HTC U12+ review

GSMArena team, 21 June 2018.

SuperLCD 6 with HDR support

The U12+ has a 6-inch LCD display with QHD+ resolution - they actually call it Super LCD 6. This is a "glass sandwich" smartphone protected by Gorilla Glass 3 on both the front and rear. You should know that the version of Gorilla Glass doesn't necessarily mean that it is inferior. We find Gorilla Glass 3 to have our preferred balance between shatter- and scratch-resistance.

Unlike a bunch of other smartphone makers, the HTC U12+'s tall display doesn't have rounded corners around the display - they are the standard 90-degree corners. This all comes down to preference, but some believe that rounded corners rob you of pixels, while others find them more modern.

HTC U12 Plus Review review

The Super LCD 6 display is HDR 10 compatible and offers a bit of color tuning. For starters, the default color profile is DCI-P3, which produces a wide color gamut. Otherwise, you can go with the less color-intensive sRGB profile. In either case, the default DCI-P3 will produce the brightest image - more on this shortly.

In terms of color accuracy, we saw an average deltaE of 5.7 with a max deltaE of 7.8. Switching to the sRGB profile produces a more accurate average of 4.7 but the max deltaE actually got slightly higher at some of the darker blue tones. The U12+ only offers a single slider for each color profile to fine tune the color temperature. We found the best results when tuning the slider 1/10th of the way towards "cool" in the sRGB setting - average detlaE was 4.4 and the max deltaE was 7.7.

We thought the display's color reproduction was quite good. The default DCI-P3 color profile (HDR 10) made whites look a bit bluer than they should be. The sRGB setting warms the whites closer to accuracy, but they are still not quite there. There are certainly more accurate displays out there, but these numbers are within acceptable deviations.

In our brightness testing, we found the HTC U12+'s max brightness to be lower than the U11's (16:9) Super LCD 5 display. The max brightness reached 366.1 nits, though, the contrast (1,830) was higher than the U11's. In direct sunlight, this display offers an ever so slight brightness boost (just over 20 nits), which likely would go unnoticed.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (Max Auto) 0 631
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Max Auto) 0.471 621 1318
Sony Xperia XZ2 0.431 618 1434
HTC U11 (Max Auto) 0.373 583 1563
Huawei P20 Pro (Max Auto) 0 582
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone) 0.392 530 1352
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Standard) 0.392 530 1352
HTC U11 0.308 483 1568
OnePlus 6 0 456
Huawei P20 Pro 0 412
HTC U12+ (Max Auto) 0.214 389 1818
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 0 376
HTC U12+ 0.2 366 1830
HTC U11+ (EU) 0.176 287 1631

The minimum display brightness was pretty good. The display was able to dim down to 2.4 nits for great night-time visibility or having Smart Display active on your nightstand without being too distracting to sleep near.

Sunlight legibility, however, was rather poor. We often struggled to see the U12+'s display in direct sunlight. Overall, quite a disappointing showing, definitely one falling short of the expectations set forth by HTC's lofty "Super LCD6" moniker.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    4.251
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    4.052
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    3.865
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco
    3.745
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Huawei P20
    3.683
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    3.675
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Nokia 7 plus
    3.479
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Motorola Moto G6
    3.448
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    3.419
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018)
    3.397
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 AI Dual Camera
    3.393
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo F7
    3.333
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • HTC U12+
    3.085
  • Xiaomi Redmi S2 (Y2)
    3.077
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    2.952
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Oppo Realme 1
    2.932
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Honor 10 (Vivid)
    2.757
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • BlackBerry Motion
    2.494
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Vivo V7
    2.404
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Sony Xperia L2
    2.266
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • HTC U11+ (EU)
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Although the U12+'s display is an improvement over the U11+, we find the Super LCD 6 display to be overall dimmer than the Super LCD 5 from the regular U11. It seems that HTC went with an inferior display when it switched to taller 18:9 panels.

Otherwise, it's still a great display for viewing and editing photos. Movies and TV shows are great to watch whether you use the BoomSound speakers and even better when using the included USonic earbuds. Avoiding the sun may be a good idea.

HTC U12+ battery life


The U12+ has a slightly larger 3,500 mAh battery than the U11's 3,000 mAh pack, but smaller than the 3,930 mAh one that the U11+ launched with. It's worth noting: although the U12+ is Quick Charge 4.0 compatible, it includes a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter in the box.

HTC Sense offers a couple of battery saving modes and a power management tool for setting a battery optimization level on a per-app basis. There's a regular power save mode that restricts sync, lowers brightness, and disables vibrations and animations throughout the UI. Extreme power save mode goes even further and limits the number of apps available to the user.

Power monitor and optimization - HTC U12 Plus Review review Power monitor and optimization - HTC U12 Plus Review review Power monitor and optimization - HTC U12 Plus Review review Power monitor and optimization - HTC U12 Plus Review review Power monitor and optimization - HTC U12 Plus Review review
Power monitor and optimization

Our battery endurance results did not fare as well as we expected but still didn't do terrible. We wanted to see battery life that rivaled the phone's predecessor but we got an overall score 10h lower than the U11. Let's take a look at what happened.

HTC U12 Plus Review review

The U12+ fared a decent talk score: 21:51h, a couple more hours than the U11. Web browsing was not as good, scoring 7:48h while the U11 did almost ten-and-a-half hours. Video playback took a bit hit as well, yielding an endurance of 8:32h. The U11+ didn't do as well either but did a little better.

Had HTC gone with as big a battery as the U11+ without trying to trim the body's dimensions, it would have a more acceptable battery endurance score for a $799 handset. HTC really had to reduce the maximum brightness of its display to keep battery life in check.

30 minutes from a dead battery on the charger got us up to 41% battery. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to fully charge the U12+ using the included Quick Charge 3.0 adapter.

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the HTC U12+ for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

BoomSound speakers

HTC has a pretty legendary reputation to uphold when it comes to speakers. The U12+ definitely does not disappoint in this area. It has, at its disposal, one of the better hybrid stereo setups, we've seen lately. The amplified earpiece and bottom-firing units sound nearly identical in terms of loudness and clarity and are very well balanced.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
OnePlus 6 70.2 74.7 70.0 Good
Apple iPhone X 68.9 74.0 76.2 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S 68.1 70.1 81.5 Very Good
HTC U11 (Theater) 69.2 72.7 78.4 Very Good
HTC U11 (Music) 68.7 73.0 79.1 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9+ 68.4 74.0 80.1 Very Good
LG V30 66.9 72.3 84.5 Very Good
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 70.1 73.8 84.2 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 76.0 74.6 79.0 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus 71.1 72.7 87.7 Excellent
Huawei P20 Pro 71.8 69.2 91.0 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Music) 76.0 73.6 88.5 Excellent
Motorola Moto G6 Plus 82.2 76.1 86.8 Excellent
Huawei Mate 10 90.6 73.7 84.0 Excellent
HTC U12+ (Theatre) 77.0 73.8 91.1 Excellent
Meizu Pro 7 Plus 87.3 72.8 90.8 Excellent
HTC U11+ 91.5 75.4 90.5 Excellent

And speaking of volume, the U12+ has plenty of it. It gets Excellent marks in both its default Theatre and Music equalizer modes. As you can probably imagine, the former works better for voices, making for a better movie or series watching experience, by enhancing dialogue. The latter opens the soundstage quite a bit for better instrumental acoustics.

Audio Quality

Like the U11, the U12+ doesn't have a headphone jack. Rather, the included USonic earbuds offer noise-canceling out of the box. The earbuds themselves don't actually have any noise-canceling microphones.

The U12+'s four microphones perform the noise-cancelation in-device without the need for expensive external earbuds. You can always use your own pair of earbuds with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but you won't find an adapter included in the box. Also, bear in mind that the HTC U12+ won't do noise cancellation a non-HTC pair of earbuds.

HTC U12 Plus Review review

HTC's USonic earbuds offer a personalization feature. A frequency signal is sent into your ear canal and just a few seconds later, your personal audio profile has been created. The calibration process even lets you hear a sample track with and without the custom tuning applied.

When hooked to an active external amplifier the HTC U12+ produced perfectly accurate output and loud output to rank as one of the better handsets in this test.

Plugging in a pair of headphones did an average amount of damage to the output - while the volume was unaffected the stereo crosstalk increased more than on some competing flagships. Itís a very solid performance still, though.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC U12++0.02, -0.15-94.394.30.00210.0069-94.3
HTC U12+ (headphones)+0.18, -0.13-93.793.60.00240.104-52.7
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
Nokia 8 Sirocco+0.44, -0.12-90.190.20.00560.016-88.7
Nokia 8 Sirocco (headphones)+0.51, -0.12-89.889.90.00970.043-39.9
Samsung Galaxy S9++0.01, -0.03-92.692.50.00120.0076-93.4
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.292.20.00170.042-76.3
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1

HTC U12+ frequency response
HTC U12+ frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Raj

Can you please advice me how to switch off vibration on volumes and Power Keys

"Taking a screenshot has now become impossible by the default keys" The default keys for HTC are holding down the power button and pressing home, which works perfectly on the U12+

  • Anonymous

What adapter do you use in audio test?