HTC after attacking the market of top of the range with a couple of questionable products, returns to the charge with a mid-range device, which has a good combination quality / price
There is a bit ‘of melancholy in the review HTC U12 Life , because while I press this smartphone I think of the glorious past of HTC and what was left of that period.
In reality, perhaps it is precisely what has remained one of the biggest limitations of this device that has its weakest point in the interface.
WHAT I LIKE
WHAT I DO NOT LIKE
User interface now obsolete
Very slow camera with HDR
A reason to buy it
The design is very original, even if it is very similar to that of a Pixel. It is without a doubt much more cared for and captivating than many of the smartphones around with the same price.
A flaw that I do not like
The graphic of the interface called Sense , is no longer in step with the times, it is messy and has completely lost the elegance of the past. What is the point of renouncing the Google feed in favor of Blinkfeed today? For those who do not know, is the information page that opens when you make a movement to the right on the screen.
How does HTC U12 Life work?
discreetly good, without particular highs of value, but also without particular evident defects. Perhaps, for those who pay the price to try dozens of high-end products one after the other, pay the price of close comparison with other devices more performing (and expensive), but in reality this terminal offers a quality in line with the its cost and maybe something more.
Let’s start from the display : it does not have a notch and this for many could be a merit. It has a 6-inch diagonal with an aspect ratio of 18: 9 and a definition of 1080 x 2160. It is not an AMOLED, but even with the IPS LCD standard it is readable under direct sunlight.
The screen has only one oddity: when you touch the slider that controls the brightness you disable the automatic control, but it is probably a bug and will be corrected with software updates.
There are 402 pixels per inch, good readability and a total surface of more than 92 cm2. What may leave some disappointed is the relationship between total surface and screen, which is 77%.
The rear camera is double, has a combination consisting of a 16 mpx sensor with F / 2.0 aperture and a second of 5 mpx, which acts as a depth sensor.
It turns video at 4k with 30 frames per second, but there is no optical stabilization. How do you evaluate it?!? I have to tell you more or less what I often tell you for mid-range products: all is well with good light, when you face a more difficult condition and you are asked to challenge the darkness the result is a little less exciting. Although perhaps the detail that I think is less exciting is the speed with which it shoots when using the HDR.
I do not know if a software update can get around this, but it certainly affects how much slower it is in that particular condition.
The selfie cam is 13 mpx, offers the bokeh effect via software, shoots 1080 pixels and offers shots with HDR. Evaluation of photos: as above.
But there is a detail to highlight: there is a front LED flash when you have to capture the meeting with your favorite star and you are in the dark.
I have read some reviews full of enthusiasm for the value for money of this phone, which some American sites have called “medium flagship”.
I find only partially agree because the Snapdragon 636 processor with 4 GB of RAM seems to me a solution in line with many other products in the market and indeed is less attractive than that of Honor Play with a high-end processor for a price almost equal .
There is also a 128 GB version with 6 GB of RAM, but it will not be easy to find it.
That said, the new HTC U12 Life is a good little soldier and his combination of Snapdragon 636 and the aforementioned 4 GB deals with all the hardships without fear, because in support there is a battery of 3,600 mAh which not even the fear ‘ more intense use.
The manufacturer makes important promises, because it even estimates in 720 hours the ability to reproduce video at 720 pixels, but perhaps it is a bit ‘optimistic.
However, the most advanced tests have indicated that it can reach almost 7 hours of screen lit, which is a result that is excellent.
In case you are unlikely to download it, there is always the fast charge, which should charge the phone in just 40 minutes using the 10-watt charger that is included in the package.
To complete the equipment of HTC U12 Life is the stereo sound of the speakers, the sensor for fingerprints (a bit ‘slow), with the addition of a USB Type-C connector, which is finally becoming a standard also in the mid-range.
It should also be noted that the 3.5 mm headphone jack is located on the top of the device.
But what catches the most attention in this smartphone is probably the processing of the back of the phone, which HTC calls 3D stripes .
Nice to see, offer a great grip, but we must say that despite being glass, this phone on the back just for this particular work seems made of plastic and it’s a shame that you can not perceive one of its merits.
Overall however the build quality is excellent (for the band to which this phone belongs), I find that HTC U12 Life is an interesting alternative to the many products in circulation with a price that ranges around 300 euros.
What I really do not like is the interface, the HTC Sense that once was a merit and today instead risks being a ballast compared to the graphics of some competitors. The mix of stock items and custom parts is graphically rather ugly. But you can correct in a moment by choosing one of the many solutions available in the Google Play Store.
When you swipe to the right it appears blinkfeed which is probably the element that graphically looks more dated.
The operating system is Android 8.1, a curious choice, because now Android 9 has been announced for some time. HTC has among other things decided to abandon the use of Android One, to opt instead for the “regular” version of the software. It will be necessary to understand if this is not likely to become an up for future updates.
HTC U12 Life Review: conclusions
There is nothing that I do not particularly like in this smartphone, but there is nothing that fascinates me particularly. In this price range, at the request of a council, I would continue to suggest the purchase of Honor Play. I do not find in this HTC a detail that makes me think differently.
We are dealing with a well-made product, but in particular in our country, where there is no physical distribution and the brand has a rather limited perception, I do not believe it will have any trace in the medium term.