Tech

HTC doubles down on the squeeze – announcing 2018 Flagship U12+

Last year I visited the HTC factory in Taiwan where they had begun producing the then new U11 flagship phone. Today they’ve announced the follow-up device to be known as the U12+.

Not to be confused for the larger version of the U12, there is no U12, the plus is there so anyone will know for sure this is a plus sized phone.  It’s not not too big in the hand at all, in fact it’s about 4mm taller than an iPhone X – so very respectable in terms of size.

Packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor this thing ain’t lacking any power – but there are a few unique improvements on last year’s device.

The Squeeze

“Edge Sense” as it’s known is back.  You squeeze the phone and an app menu appears, or you can launch Google Assistant or your camera.  That’s great, but its the enhancement that is interesting.  You can now do a couple of neat new tricks.

Firstly, the double tap.  For example – on the home screen, double tap the side to reduce the screen size down for single handed use.  In your browser you might double tap the side to go back a page, rather than reaching for the arrow way down the bottom.  Some interesting possibilities there.

Now imagine you’re in bed. Phone in one hand, reading EFTM articles, lots of them. You roll onto your side – but damn, the whole screen rotates so the text is now rotated 90 degrees to your eye-line.  Without having to change the screen rotation settings, you can now just hold your phone as normal, and because it knows you’re holding it, it won’t rotate.  Seriously.  Simple.  Coo..

Camera

It’s not the best smartphone camera on the market, that’s the Huawei P20.  It is the best dual-lens camera though.  Optical & Electric image sabilisation – tick.

2x optical zoom at the tap of a button – tick.

HDR Boost -meaning your photos aren’t just great in bright light, they are great all the time – even on selfies.

Overall, an impressive camera on specs – we’ll see how it shapes up in the real-world.

Sound

HTC have always loved audio – since way way back with their front-facing cameras, now they’re enhacing it more and working further on the USonic stuff and 3D sound.  Again, good on specs, keen to have a listen.

Design

Oh wow, forget the red – it won’t come to Australia.  The “black” looks more bronze than anything else – forget it too.  Blue is where it’s at.

It’s translucent.  Yep, you can see competency on the device.  Very, very cool!

Buttons

Controversial – the volume and power buttons are not real, they aren’t there.  They are virtual – it’s like Apple’s home button these days.  I did feel like the Volume buttons took more pressure to move than before, perhaps that needs adjusting to, but we’ll follow up in future days.

Overall.

Looks great!

No pricing, this this should be an $899 or at worst $999 phone, but HTC will price it at $1099 or $1199.  Regardless, poor move.  There’s not going to be a big customer shift until the price proposition improves.

Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.

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