect in portrait mode only. It features an 8 MP sensor (f/2.0, 1.12 µm) with an 84° wide angle lens. Image quality was decent in bright daylight, but we were somewhat disappointed by the bokeh effect. The transition between the parts that are in focus and those that are not was very blurred and easily noticeable even on the phone’s display. Low-light conditions resulted in visible noise fairly quickly. Videos are recorded at FHD - video quality was okay and the electronic image stabilization worked very well when walking around. The recorded single-channel sound is somewhat noisy.

The main rear-facing dual camera preens itself with a high DxOMark ranking (see here for details). On paper, its specifications are decent and very similar to its U11 Plus predecessor: 12 MP sensor, f/1.75 aperture, 1.4 µm pixel size, and optical image stabilization. The major differences are the new UltraSpeed Autofocus 2 (phase detection and laser autofocus) as well as 4th generation UltraPixels. The secondary lens (16 MP, f/2.6 aperture) offers a slightly higher resolution, but is otherwise not even nearly as good as the main lens. It is used mainly for depth of field effect in portrait photos and allows for a 2x optical and 10x digital zoom. All things considered we were fairly disappointed with the second lens’s quality - its photos were noticeably worse even in bright daylight. Colors were dull and dynamic range could certainly need improvement.

HTC U12+ wide angle lens
HTC U12+ wide angle lens
HTC U12+ 2x optical zoom
HTC U12+ 2x optical zoom

The main camera, on the other hand, did a fantastic job and produced very nice high-quality photos. They were very rich in detail with well-balanced colors in bright daylight, and the U12+’s shutter delay was barely noticeable. In other words: it was on a par with other flagships, such as the Huawei P20 Pro or the Galaxy S9 Plus. Quality suffered noticeably in low-light scenarios, but HTC’s flagship kept the upper hand and produced higher quality photos than for example the S9+. A Pro mode allows for shutter speeds of up to 32 seconds and supports RAW photography.

Videos are recorded in UHD at up to 60 FPS. Unfortunately, all recordings are limited to just 6 minutes. At least those 6 minutes are buttery smooth thanks to the lens’s optical image stabilization. Accordingly, video quality was excellent. Just like the LG V30, the HTC U12+ supports zooming in while filming by utilizing the secondary lens for an optical 2x zoom and a digital 4x zoom. We recommend avoiding the latter due to poor quality, though. Even the optical zoom had trouble, resulting in occasional minor flickering. In addition to hi-res sound the phone also supports recording 3D sound with its four integrated microphones. It worked quite well, although the recorded static was too loud for our taste.

Main camera's automatic bokeh effect
Main camera's automatic bokeh effect
HTC U12+ front-facing camera
HTC U12+ front-facing camera
HTC U12+ details
HTC U12+ details
HTC U12+ video recording
HTC U12+ video recording
HTC U12+ slow motion
HTC U12+ slow motion
HTC U12+ zoom
HTC U12+ zoom
HTC U12+ camera app
HTC U12+ camera app
HTC U12+ camera app
HTC U12+ camera app

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; reference color in the bottom half of each square.
ColorChecker; reference color in the bottom half of each square.

Under normalized conditions using the ColorChecker, the HTC U12+ showed a very good white balance with most colors slightly overexposed and oversaturated.

We took two photos of our test chart: one with the primary wide angle and one with the secondary telephoto lens. And once again the latter was quite disappointing: white balance was off (too cool) and colors lacked saturation, most notably Yellow. Focus was decent, but not even immaculate dead center. Even though the circles were not perfect and somewhat jagged the primary lens did a much better job. The photo was in focus up to its very edges.

HTC U12+ wide angle lens
HTC U12+ wide angle lens
HTC U12+ telephoto lens
HTC U12+ telephoto lens
HTC U12+ wide angle lens
HTC U12+ telephoto lens

Accessories

A Quick Charge 3.0 compatible charger is included in the box, and HTC has assured us that the U12+ supports Quick Charge 4.0 as well. In addition to the charger, HTC has also opted to include its in-house USonic headset, which is supposed to map out the ear using sonar waves in order to individually optimize sound performance and supports active noise cancellation. A transparent plastic case is also included, although a USB-C dongle to connect standard headphones is missing.

By default, the phone comes with a 24-month limited warranty.

Input Devices & Handling

HTC has upped the ante with their Edge Sense technology, and the U12+ supports Edge Sense 2 allowing to control the smartphone via pressure applied to its edges. The improved second generation of this feature introduces additional gestures. Instead of simply applying pressure, one can now also hold or double-press in order to issue specific commands. It is supposed to work with every single app by training Edge Sense beforehand and showing it which pressure action is supposed to press which button on screen. Even system calls, such as Android’s back feature, shrinking the display for one-handed use, or displaying the navigation wheel that can be seen on our photos below are supported.

Other uses of the Edge Sense 2 technology include, among other things touch detection capabilities. Say you are watching a video on our smartphone - in that scenario the phone is only going to rotate the screen to landscape if you are actively holding the phone in your hands.

The hardware buttons on the right side deserve some attention, too. Unlike on previous HTC smartphones, those buttons are no longer actual physical hardware buttons but touch sensitive buttons instead. And just like the home button on Apple’s iPhones they simulate a click by vibrating accordingly. Truth be told, they felt pretty convincing during our short tests.

The navigation buttons can be found on-screen, and the fingerprint reader is placed at the rear and easy to locate by touch and feel alone. And as always the smartphone supports various gestures for individualization and customization.

HTC U12+ navigation wheel
HTC U12+ navigation wheel
HTC U12+ force-feedback enabled hardware buttons
HTC U12+ force-feedback enabled hardware buttons

Display

Subpixel geometry
Subpixel geometry

On paper, the U12+’s display looks identical to its predecessor’s. It measures 6 inches (15.24 cm) diagonally and boasts an impressive 2880x1440 resolution. As such, the phone is made for VR. The display also supports HDR10.

Overall, the brightness of this 6th generation Super LC display has been improved slightly but was still nowhere near our expectations. Most smartphones for less than $200 feature a brighter display than the U12+. Even the included ambient light sensor was unable to improve the display brightness any further.  Using the APL 50 test, which distributes bright and dark areas evenly all over the display, the brightness distribution turned out to be abysmal, and the middle of the display produced just 319 nits. Compared to its predecessor the black level has suffered quite a bit, and the resulting contrast ratio of 1,068:1 (APL 50: 840:1) is mediocre at best.

The panel supports displaying information on-screen when the phone is in standby, and it also includes a night mode. Unfortunately, HTC has once again opted for brightness control via PWM albeit at a very high frequency. We did not noticed any halos or backlight bleeding on our review unit’s display.

388
cd/m²
405
cd/m²
406
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
395
cd/m²
391
cd/m²
429
cd/m²
399
cd/m²
392
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 429 cd/m² Average: 402 cd/m² Minimum: 3.33 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 395 cd/m²
Contrast: 1068:1 (Black: 0.37 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.6 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 1.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
97.3% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.14
HTC U12 Plus
Super LCD 6, 2880x1440, 6
HTC U11 Plus
Super LCD 6, 2880x1440, 6
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
Super AMOLED, 2960x1440, 6.2
Apple iPhone X
Super AMOLED, 2436x1125, 5.8
OnePlus 6
Optic AMOLED, 2280x1080, 6.28
Huawei P20 Pro
OLED, 2240x1080, 6.1
Sony Xperia XZ2
IPS, 2160x1080, 5.7
LG G7 ThinQ
IPS, 3120x1440, 6.1
Screen
-10%
-11%
17%
-30%
18%
3%
-66%
Brightness middle
395
361
-9%
565
43%
600
52%
430
9%
569
44%
630
59%
974
147%
Brightness
402
356
-11%
571
42%
606
51%
437
9%
578
44%
632
57%
975
143%
Brightness Distribution
90
90
0%
96
7%
94
4%
87
-3%
95
6%
96
7%
96
7%
Black Level *
0.37
0.21
43%
0.44
-19%
0.49
-32%
Contrast
1068
1719
61%
1432
34%
1988
86%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.6
2.5
-56%
2.3
-44%
1.2
25%
2.3
-44%
1.3
19%
1.5
6%
5.4
-238%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
3.4
5.3
-56%
4.8
-41%
3
12%
4.6
-35%
2.1
38%
4.3
-26%
13.1
-285%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.1
1.7
-55%
1.9
-73%
1.6
-45%
2.4
-118%
1.6
-45%
2.1
-91%
5
-355%
Gamma
2.14 103%
2.21 100%
2.16 102%
2.23 99%
2.28 96%
2.31 95%
2.17 101%
2.31 95%
CCT
6536 99%
6580 99%
6332 103%
6707 97%
6160 106%
6401 102%
6513 100%
7480 87%

* ... 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 detected 9709 Hz ≤ 50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 9709 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 9709 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8929 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The device supports two different color spectrums: DCI-P3 and sRGB. Accordingly, we have analyzed both using a spectrophotometer and the CalMAN software. In DCI-P3 the phone was capable of displaying more colors at the price of accuracy and tint. The sRGB profile was much more natural and much better calibrated. Regrading color accuracy, the only competitors even better were the iPhone X and the Huawei P20 Pro. Regarding gray scale, the U12+ was the most accurate.

Gray scale (DCI-P3-Modus)
Gray scale (DCI-P3-Modus)
Gray scale (sRGB-Modus)
Gray scale (sRGB-Modus)
Colors (DCI-P3-Modus)
Colors (DCI-P3-Modus)
Colors (sRGB-Modus)
Colors (sRGB-Modus)
Color space (DCI-P3-Modus)
Color space (DCI-P3-Modus)
Color space (sRGB-Modus)
Color space (sRGB-Modus)
Saturation (DCI-P3-Modus)
Saturation (DCI-P3-Modus)
Saturation (sRGB-Modus)
Saturation (sRGB-Modus)

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
29.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 14 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 71 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 22.8 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. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Outdoors, the HTC U12+ suffered from its low maximum brightness. It was okay by and large on cloudy days (see photos) but barely usable once the sun came out.

Viewing angles were superb. We found no evidence of color distortions, and brightness only decreased ever so slightly at acute angles.

HTC U12+ viewing angles
HTC U12+ viewing angles

Performance

The HTC U12+ is powered by the Snapdragon 845 - Qualcomm’s fastest SoC at the time of writing. Furthermore, it is equipped with 6 GB of fast LPDDR4x RAM and an Adreno 630 GPU. The same SoC can also be found in some of the U12+’s competitors, such as the OnePlus 6 or the Xperia XZ2.

Most benchmarks yielded scores at their respective expected levels. In terms of system performance, however, the U12+ scored a new record in the Work and Work 2.0 test, which was in line with our subjective impressions of a very snappy and responsive system.

Graphics performance was a bit worse than average due to the U12+’s high display resolution, but it scored as high as expected in the offscreen tests.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
221971 Points ∼96%
HTC U11 Plus
183057 Points ∼79% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
222290 Points ∼96% 0%
Apple iPhone X
197851 Points ∼86% -11%
OnePlus 6
230421 Points ∼100% +4%
Huawei P20 Pro
179709 Points ∼78% -19%
LG G7 ThinQ
223464 Points ∼97% +1%
Sony Xperia XZ2
225663 Points ∼98% +2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (162183 - 242953, n=18)
223967 Points ∼97% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=395)
76422 Points ∼33% -66%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
255739 Points ∼93%
HTC U11 Plus
217442 Points ∼79% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
250577 Points ∼91% -2%
Apple iPhone X
256297 Points ∼93% 0%
OnePlus 6
266686 Points ∼97% +4%
Huawei P20 Pro
207959 Points ∼75% -19%
LG G7 ThinQ
256276 Points ∼93% 0%
Sony Xperia XZ2
266981 Points ∼97% +4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (246366 - 299878, n=22)
275958 Points ∼100% +8%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=176)
118104 Points ∼43% -54%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
8601 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Plus
6695 Points ∼78% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5319 Points ∼62% -38%
OnePlus 6
8282 Points ∼96% -4%
Huawei P20 Pro
6982 Points ∼81% -19%
LG G7 ThinQ
7717 Points ∼90% -10%
Sony Xperia XZ2
8069 Points ∼94% -6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (8326 - 9868, n=22)
8018 Points ∼93% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=261)
4563 Points ∼53% -47%
Work performance score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
10264 Points ∼100%
HTC U11 Plus
7964 Points ∼78% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
5822 Points ∼57% -43%
OnePlus 6
9630 Points ∼94% -6%
Huawei P20 Pro
8115 Points ∼79% -21%
LG G7 ThinQ
9503 Points ∼93% -7%
Sony Xperia XZ2
9319 Points ∼91% -9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7998 - 13211, n=20)
10123 Points ∼99% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (4009 - 13531, n=429)
4972 Points ∼48% -52%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
1437 Points ∼85%
HTC U11 Plus
1159 Points ∼69% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
1109 Points ∼66% -23%
Apple iPhone X
1682 Points ∼100% +17%
OnePlus 6
1386 Points ∼82% -4%
Huawei P20 Pro
1273 Points ∼76% -11%
LG G7 ThinQ
1374 Points ∼82% -4%
Sony Xperia XZ2
1346 Points ∼80% -6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (1009 - 1613, n=20)
1348 Points ∼80% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=505)
699 Points ∼42% -51%
Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
7945 Points ∼86%
HTC U11 Plus
6086 Points ∼66% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6370 Points ∼69% -20%
Apple iPhone X
9248 Points ∼100% +16%
OnePlus 6
7949 Points ∼86% 0%
Huawei P20 Pro
3725 Points ∼40% -53%
LG G7 ThinQ
7906 Points ∼85% 0%
Sony Xperia XZ2
7868 Points ∼85% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5846 - 8001, n=20)
7816 Points ∼85% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=505)
1737 Points ∼19% -78%
Memory (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
3641 Points ∼90%
HTC U11 Plus
3376 Points ∼83% -7%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2625 Points ∼65% -28%
Apple iPhone X
1219 Points ∼30% -67%
OnePlus 6
3799 Points ∼94% +4%
Huawei P20 Pro
4050 Points ∼100% +11%
LG G7 ThinQ
3744 Points ∼92% +3%
Sony Xperia XZ2
2193 Points ∼54% -40%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2193 - 5296, n=20)
3594 Points ∼89% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=505)
1254 Points ∼31% -66%
System (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
7862 Points ∼76%
HTC U11 Plus
5926 Points ∼58% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6413 Points ∼62% -18%
Apple iPhone X
10281 Points ∼100% +31%
OnePlus 6
8228 Points ∼80% +5%
Huawei P20 Pro
5965 Points ∼58% -24%
LG G7 ThinQ
8070 Points ∼78% +3%
Sony Xperia XZ2
8402 Points ∼82% +7%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4417 - 8613, n=20)
7657 Points ∼74% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=505)
2525 Points ∼25% -68%
Overall (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
4252 Points ∼99%
HTC U11 Plus
3447 Points ∼80% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3302 Points ∼77% -22%
Apple iPhone X
3737 Points ∼87% -12%
OnePlus 6
4308 Points ∼100% +1%
Huawei P20 Pro
3271 Points ∼76% -23%
LG G7 ThinQ
4257 Points ∼99% 0%
Sony Xperia XZ2
3738 Points ∼87% -12%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3291 - 4693, n=20)
4099 Points ∼95% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=509)
1260 Points ∼29% -70%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
12493 Points ∼87%
HTC U11 Plus
7946 Points ∼55% -36%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
6202 Points ∼43% -50%
Huawei P20 Pro
8025 Points ∼56% -36%
LG G7 ThinQ
13497 Points ∼94% +8%
Sony Xperia XZ2
14362 Points ∼100% +15%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (10876 - 14489, n=19)
13635 Points ∼95% +9%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=203)
4486 Points ∼31% -64%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
8812 Points ∼86%
HTC U11 Plus
6771 Points ∼66% -23%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
8963 Points ∼87% +2%
Apple iPhone X
10255 Points ∼100% +16%
Huawei P20 Pro
6756 Points ∼66% -23%
LG G7 ThinQ
9029 Points ∼88% +2%
Sony Xperia XZ2
8510 Points ∼83% -3%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (7754 - 9231, n=21)
8655 Points ∼84% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=253)
4310 Points ∼42% -51%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
2429 Points ∼57%
HTC U11 Plus
1935 Points ∼45% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3776 Points ∼89% +55%
Apple iPhone X
4265 Points ∼100% +76%
Huawei P20 Pro
1922 Points ∼45% -21%
LG G7 ThinQ
2448 Points ∼57% +1%
Sony Xperia XZ2
2464 Points ∼58% +1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2272 - 2500, n=21)
2417 Points ∼57% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=254)
1273 Points ∼30% -48%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
3197 Points ∼88%
HTC U11 Plus
3049 Points ∼84% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2469 Points ∼68% -23%
Apple iPhone X
2361 Points ∼65% -26%
OnePlus 6
3432 Points ∼95% +7%
Huawei P20 Pro
2926 Points ∼81% -8%
LG G7 ThinQ
3255 Points ∼90% +2%
Sony Xperia XZ2
3630 Points ∼100% +14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2118 - 3703, n=21)
3268 Points ∼90% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (2073 - 4216, n=356)
1646 Points ∼45% -49%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
3488 Points ∼67%
HTC U11 Plus
3987 Points ∼76% +14%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3582 Points ∼69% +3%
Apple iPhone X
3463 Points ∼66% -1%
OnePlus 6
5212 Points ∼100% +49%
Huawei P20 Pro
3017 Points ∼58% -14%
LG G7 ThinQ
5006 Points ∼96% +44%
Sony Xperia XZ2
5122 Points ∼98% +47%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3488 - 5241, n=21)
4944 Points ∼95% +42%
Average of class Smartphone (703 - 5241, n=356)
1188 Points ∼23% -66%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
3419 Points ∼73%
HTC U11 Plus
3732 Points ∼80% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3256 Points ∼69% -5%
Apple iPhone X
3138 Points ∼67% -8%
OnePlus 6
4673 Points ∼100% +37%
Huawei P20 Pro
2996 Points ∼64% -12%
LG G7 ThinQ
4471 Points ∼95% +31%
Sony Xperia XZ2
4693 Points ∼100% +37%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3197 - 4734, n=21)
4424 Points ∼94% +29%
Average of class Smartphone (834 - 4734, n=364)
1137 Points ∼24% -67%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
2774 Points ∼76%
HTC U11 Plus
3071 Points ∼84% +11%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
2496 Points ∼69% -10%
OnePlus 6
3452 Points ∼95% +24%
Huawei P20 Pro
2885 Points ∼79% +4%
LG G7 ThinQ
3150 Points ∼86% +14%
Sony Xperia XZ2
3642 Points ∼100% +31%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2159 - 3668, n=21)
3129 Points ∼86% +13%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=390)
1546 Points ∼42% -44%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
5637 Points ∼68%
HTC U11 Plus
6060 Points ∼73% +8%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
4637 Points ∼56% -18%
OnePlus 6
8252 Points ∼100% +46%
Huawei P20 Pro
3335 Points ∼40% -41%
LG G7 ThinQ
7633 Points ∼92% +35%
Sony Xperia XZ2
8122 Points ∼98% +44%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (5637 - 8312, n=21)
7818 Points ∼95% +39%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=390)
1621 Points ∼20% -71%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
4585 Points ∼72%
HTC U11 Plus
4982 Points ∼78% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3895 Points ∼61% -15%
OnePlus 6
6304 Points ∼99% +37%
Huawei P20 Pro
3223 Points ∼51% -30%
LG G7 ThinQ
5799 Points ∼91% +26%
Sony Xperia XZ2
6378 Points ∼100% +39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4529 - 6454, n=21)
5843 Points ∼92% +27%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=398)
1382 Points ∼22% -70%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
33810 Points ∼94%
HTC U11 Plus
20820 Points ∼58% -38%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
26226 Points ∼73% -22%
Apple iPhone X
25633 Points ∼71% -24%
OnePlus 6
34191 Points ∼95% +1%
Huawei P20 Pro
22441 Points ∼63% -34%
LG G7 ThinQ
27817 Points ∼78% -18%
Sony Xperia XZ2
35856 Points ∼100% +6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (15614 - 37475, n=21)
33400 Points ∼93% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=544)
12873 Points ∼36% -62%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
81726 Points ∼73%
HTC U11 Plus
58307 Points ∼52% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
46610 Points ∼41% -43%
Apple iPhone X
112489 Points ∼100% +38%
OnePlus 6
81269 Points ∼72% -1%
Huawei P20 Pro
33472 Points ∼30% -59%
LG G7 ThinQ
80534 Points ∼72% -1%
Sony Xperia XZ2
80233 Points ∼71% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (53794 - 84998, n=21)
80111 Points ∼71% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=544)
17947 Points ∼16% -78%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
62152 Points ∼97%
HTC U11 Plus
41644 Points ∼65% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
39745 Points ∼62% -36%
Apple iPhone X
64169 Points ∼100% +3%
OnePlus 6
62241 Points ∼97% 0%
Huawei P20 Pro
30176 Points ∼47% -51%
LG G7 ThinQ
56669 Points ∼88% -9%
Sony Xperia XZ2
62926 Points ∼98% +1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (34855 - 65330, n=21)
60990 Points ∼95% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=545)
15087 Points ∼24% -76%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
98 fps ∼55%
HTC U11 Plus
113 fps ∼64% +15%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
147 fps ∼83% +50%
Apple iPhone X
177.4 fps ∼100% +81%
OnePlus 6
150 fps ∼85% +53%
Huawei P20 Pro
121 fps ∼68% +23%
LG G7 ThinQ
144 fps ∼81% +47%
Sony Xperia XZ2
150 fps ∼85% +53%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (98 - 152, n=22)
144 fps ∼81% +47%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=570)
31.3 fps ∼18% -68%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
59 fps ∼94%
HTC U11 Plus
60 fps ∼96% +2%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
60 fps ∼96% +2%
Apple iPhone X
59.4 fps ∼95% +1%
OnePlus 6
60 fps ∼96% +2%
Huawei P20 Pro
60 fps ∼96% +2%
LG G7 ThinQ
60 fps ∼96% +2%
Sony Xperia XZ2
60 fps ∼96% +2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (58 - 89, n=21)
62.7 fps ∼100% +6%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=573)
25 fps ∼40% -58%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
72 fps ∼82%
HTC U11 Plus
60 fps ∼68% -17%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
74 fps ∼84% +3%
Apple iPhone X
88.2 fps ∼100% +23%
OnePlus 6
66 fps ∼75% -8%
Huawei P20 Pro
61 fps ∼69% -15%
LG G7 ThinQ
63 fps ∼71% -12%
Sony Xperia XZ2
82 fps ∼93% +14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (54 - 83, n=21)
73 fps ∼83% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=492)
16.8 fps ∼19% -77%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼59%
HTC U11 Plus
35 fps ∼59% 0%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
45 fps ∼76% +29%
Apple iPhone X
58.5 fps ∼99% +67%
OnePlus 6
58 fps ∼98% +66%
Huawei P20 Pro
54 fps ∼92% +54%
LG G7 ThinQ
41 fps ∼69% +17%
Sony Xperia XZ2
59 fps ∼100% +69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (35 - 75, n=21)
55 fps ∼93% +57%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=495)
16 fps ∼27% -54%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
39 fps ∼65%
HTC U11 Plus
41 fps ∼68% +5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
47 fps ∼78% +21%
Apple iPhone X
48.9 fps ∼82% +25%
OnePlus 6
56 fps ∼93% +44%
Huawei P20 Pro
39 fps ∼65% 0%
LG G7 ThinQ
51 fps ∼85% +31%
Sony Xperia XZ2
60 fps ∼100% +54%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (32 - 61, n=22)
54.4 fps ∼91% +39%
Average of class Smartphone (14 - 88, n=353)
14.4 fps ∼24% -63%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
31 fps ∼56%
HTC U11 Plus
21 fps ∼38% -32%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
24 fps ∼44% -23%
Apple iPhone X
44.1 fps ∼80% +42%
OnePlus 6
54 fps ∼98% +74%
Huawei P20 Pro
36 fps ∼65% +16%
LG G7 ThinQ
26 fps ∼47% -16%
Sony Xperia XZ2
55 fps ∼100% +77%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 59, n=21)
46.5 fps ∼85% +50%
Average of class Smartphone (13 - 110, n=356)
13.9 fps ∼25% -55%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
35 fps ∼100%
HTC U11 Plus
25 fps ∼71% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
28 fps ∼80% -20%
Apple iPhone X
31.8 fps ∼91% -9%
OnePlus 6
35 fps ∼100% 0%
Huawei P20 Pro
23 fps ∼66% -34%
LG G7 ThinQ
33 fps ∼94% -6%
Sony Xperia XZ2
35 fps ∼100% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (25 - 35, n=21)
34 fps ∼97% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (7.7 - 54, n=284)
9.88 fps ∼28% -72%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
HTC U12 Plus
20 fps ∼61%
HTC U11 Plus
13 fps ∼39% -35%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
14 fps ∼42% -30%
Apple iPhone X
27.7 fps ∼84% +39%
OnePlus 6
32 fps ∼97% +60%
Huawei P20 Pro
22 fps ∼67% +10%
LG G7 ThinQ
17 fps ∼52% -15%
Sony Xperia XZ2
33 fps ∼100% +65%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (17 - 37, n=21)
28.3 fps ∼86% +42%
Average of class Smartphone (6.8 - 58, n=287)
8.91 fps ∼27% -55%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p (sort by value)
HTC U11 Plus
38.71 fps ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
35.83 fps ∼93%
Huawei P20 Pro
25.93 fps ∼67%
Average of class Smartphone (1.06 - 38.7, n=72)
12.1 fps ∼31%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
HTC U11 Plus
868 Points ∼51%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
1481 Points ∼87%
Apple iPhone X
1702 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 6
1169 Points ∼69%
Huawei P20 Pro
887 Points ∼52%
LG G7 ThinQ
1176 Points ∼69%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (1169 - 1201, n=5)
1179 Points ∼69%
Average of class Smartphone (36.3 - 2754, n=76)
693 Points ∼41%

Legend

 
HTC U12 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
HTC U11 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Samsung Exynos 9810, ARM Mali-G72 MP18, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone X Apple A11 Bionic, Apple A11 Bionic GPU, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus 6 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei P20 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
LG G7 ThinQ Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Sony Xperia XZ2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash

Web browsing performance felt very fast, and the benchmarks seem to support this impression. However, the competition is fierce and accordingly the phone’s performance was merely good enough for a midfield ranking. In WebXPRT 3 it managed to land in the 2nd place bested only by the seemingly unbeatable iPhone X.

Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone X (IOS 11.1.2)
35255 Points ∼100% +116%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
17026 Points ∼48% +5%
Sony Xperia XZ2 (Chrome 65)
16774 Points ∼48% +3%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
16720 Points ∼47% +3%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
16285 Points ∼46%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (3991 - 18275, n=22)
15431 Points ∼44% -5%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
14760 Points ∼42% -9%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
11584 Points ∼33% -29%
HTC U11 Plus (Chrome 63)
11553 Points ∼33% -29%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=563)
5596 Points ∼16% -66%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=583)
11437 ms * ∼100% -375%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
3852.2 ms * ∼34% -60%
HTC U11 Plus (Chrome 63)
3131.6 ms * ∼27% -30%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2154 - 11204, n=22)
2874 ms * ∼25% -19%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
2484.1 ms * ∼22% -3%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
2445 ms * ∼21% -1%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
2409.6 ms * ∼21%
Sony Xperia XZ2 (Chrome 65)
2394.3 ms * ∼21% +1%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
2059.7 ms * ∼18% +15%
Apple iPhone X (IOS 11.1.2)
718 ms * ∼6% +70%
WebXPRT 3 - ---
Apple iPhone X (Safari Mobile 11.3)
130 Points ∼100% +29%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
101 Points ∼78%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
98 Points ∼75% -3%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
97 Points ∼75% -4%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (19 - 103, n=15)
84.5 Points ∼65% -16%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
69 Points ∼53% -32%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
64 Points ∼49% -37%
Average of class Smartphone (25 - 161, n=65)
62.9 Points ∼48% -38%
Sony Xperia XZ2
Points ∼0% -100%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Apple iPhone X (Safari Mobile 11.0)
354 Points ∼100% +38%
Sony Xperia XZ2 (Chrome 65)
262 Points ∼74% +2%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
257 Points ∼73%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
252 Points ∼71% -2%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
252 Points ∼71% -2%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (260 - 291, n=21)
233 Points ∼66% -9%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
182 Points ∼51% -29%
HTC U11 Plus (Chrome 63)
179 Points ∼51% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
164 Points ∼46% -36%
Average of class Smartphone (77 - 362, n=288)
112 Points ∼32% -56%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone X (IOS 11.1.1)
224 Points ∼100% +157%
Sony Xperia XZ2 (Chrome 65)
89.54 Points ∼40% +3%
LG G7 ThinQ (Chrome 66)
88.081 Points ∼39% +1%
OnePlus 6 (Chrome 66)
87.695 Points ∼39% +1%
HTC U12 Plus (Chrome 66)
87.036 Points ∼39%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (22.5 - 90.9, n=22)
76.9 Points ∼34% -12%
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Samsung Browser 7.0)
69.59 Points ∼31% -20%
HTC U11 Plus (Chrome 63)
64.948 Points ∼29% -25%
Huawei P20 Pro (Chrome 65)
58.255 Points ∼26% -33%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=427)
36.8 Points ∼16% -58%

* ... smaller is better

Nominally, the HTC U12+ comes with 64 GB of storage. Out of the box, around 50 GB is accessible to the user. The phone’s very fast UFS 2.1 storage performed very well in our benchmarks, particularly when writing small blocks.

MicroSD performance has been improved slightly over its predecessor, however it is nowhere near the theoretical maximum performance of our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference card (270 MB/s read, 150 MB/s write). MicroSD cards can be formatted as internal storage but will be much slower than the actual internal storage.

HTC U12 PlusHTC U11 PlusSamsung Galaxy S9 PlusOnePlus 6LG G7 ThinQSony Xperia XZ2Huawei P20 ProAverage 64 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
4%
-8%
-15%
-17%
-29%
23%
-13%
-55%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
63.64 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
51.26 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-19%
67.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
6%
62.67 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-2%
30.12 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-53%
50.2 (17.1 - 71.9, n=25)
-21%
45.8 (3.4 - 87.1, n=324)
-28%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
84.32 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
75.39 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-11%
79.22 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-6%
84.72 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
34.25 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-59%
66.4 (18 - 86.6, n=25)
-21%
64.1 (8.2 - 96.5, n=324)
-24%
Random Write 4KB
104.24
135.69
30%
22.74
-78%
21.8
-79%
23.26
-78%
17
-84%
160.49
54%
50.5 (8.77 - 156, n=34)
-52%
16.6 (0.14 - 250, n=613)
-84%
Random Read 4KB
118.14
132.39
12%
129.68
10%
137
16%
110.46
-7%
149.4
26%
144.33
22%
134 (78.2 - 173, n=34)
13%
38.7 (1.59 - 173, n=613)
-67%
Sequential Write 256KB
195.82
207.94
6%
204.94
5%
201.4
3%
176.45
-10%
198.7
1%
196.69
0%
193 (133 - 229, n=34)
-1%
80.4 (2.99 - 246, n=613)
-59%
Sequential Read 256KB
709.11
728.37
3%
818.69
15%
725.6
2%
695.15
-2%
679.2
-4%
831.82
17%
727 (529 - 895, n=34)
3%
232 (12.1 - 908, n=613)
-67%

Gaming

The HTC U12+ is pretty much made for gaming. It features a large display, two speakers, and a very powerful SoC with one of the fastest currently available GPUs, the Adreno 630. Consequently, even high details were no real challenge for the U12+. One exemption from this general rule was PUBG Mobile, which started out at a very strong 40 FPS (according to GameBench) but eventually settled at just 30 FPS. Not the best, but still very smooth.

Both the touchscreen and the sensors, worked flawlessly while gaming.

PUBG Mobile
PUBG Mobile
World of Tanks Blitz
World of Tanks Blitz
PUBG Mobile
 SettingsValue
 HD30 fps
World of Tanks Blitz
 SettingsValue
 high, 0xAA, 0xAF60 fps

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench battery test T-Rex (OpenGL ES 2.0)
T-Rex
GFXBench battery test Manhattan (OpenGL ES 3.1)
Manhattan

When idle, the HTC U12+ remained pleasantly cool. And while it did heat up considerably under load, the single hotspot of 38.8 °C (~102 °F) around the camera remained unproblematic.

Using GFXBench’s battery test we have determined the U12+’s performance under sustained load. In order to do so, we ran each benchmark 30x on battery and noted charge level and score after each iteration. The older T-Rex test ran very smoothly and without any significant performance decreases. Unfortunately, the newer Manhattan test (OpenGL ES 3.1) painted a very different picture. Performance decreased immediately after the first run and eventually settled at around 40% less.

Max. Load
 37.2 °C
99 F
38.1 °C
101 F
37 °C
99 F
 
 37.2 °C
99 F
37.2 °C
99 F
34.8 °C
95 F
 
 36.6 °C
98 F
36.9 °C
98 F
35.1 °C
95 F
 
Maximum: 38.1 °C = 101 F
Average: 36.7 °C = 98 F
36.2 °C
97 F
35.2 °C
95 F
34.5 °C
94 F
37.3 °C
99 F
38 °C
100 F
38.8 °C
102 F
35.9 °C
97 F
38.7 °C
102 F
38.4 °C
101 F
Maximum: 38.8 °C = 102 F
Average: 37 °C = 99 F
Power Supply (max.)  26.3 °C = 79 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36.7 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 38.1 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 38.8 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 29.5 °C / 85 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

Pink noise
Pink noise

As with the U11 Plus, HTC has once again equipped its flagship smartphone with the familiar speaker setup of two front-facing stereo speakers serving two different purposes: one is responsible for mids and highs, the other for lows (bass). Overall, the sound quality was pretty good for a smartphone. The device still lacked bass, but offered very decent mids in return. Thus, HTC’s U12+ is good enough to listen to music occasionally.

The included USonic headset did a much better job in this respect, and its high dynamics and powerful soundscape were fairly impressive. The headset maps out the ear using sonar waves in order to individually optimize sound performance, which made a noticeable difference. It also supports hi-res audio and connects via the phone’s USB-C port. It seems that the U12+’s USB-C port does not support USB-C to 3.5 mm audio jack dongles - we have tried two different adapters, one made by Samsung and one by Huawei, and both failed to work on the device. The only thing we got was an error message on the display saying the that the connected hardware is incompatible.

Wireless headphones or speakers can be connected via Bluetooth 5.0 with support for apX HD and LDAC.

Update 06/20/2018: We have news regarding our problems with above mentioned 3.5-mm headphone jack adapters. According to HTC, the two dongles used by us are not supported due to their lack of a D/A converter. The original HTC adapter that is available through various retail outlets for around $20 is officially supported, though.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.248.82532.942.73137.2434031.742.95039.642.26328.337.88027.337.810026.937.212526.741.51602446.420020.948.625020.953.831519.557.740018.563.550017.563.363017.562.280015.765100015.868125016.673.8160015.870.3200015.468.1250015.56831501672.1400015.873.550001671.7630016.370.1800016.364.91000016.262.71250016.453.91600016.445.5SPL28.682N1.151.8median 16.4median 63.5Delta2.17.239.638.233.633.131.232.130.832.130.734.3343530.939.428.736.426.247.92651.925.354.82557.223.359.622.362.521.164.820.167.719.568.120.166.219.669.318.8731874.817.877.317.67617.675.517.773.517.873.81871.417.765.417.853.517.848.531.285.31.661.7median 19.5median 66.23.29.235.24232.937.237.232.131.738.639.640.328.332.927.328.726.932.826.730.42433.320.939.420.947.219.554.718.559.117.565.817.569.915.773.315.876.716.674.415.873.515.476.715.577.11674.715.868.31666.616.369.616.374.316.27116.46216.452.528.685.61.162.7median 16.4median 68.32.111.5hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHTC U12 PlusApple iPhone XSony Xperia XZ2
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
HTC U12 Plus audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 15.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.7% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (6.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.8% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (17.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 5% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 92% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 29% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 64% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone X audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.3 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 14.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 6% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 33% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XZ2 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.8% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (6.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 28% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 61% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 56% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

Despite the more efficient SoC and the only slightly brighter display, the HTC U12+’s battery life was worse than that of it’s predecessor’s. The device’s power consumption was comparatively high, and by and large there is plenty of room for improvement; particularly at maximum brightness.

The included modular power supply supports Quick Charge 3.0 and is capable of charging the phone from near empty to full in around 100 minutes. The U11 Plus took more time to charge, but also had a larger battery in return. Wireless charging is not supported at all, however Quick Charge 4.0 is. Unfortunately, a Quick Charge 4.0 compatible power supply is nowhere to be found in the box.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.01 / 0.23 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.77 / 2.18 / 2.21 Watt
Load midlight 6.25 / 10.16 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
HTC U11 Plus
3930 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Apple iPhone X
2716 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2
3180 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
26%
39%
5%
8%
37%
11%
19%
Idle Minimum *
0.77
0.51
34%
0.68
12%
1.03
-34%
0.72
6%
0.84
-9%
0.802 (0.42 - 1.8, n=19)
-4%
0.879 (0.2 - 3.4, n=644)
-14%
Idle Average *
2.18
1.62
26%
0.95
56%
2.4
-10%
2.21
-1%
1.54
29%
1.722 (0.67 - 2.9, n=19)
21%
1.72 (0.6 - 6.2, n=643)
21%
Idle Maximum *
2.21
1.87
15%
1.09
51%
2.6
-18%
2.22
-0%
1.57
29%
2.1 (0.87 - 3.5, n=19)
5%
1.996 (0.74 - 6.6, n=644)
10%
Load Average *
6.25
3.92
37%
4.58
27%
2.96
53%
4.6
26%
2.47
60%
4.79 (3.64 - 7.2, n=19)
23%
4.03 (0.8 - 10.8, n=638)
36%
Load Maximum *
10.16
8.27
19%
5.16
49%
6.6
35%
9.34
8%
2.49
75%
9.2 (6.2 - 12.3, n=19)
9%
5.75 (1.2 - 14.2, n=638)
43%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Compared to its predecessor, the battery capacity has been decreased slightly from 3,930 to 3,500 mAh. Given that the U12+’s case is slightly thicker than its predecessor’s, we have had a really difficult time figuring this one out. According to HTC, the smaller battery is supposed to be offset by the new SoC’s higher efficiency.

Real life experience paints a very different picture, though. Overall, the battery life is shorter than on the U11 Plus, most notably in the H.264 video playback test. HTC needs to fix this asap - competitors like the LG G7 ThinQ and the OnePlus 6 offer a significantly longer battery life despite their smaller batteries.

In our Wi-Fi test the U12+ managed to end up in last place, even behind the Galaxy S9 Plus. Thus, users will have a hard time getting through a full day on a single charge despite the phone’s extensive battery saver mode.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
24h 12min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Chrome 66)
8h 27min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 44min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 50min
HTC U12 Plus
3500 mAh
HTC U11 Plus
3930 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
3500 mAh
Apple iPhone X
2716 mAh
LG G7 ThinQ
3000 mAh
Huawei P20 Pro
4000 mAh
OnePlus 6
3300 mAh
Sony Xperia XZ2
3180 mAh
Battery Runtime
23%
11%
4%
35%
46%
38%
14%
Reader / Idle
1452
1625
12%
1343
-8%
1292
-11%
1662
14%
1727
19%
1806
24%
1402
-3%
H.264
464
611
32%
674
45%
634
37%
908
96%
784
69%
791
70%
722
56%
WiFi v1.3
507
607
20%
521
3%
564
11%
591
17%
744
47%
762
50%
679
34%
Load
230
291
27%
237
3%
180
-22%
260
13%
345
50%
246
7%
159
-31%

Pros

+ good looking case surface
+ fast SoC
+ upgradeable memory
+ dual SIM
+ fast communication modules
+ good GPS
+ great audio
+ strong main camera performance
+ excellent included headset
+ dust- and water-proof
+ high color accuracy

Cons

- main camera's secondary lens no better than average
- display too dark
- battery smaller than on the predecessor
- comparatively bulky case
- poor to mediocre battery life

Verdict

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

HTC has upped the ante on the U12+ and once again presented itself as an innovative force in the smartphone realm. According to the manufacturer, the improved Edge Sense capabilities are going to allow for completely new devices. The smartphone’s design features incredible details such as transparency or morphing colors. The cameras have been improved and now feature a depth-of-field preview as well as various video goodies. Connectivity is top notch, and the device’s hardware configuration is worthy of a true flagship phone. The improved face detection feature is now supposed to work reliably under low-light conditions and has been hardened significantly to make it much more complicated and complex to outsmart. And last but not least the phone comes with HTC’s own high-quality headset with active noise cancellation.

The HTC U12+ does not improve upon its predecessor’s biggest weakness and continues to disappoint with a comparatively dark display. If, however, you are looking for a phone without a notch the U12+ might be worth a closer look.

On paper, this all sounds wonderful and results in a very high total score in our ranking. However, the dual-camera is nowhere near as awesome as promised by HTC, particularly the at best mediocre secondary lens. Core components such as the display have not been improved, and compared to its competitors remained disappointingly dark. True, it will not be noticeable in most everyday situations, but outdoor usability is severely limited due to the low maximum brightness. In addition, the case seems kind of chubby despite a smaller battery and a lack of support for wireless charging to boot. At least the phone supports Quick Charge 4.0, but it lacks the proper power supply to fully benefit therefrom. And to add insult to injury the battery life is even shorter than on its predecessor, and in most scenarios even worse than on the Galaxy S9 Plus.

What remains are HTC’s tried and tested virtues, such as the great speakers, support for the most current communication standards, a fast SoC, and a dust- and waterproof case. Nevertheless, we do not see any convincing reasons for HTC U11 or U11 Plus owners to jump ship.

HTC U12 Plus - 06/11/2018 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
87%
Keyboard
69 / 75 → 91%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
62 / 60 → 100%
Weight
89%
Battery
90%
Display
86%
Games Performance
66 / 63 → 100%
Application Performance
77 / 70 → 100%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
80 / 91 → 88%
Camera
85%
Average
83%
89%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HTC U12 Plus Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2018-06- 1 (Update: 2018-06-20)