HTC U12 life is a cheaper alternative to this year's flagship of the Taiwanese brand – a model interesting in terms of design, and also suitably efficient. I checked if it was worth buying.
After testing the HTC U11 life, I was looking forward to this year's HTC medium. Presenting the HTC U12 life, the manufacturer put on even more unusual design, modern screen proportions, appropriately efficient components, as well as a dual camera. Does this combination work in practice? You're looking for answers in my HTC U12 life review .
An unusual design is the strong side of the HTC U12 life
The rear panel HTC U12 life makes a perfect first impression. Mainly for the combination of two types of acrylic glass: smooth and rough . This makes the smartphone not only look very cool and extraordinary, but it also lies in the palm of your hand. We have already seen a similar solution at the end of 2016, during the presentation of the HTC Desire 650. However, in this model only polycarbonates were used, and here we have a material with a much more interesting appearance. This makes HTC U12 life stand out from the crowd – the more that it is offered in two nice color variants: Moonlight Blue and Twilight Purple. The latter came to me, which (I hope) is very well seen in the pictures. The back of the phone has been slightly bent (ground) – thanks to which all the frames are slimmer than the body. I have the impression that HTC has applied mineral layers on the back wall, thanks to which the housing shimmers in the sunlight, which looks really cool. The smartphone is also very pleasant to touch. It's one of those phones that will easily fit the tastes of both men and women . The volume control bar and switch with a distinctive and noticeable texture are on the right side of the phone. The lower edge was occupied by a multimedia speaker, one microphone and a USB C-type port. On the upper frame there is a second microphone and a 3.5mm mini-jack connector (last year it was missing). A drawer for two nanoSIM cards in 4G LTE standard or for one nanoSIM card and a microSD card is placed on the left side. On the back wall there is an island with a double main camera (protruding above the face of the casing). Between the cameras there is a double (two-color) LED lighting diode. The backpacks are also a round fingerprint reader and the HTC logo. Interestingly, for several days of testing the phone I did not notice that the housing caught even a single scratch. Even on the protruding camera! This is definitely optimistic. It is worth noting that acrylic glass tends to greasy , which should not surprise anyone. Fortunately, thanks to the stripes at the back of the casing, these traces do not look very prominent. The front panel is more classic in its cut. The display is surrounded by slender frames than its predecessor. How does it look in practice? Evaluate yourself. At the top you will find a Selfie camera cooperating with a LED lighting diode and a very nice recessed speaker for conversations, which also acts as a supportive multimedia speaker, as you will read later in this material. You see, that Taiwanese consistently improve the design of the life series. Interesting design, an additional camera and the return of the 3.5mm mini-jack connector definitely need to be saved on the plus side. However, there is no rose without thorns. The new smartphone lost two essential features – the third microphone (which greatly picked up voice when recording video material) and a watertight construction. In the last case, the 3.5mm mini-jack connector seems to be a fault – at least the manufacturer explains the decision. It is worth adding, however, that despite the lack of appropriate certificates, the phone will still be able to bear a lot – rain or accidental splashing will not hurt him.
Up to 2 days on battery
A 3600 mAh battery is responsible for energy efficiency. The new HTC therefore gained 1000 mAh in relation to U11 life. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that the display has also been increased. And this is evident during everyday use as well as in synthetic tests. I was charging the smartphone on average every 1.5 days and with the LTE module active all the time, as well as the automatic adjustment of the backlight. Nevertheless, you do not have to save money especially during this period – the standard for me was full synchronization of social applications, playing, watching movies, browsing the internet and listening to music. Of course, without an active energy saving mode. If you limit the use of the phone gently, you can extend the working time on one charge up to two days. [wptab style = "4" title = "Normal use"] [slug test = "battery" order = "desc" selected = "22728" virtual = "pcmark-work-2" type = "single" product_id = "22728, 22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab style =" 4 "title =" Games "] [test slug =" battery "order =" desc " selected = "22728" virtual = "battery-manhattan-3" type = "single" product_id = "22728,22486,22696,22644,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564"] [/ wptab ] [wptab style = "4" title = "Loading time"] [test slug = "battery" virtual = "loading-ac" order = "asc" selected = "22728" type = "single" product_id = "22728,22486 , 22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab_end] It takes about two hours (114 minutes) to charge the battery on your smartphone. There was no support for 5V / 2A. Leaving HTC U12 life under the charger for a quarter of an hour translates into the recovery of 19% of lost energy, and an additional fifteen minutes will give us 38% – enough to use the phone most of the day with moderate use. If you want to extend your working time, it is worth using the available energy management scenarios. By default, in the most restrictive mode, the functionality of the smartphone has been limited to the basic functions.
Display in 18: 9 format
HTC set the display to a six-inch display in the 18: 9 format . The panel works in FHD + resolution (2160 × 1080 pixels) and is made in IPS technology. It is worth mentioning that it has rounded corners and occupies only 77.7% of the front panel area. I've always appreciated the screens from HTC and found them to be one of the best. In the case of the HTC U12 life, the manufacturer replaced the Super LCD panel with the IPS matrix. The change can be seen primarily in the context of mapping the color palette, which falls slightly worse than in the predecessor. The test for the sRGB palette returned the result at 89.8% (in HTC U11 life – 96.5%), and for the DCI-P3 – 74.2%. This is not a huge difference, but it is worth mentioning. [wptab style = "4" title = "Maximum brightness"] [test slug = "screen-battery" virtual = "TEST_JASE_PASS" order = "desc" selected = "22728" type = "single" product_id = "22728,22486, 22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab style =" 4 "title =" AdobeRGB "] [test slug =" test-colors "order =" desc "selected =" 22728 "virtual =" kolor-adobergb "type =" single "product_id =" 22728,22486,22696,22644,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab ] [wptab style = "4" title = "sRGB"] [test slug = "test-colors" order = "desc" selected = "22728" virtual = "kolor-srgb" type = "single" product_id = "22728, 22486,22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab_end] There are no problems with the backlight range – the smartphone can be used in all conditions and the ambient light sensor works properly. If we add a nightlight to it, I guarantee that the screen will not hurt you and your eyes will rest a bit. Throughout the testing period I had an active reduction of blue light. Finally, I would like to add that the night-light can be activated and deactivated automatically – after sunset and sunrise. However, the Edge Sense , the set of gestures made by squeezing the side frames, was the most lacking in the HTC U12 life. This feature was available in the predecessor and is in the flagship HTC U12 +.
Two lenses with a bokeh effect
The main camera – characteristics, quality of photos and videos
Take unique photos with the HTC U12 life. Sensational, dual camera makes capturing artistic photos with a bokeh effect is extremely simple. -fragment from HTC
The quoted words suggest that a high-quality main camera was used on the smartphone. Before we go to discuss my observations in this matter, a few words about the characteristics of the lenses.The main camera is characterized by a 16MP sensor with F / 2.0 light, which is assisted by phase detection autofocus . Added to this is the additional 5MP sensor, whose task is to blur the background and thus offer photos with a shallow depth effect. The producer also added video recording in 4K resolution with Video Pic (taking pictures during 4K video recording) as well as HDR and face detection. In poor lighting conditions, the smartphone is supported by a two-color (double) LED. It's a good set and it works perfectly when the lens gets enough light. Then the right amount of details is recorded, the color reproduction is good, and even the tonal range can not have any major reservations. In this field, the HTC U12 life performs similarly to the competitors' phones from the same price range. -> View sample photos in full resolution A good photographic smartphone, however, is assessed not in terms of photographs taken in favorable lighting conditions, but most of all after dark, when the light reaches the lens much less . In this situation HTC U12 life is doing a bit worse. In the pictures with less light , the noise is visible and the detail is reduced . However, you can slightly improve the quality of photography by choosing the night mode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhxNupgoezU The smartphone can register video content in maximum 4K resolution , although there are also several other modes, including standard FHD at 60 frames per second, as well as at 30fps. The quality of the video does not deviate from the photographic possibilities of this smartphone and it is quite sensible. The autofocus seems to be problematic. As you can see on the example film, the phone is not always able to sharpen properly. This feler will probably solve the upcoming software upgrade.
Front camera and photo application
Selfie was dedicated 13MP camera with F / 2.0 light and BSI sensor. This translates into good quality photos and video materials that can be recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second. It is worth knowing that the camera has support from a single LED. Added to this are a number of beauty functions, face detection and HDR. The author's HTC application is intuitive to use and pleasing to the eye , although the possibilities offered by the flagship have been somewhat limited. There are a total of four modes available.
Efficiency does not give you reason to complain
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 chip is responsible for the processing power of the HTC U12 life, in which there are eight Kryo 260 cores with clock speeds up to 1.8 GHz, as well as the Adreno 509 graphics chip. This is a suitably efficient unit, which is 40% faster than the popular Snapdragon 630, and the graphics chip itself is characterized by an increase in performance by 10% compared to Adreno 508. In addition, there is support from 4GB of RAM .This set does not give you reason to complain and performs very well ensuring fast work of your smartphone at almost any time. I did not feel the lack of computing power when running the application or during the general use of the smartphone. Occasionally, the interface slowed down (when scrolling through cards and entering HTC BlinkFeed), but it's rather a matter of refining the software. In most cases, the smartphone has no problem with smooth operation , and the switching between applications is fast enough, because they are kept in memory for a long time. The phone also works well with titles available on Google Play, thus ensuring a smooth and stable gameplay. [wptab style = "4" title = "AnTuTu 7"] [test slug = "android-antutu-7" order = "desc" selected = "22728" virtual = "antutu-total-7" type = "single" product_id = "22728,22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22614,22564"] [/ wptab] [wptab style = "4" title = "T-Rex"] [test slug = "gfxbench-fps" order = "desc" selected = "22728" type = "single" virtual = "t-rex-3-onscreen" product_id = "22728,22486,22696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516, 22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab style =" 4 "title =" PC Mark "] [test slug =" pcmark-android "order =" desc "selected =" 22728 "virtual =" pcmark-android-work "type = "single" product_id = "22728,22486,22696,22674,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564"] [/ wptab] [wptab style = "4" title = "Manhattan"] [slug test = "gfxbench-fps" order = "desc" selected = "22728" type = "single" virtual = "manhattan-3-onscreen" product_id = "22728,22486,22696,22644,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470 , 22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab style =" 4 "title =" GeekBench Single "] [test slug =" geekbench-4 "order =" desc "selected =" 22728 "virtual =" geekbench- 4-Single-Core "type =" single "product_id =" 22728,22486,2696,22674,22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab style =" 4 " title = "GeekBench Multi"] [test slug = "geekbench-4" order = "desc" selected = "22728" virtual = "geekbench-4-Multi-Core" type = "single" product_id = "22728,22486.22696,22674 , 22672,22660,22620,22612,22470,22614,22516,22564 "] [/ wptab] [wptab_end] The smartphone works on the basis of the latest Google system – Android 8.1 Oreo with the additions of the manufacturer and the security level of August this year. The producer offers the possibility of personalization – changing the effect of scrolling through the desktop cards, choosing the right theme from available online. You can also create your own graphic design. It is possible to edit the bar with the navigation buttons and add there, among other things, a function that allows you to record the screen, take a screenshot, hide the navigation bar, or eject the notification bar. It is worth paying attention to the HTC BlinkFeed application (by default there is on the first screen), which displays your favorite content on the phone screen – all in one place, in a clear form. There is also HTC Boost +, or software containing a set of tools that maximize the security, privacy and performance of the device . From the program level, we can close open processes, secure applications, and delete unnecessary files. The whole has been presented in an accessible form.
Stereo and NFC speakers
The company has opted for stereo sound. A strictly multimedia speaker is able to extract a loud and pleasant sound, while the one placed above the screen is definitely quieter and its sound is flat. There is no HTC BoomSound technology, and therefore the one responsible for improving the quality of the sound. The headphones you find in the box leave something to be desired, but the transducer itself is good – just plug in a private headset. For headphones connected via BT, the sound is loud enough and the connection is stable.The equipment includes the latest communication solutions:
- FM radio
- a dual-band WiFi wireless module (802.11 ac / a / b / g / n, 2.4GHz & 5GHz),
- USB type C connector,
- LTE modem – download up to 600Mbps, transfer up to 75 Mbps (depending on operator support),
- dual nanoSIM card slot (both SIM cards with LTE support),
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPS (with A-GPS, GLONASS).
The communication standards mentioned above work well and did not cause any problems during testing. In principle, it should not surprise anyone. I have no objections to making voice calls. The smartphone does not lose its range (I tested it on the Orange and Plus network cards as a standard). The internal memory is 64 GB . 53 GB is available to the user. The smartphone supports Flex Storage, so it is possible to merge both memories. The type C USB port offers support for OTG, thanks to which it is possible to connect external mass storage devices (the phone supports disks without power supply, but does not support the NTFS file system).
Summary and evaluation
HTC U12 life in terms of design (despite the reference to the Desire 650 and smartphones brand Pixel) stands out from the competition, because it is different . This otherness is worth appreciating – especially now, when smartphones dominated in stores made for one fashion, almost indistinguishable among themselves. I could not fail to mention the above – average working time on a single charging cycle , thanks to which it is possible to use the smartphone for 1.5 days, and possibly even 2 days, with less intensive use.The biggest advantage of HTC U12 life is the work culture , which is at a high level, so that the use of the device is a pleasure. This of course is thanks to Snapdragon 636 working in conjunction with 4GB of RAM, as well as a good software optimization. You also need to appreciate the rich and complete communication facilities , including the FM radio, which has recently been displaced even by the average. On the plus side you can also include photographic capabilities of the phone, but only in favorable lighting conditions. On the minus side I have to save a few things – interestingly, most of them did not appear in the predecessor. I can not understand why HTC gave up the active side frames, water resistance, as well as the brilliant sound quality guaranteed by the HTC USonic headphones with adaptive sound. I understand that the latter only work on a USB type C connector, but why does the presence of a mini-jack preclude the implementation of the USB audio port and add these headphones to the set? For some, the quality of the display may be worse than in the predecessor, as well as the camera's weaker capabilities at dusk, although this is the disadvantages of many mid-range phones – U12 life is not alone here. HTC U12 life is an interesting smartphone, although its price seems to be overstated in relation to the possibilities offered. Although similar and maybe cheaper phones can be found on the Polish market, none of them will be as uncommon as the latest Taiwanese proposal – and without a doubt the strongest argument for buying this device. [Show_rating]