hTC U12+ Review – A Phone With No Buttons

hTC U12+ is a phone with no buttons, but the experience is not good enough. I love the most for its camera set which is still #11 on Dxomark smartphone list!


I feel pitiful for hTC since Google acquired the previous hTC pixel team on Jan 2018, and they didn’t introduce or launch the new flagships in 2019. They only launched two mid-ranger phones in summer 2019 which is recognized as a way to delete all the component stock. 🙁 🙁 🙁


I used to see all my friends and family having an hTC phone and share useful tips with each other in the last decade, but technology is cruel. One day you are in, the other day you are out!


Let’s follow Blablaphones for a better dive! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Product: hTC U12+
6.0″ LCD (1440 x 2880 pixels) 18:9 ratio (537 PPI density)
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (10 nm)
Storage: 64/128GB storage, microSD slot
Camera: 12.0 MP(OIS) + 16.0 MP(2x optical zoom)
Front Camera: 8.0 MP + 8.0 MP
Battery: 3,500 mAh and Fast battery charging 18W(50% in 35 mins)
 Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, Flame Red
Other Features: IP68 dust & waterproof / Corning Gorilla Glass 3 / Fingerprint (rear-mounted)
Released Date:
Jun, 2018


(hTC U12+ gives symmetric look on the back and front which might suit people with perfectionism. I am okay with some surprising designs, but the powerful feature comes with it should be something makes me forget the special design.)


Product: hTC Exodus 1
6.0″ LCD (1440 x 2880 pixels) 18:9 ratio (537 PPI density)
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (10 nm)
Storage: 128GB storage, no card slot
Camera: 12.0 MP(OIS) + 16.0 MP(2x optical zoom)
Front Camera: 8.0 MP + 8.0 MP
Battery: 3,500 mAh and battery charging 18W(50% in 35 min)
Other Features: IP68 dust & waterproof / Fingerprint (rear-mounted)Zion crypto wallet / dApps
Released Date:
Dec, 2018


(hTC Exodus 1 is the variant of U12+ but with a zion crypto wallet, the rest is almost the same!)

Product: hTC U12 Life
6.0″ LCD (1080 x 2160 pixels) 18:9 ratio (402 PPI density)
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 (14 nm)
RAM: 4/6 GB
Storage: 64/128GB storage, microSD slot
Camera: 16.0 MP + 5.0 MP(depth sensor)
Front Camera: 13.0 MP
Battery: 3,600 mAh and battery charging 10W
 Moonlight Blue, Twilight Purple
Other Features: Fingerprint (rear-mounted)
Released Date:
Sept, 2018


Design & Display

Although the notch or hole-punching design is going so widespread since 2018, hTC is not one of them based on the look of hTC U12+ and there is no sign they will join it too!


The front got a thick chin and top, and a very thin bezel on the border which is not a waterfall screen. I like the way they make is so symmetric on both front and rear, and I believe someone with perfectionism might fall for it.


There is a version called “Translucent Blue” which allows users to look inside the rear body to see the inner layout, and I think it’s cute and cool. The inner layout and the camera make it like a robot is playing hide-and-seek after a translucent plastic sheet.


(The translucent blue of hTC U12+ gives you a chance for a deep stare for its inner and outer beauty.)



hTC U12+ got both dual camera for the front and rear camera set, and they are very impressive! It’s still the 2nd best smartphone with only two cameras on Dxomark smartphone list. Only behind Apple’s flagship – iPhone Xs MAX!



I am still “WOWed” by the camera performance of hTC U12+ which is even higher than Google Pixel 3. Surprised, right? Based on this scorings, I think we should give it a chance to try or expect the next flagships from hTC if possible.


Shortcut to hTC U12+ scorings:


  • Pros: fast autofocus and accurate white balance
  • Cons: noise and lack of details in low-light environment


  • Pros: effective stabilization and good exposure & dynamic range
  • Cons: lack of details in low-light environment

(hTC got 103 overall scorings for its camera performance, and the photo parts are 106 scorings which is amazing!)


Video Recording

I love the way they invented for the camera video recording. hTC mentioned it’s “Hollywood in your Pocket”, and they ensure the video quality would be like what you see in movies.


Although the flagships released in 2019 tops the video scorings than hTC U12+, we still could check what hTC is selling. There are two main features for the video recordings. One is sonic zoom, and the other is auto zoom.


1.Sonic Zoom

You take out your hTC U12+ to record a video when you see a busker band on the street. You could zoom in on a particular sound from their performance, maybe for the drum, bass, or the vocal.


It reminds me the similar idea on Samsung Galaxy Note+ in Sep this year, but Samsung calls it “Zoom-in Mic”, and it’s surprisingly hTC did this one year ahead.


2.Auto Zoom
I found it all the time that I couldn’t zoom in naturally for my videos. My experience is that I zoom in so quick that the first seconds of my video is so blurred that I delete them afterward. So, this auto zoom feature does provide me a good way to make it under control.


It means you could simply one-touch then the auto zoom would help you to zoom in smoothly and make it cinematic which I LOVE to use it to record something for my family!


Edge Sense 2

Now, we came to a part that every reviewer loathes. hTC U12+ was trying to liberate the freedom for one of our hands since they think edge sense will bring many conveniences.


You could either set each edge sense for the below features, but the experience isn’t ideal I need to let you know first!


  • Tap: to launch one-hand mode / play music
  • Double Tap: translate
  • Hold: lock rotations
  • Squeeze: to zoom into map / check weather / selfie & photo /  snooze the alarm / start a recording / calender


Let’s watch this short demonstration video:


Performance & Battery

hTC U12+ comes with Snapdragon 845, and it has 3,500mAh which would enough for me, but not enough for hardcore game players. It also gets IP68 dust & water-resistant, so any coffee or drink splash should be fine for your U12+.


The battery part is something that I expect all the smartphone manufacturers could be generous about since it would be very nice if we could leave the power bank at home!


hTC Exodus 1

hTC Exodus 1 comes to my eyes for the very first blockchain phone from Taiwan. Yeah, I assume you are knowing hTC comes from Taiwan, right? Exodus is a variant from hTC U12+, and people tease it’s a U12+ with a bitcoin wallet, that’s it!


You now could use hTC Exodus 1 to buy bitcoin without worrying about your personal data is owned & controlled by giant corporations. Its the native web 3.0 mobile device, and it sounds like a smartphone any agent needs in spy-theme movies!


Samsung has its first blockchain phone this year called “Klaytn Phone“, and hTC did run earlier 9 months ahead. But, the thing is we don’t know much yet how the blockchain phone could impact people’s lives.


There are four highlights for Exodus 1:

  1. Zion Private Vault: protects your private keys, sensitive data
  2. Trusted UI: guard your assets and sensitive data from malware
  3. Secure your Cryptocurrency: support some of your favorite cryptocurrencies
  4. Social Key Recovery: never lose your key again!

(hTC Exodus 1 protects your personal data and cryptocurrency like Kingsman executes its task!)



Top#01 The Buttons

It is hyped that edge sense on hTC U12+ could easily fulfill your demands no matter how hard it is, but all the internet and reviewers gave a very bad comment on it.


The edge sense feature didn’t gather much positive feedback since the sensing is not always correct for the real demands we want, and it cracks people’s expectations.


It also has the lag issun when you squeeze the edges but it understands a few seconds later, and it requires you press harder than a physical button to make it work which I think it’s not very SMART!


Top#02 Battery Seems A Tragedy

Although hTC U12+ has the best chipset in 2018 – Snapdragon 845(10 nm), somehow, its battery runs out of battery beyond your imaginations.


People blame the screen is the reason for the short-lasting battery, and the brightness of hTC U12+’s screen isn’t as bright as we thought it should be which is the worse part. 🙁 🙁 🙁


Top#03 No Regular Software Update

Except for Apple, the rest smartphone manufacturers used to compete for the hardware instead of software updates. hTC is the same!


If there are no regular software updates to fix all the bugs users find when they really use the phone, I believe it won’t last for the sales even hTC phones come with a beautiful design or a fancy & powerful camera. Right?


I am glad Samsung finally understands this and implements the regualr updates to fix something. Expecially this year, I feel Samsung did re-born to be alive again!!!


>>>Check the Latest Price on Amazon<<<



hTC U12+ is really a phone with no buttons which requires more time to develop to the fullest. I love the camera since it’s capturing almost every perfect for me.


I will definitely follow hTC’s flagships in the later years, but it seems that they only focus on AR product line at the moment since 2018. Even if they only could develop mid-ranger phones, I would love to see what new features they bring to the devices like they used to dominate the Android world!


I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have any questions about hTC U12 family or want to leave your own personal review, leave a comment below.


(All Photos: hTC)


You may also like:
01.Samsung Note 10 Review – The Intelligent S Pen

02.Samsung S10 Review – The Best Phone In 2019 So Far?
03.OnePlus 7 Pro Review – The Flagship Killer

04.Google Pixel 3 Review – The Best Android Phone In 2018
05.Huawei P30 Review – The Best Camera Phone in 2019

hTC U12+








Build Quality




Matt Lin


  1. Hello! Great review. My mobile must be about 5 years old now and I am looking to upgrade. I had an HTC in the past and was relatively happy with it.

    At the moment I have any LG; it looks like a stunning phone, visually, and admittedly I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I think it would be perfect.

    However, reading your review further, I realized that because of the battery life, the fact that there are no regular updates doesn’t seem ideal to me.

    I think for this upgrade I will avoid the HTC and possibly look at the iPhone X. I am very intrigued by crypto currency. Astonishing that you can buy bitcoins with the HTC Exodus 1.

    I do not know enough about this subject, so I will certainly be exploring this more!

    Thanks again

    • Yes, no frequent software update will definitely kill any phone in the industry nowadays since there are so many are competing for the same game.

      I agree with you for iPhone X, and the price will go lower and lower each year when a new iPhone is introduced by Apple.

      You are more than welcome to see more HERE for iPhone X.

  2. Really? Taiwan?  I thought they all came from China.  It gets so irritating having to upgrade your phone once you get comfortable and figure out how to use all the features.

    Some people like to upgrade to the newest models, however, there are those (like me) who are happy with a device that works for everything you need.

    In this day and age of something new being released every six months, I appreciate your breakdown. Nice inclusion of your Amazon picks.

    • It’s like Apple manufactured iPhone in China by Foxconn but we won’t say Apple is from China, right? Yeah, I am just like you prefer to go with the old models that I am okay with! There are so many old models each year when a new model released for all the BIG smartphone manufacturers.


      You are more than welcome to check the previous Apple 8 & 8 plus, X, XR, XS & Xs MAX, I think all of them suit your certain needs!

  3. The phone looks smartly and the camera seems to be very good as you mentioned it features, although I knew HTC are good on camera.

    But, I don’t the reason why its market is low, many people now ran towards apple and others while they leave the smartphone.

    I like HTC, and I think is time for me to have mine

    • Hi Abdulazeez,

      I like the camera of hTC U12+!!! In the last decade, there are no many Chinese smartphone manufacturers to compete in the same game, so hTC does have a fruitful moment to reminisce!

      I also like they way you like the have your hTC phone, please check HERE for more feedback from others.:-) 🙂 🙂

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