HTC U12 rumor review: specs, pricing and release of the 'frameless' phone


Recently, HTC distributed the event teaser you see above on the hush-hush, indicating that it has something major that's cooking in what's left of the company after its Pixel-making team of engineers got snatched by Google. Despite the brain drain, the company isn't giving up, and indicated it will issue a flagship this year as well, but will scale back on its overall 2018 portofolio for obvious reasons. Well, that flagship may be the U12 (perhaps joined by the U12+), while the date of HTC's teaser marks May 23 as the day we could see it for the first time. So, what's to expect from an eventual U12?


TL;DR

  • Steel and glass design similar to the U11+, but with 80%+ screen-to-body ratio
  • Fast Snapdragon 845 chipset, and 1.2Gbps LTE download speeds
  • Dual camera setups
  • June release with $750+ price tag

Design

Close your eyes, think U11+, then shave off the bezels even further

The rumored tall and narrow display with the modern 1:2 aspect ratio would mean elongated body that is less wide, easier to use with one hand. Look no further than the HTC U11+ as an indication what the U12 may end up looking like, just with shaved-off top and bottom bezels, if HTC wants to keep it trendy. 

Actually, the U12 already got listed on Verizon's Open Development website as having "frameless" design, indicating thinner bezels all around. The eventual U12+ is said to come with Black, Red Rose, Violet and "Translucent" variants, while its alleged engineering prototypes below hint at a mirror coating.


The Edge Sense innovation of HTC, which allows you to command the handset by gently squeezing its sides, will likely wiggle its way into the U12, too, and may add an even longer list of functions to its roster. That Edge Sense will be a chief part of the May 23rd announcement can be seen from HTC's new teaser tweet below that has ripples gently squeezing against a mysterious device's sides.

 
As for the body materials, the same Verizon website says it comes with Gorilla Glass, , while the frames will be made of metal, so the U12 may carry over the soapy, premium body materials of the U11 that will let fast wireless charging pass through without a hitch. HTC's upcoming flagship is expected to feature IP68 certification, too, so expect pricey repairs with all that glass and adhesive, like on most current flagships.


Display, processing power, memory

Fast, but not frugal

We'd wager to guess that all rumors for a 6" QHD+ panel with the now de facto standard 18:9 aspect ratio, will turn out to be true. Getting to the bottom of it is not something that requires much guessing, as, again Verizon, confirmed that it will be a Super LCD 6-gen display with WQHD resolution. We are getting a bit tired of those 6-inchers, frankly, even though they are usually narrower now, than when phones had 16:9 displays, they still result in large handsets, no matter how much bezel you trim. 

The first leak about the U12, way back in March, actually tipped the chipset it will be coming with, as it was showcased as being capable of delivering download speeds of 809.58 Mbps - pretty close to the 1.2 Gbps that Qualcomm's X20 LTE modem in the Snapdragon 845 processor is capable of. Granted, Samsung had short exclusivity on the 845 for the Galaxy S9, but now it's fair game, as both the LG G7 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2s, are equipped with one.

Given that the U11 ships with 4GB/64GB config, while the U11+ has a 6GB/128GB combo, if HTC want to up the ante with the U12, it has to start it with more RAM and storage than its predecessor. Does that mean there might be a top U12+ model with 8GB/256GB, like many Chinese companies like Xiaomi or OnePlus are now doing? We doubt it will go that far, but 6GB RAM/64GB storage might be the basic memory combination for the U11.


Camera

Jumping on the dual camera bandwagon

HTC will reportedly enter the modern multi-lens game for its flagships for the first time since the days of the M8. The U12 is said to come with a dual-camera setup on the back (12MP+16MP), and a secondary 8-megapixel selfie camera. 

Now, whether one of these sensors will be monochrome, like on Huawei's flagships, telephoto for optical zoom, or wide-angle camera, remains to be seen, but, given the excellent results that the U11 produces with a single camera, we'd bet that HTC will nail it again with photo and video quality out of the U12. 

The murky and very eventual U12+ leaked as having two dual camera sets, at the front and the back, but that's all there is about it that is different for now, and the whole leak mill about it looks rather shady, so prep your salt shakers.


Battery 


The rumored 3,420 mAh battery pack may not sound like much, but HTC's Sense interface was one of the first to manage background processes well, and the company's phones manage to show good battery life for the capacity of the packs inside. 

That WQHD display resolution, however, means you will get at least 30% less endurance than a comparable phone with FHD+ screen, no matter how frugal the second-gen 10nm process of the Snapdragon 845 is. The graphics subsystem and backlighting just have to maintain more than a million extra pixels in this case, even of you artificially lower the resolution in the settings, so we wouldn't expect two-day battery out of the U12.


Price and release date

June bug with a dollar attitude

HTC has scheduled an event for May 23rd, and there is a high probability that the U12, and possibly its souped-up sibling the U12+, will make a cameo there, but the actual release date is tipped to be June 1, with the following pricing for the U12+, leaking straight out of Taiwan.

 

The company has never been known to undercut the competition's pricing with its flagships, so we might be looking at a $700-$800 price range for the U12's wonders, too, but this year is different, given Google's acquisition, so we sincerely hope that what is shaping up to be an excellent flagship, isn't marred by prohibitive pricing schemes.

Related phones

U12 Life
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 13 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Octa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3600 mAh
U12+
  • Display 6.0" 1440 x 2880 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(23.8h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

6 Comments

1. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 703; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Just one more android flagship.... since there are so many android flagships out there it is hard to get excited about a release. Only Google‘s Pixel devices get me somewhat excited. I guess the only way to stand out from the 80% Android crowd is to own an Apple device.

3. RajRicardo

Posts: 500; Member since: Feb 28, 2014

Or get a Windows Phone. That way you can stand out from 99% of the crowd.

4. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Lmao...

2. CEDEOTB

Posts: 445; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Why not the 3930 mah battery?

5. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I hope not everybody goes to 18:9 display design. I want the original 16:9 as most video was designed for that ratio. Also I did not see anything about speakers. I must have dual front facing speakers.

6. Sparkxster

Posts: 1240; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Wait for the Sony Xperia XZ2 premium.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.