HTC is no longer what it used to be, but then we are not necessarily talking about the quality of the smartphones that the manufacturer makes. This is generally good, although the U11 + was an exception to this. The U12 + is, however, the high-end smartphone of this year from HTC and it is also the only one. At the preview event in Amsterdam, it was revealed that we do not have to expect U12 ++, or something like that. The strategy is therefore to focus on one high-end model and that is probably due in large part to the sales of a large part of the smartphone branch to Google. It is understandable and probably better than with many fewer people still make as many smartphones, which would probably be at the expense of quality.
If you want the HTC U12 + for first in the hands, one thing stands out immediately. The device has no buttons as we know it and you can call that daring. There are bulges on the right side of the phone, which serve as the power button and volume buttons. If you press one of those bulges, you feel haptic feedback, so you know that the device has registered your push on the button. It takes some getting used to. Our first impression is that you have to put a little more pressure than with a regular power button of, for example, the HTC U11. Unfortunately you can not adjust how sensitive the button is, because then we would have li;ked to put it a bit lighter. The manufacturer always had fine, sturdy buttons and was there during the presentation of the HTC 10 then also really proud.
One of the reasons to use these different types of buttons is according to HTC that the device is better waterproof to make. The classification with ip68 is the same as with the U11 +. Moreover, these buttons would last much longer than regular buttons. If so, HTC has a point, because we see with some regularity that the buttons on older devices are failing or working less well. Nevertheless, after the short time that we have spent with the device we tend to go to ‘real’ buttons, especially because it is simply nice to be able to actually press a button, but that preliminary judgment can still change if we have used the device for a while.
Pinching and tapping
The U11 had a pinch function for the first time and the U12 + has version two of it. This has been extended with a new action, namely the double tap on the place where you normally squeeze. By default, you reduce the screen display by tapping twice on the side with your thumb. That’s a smart idea, since your thumb is already in that spot and you can switch so quickly to a smaller screen to tap something that’s out of the reach of your thumb. With some other smartphones, for example, you can swipe over the navigation bar to reduce the screen, but HTC’s operation is faster and works well once you know where to tap. As a result, we can imagine that we will actually use it in practice.
Of course you can still pinch short and long to activate certain functions. So you can quickly start the camera by squeezing, turn on the flashlight or start an app for example. It is nice that the edge function now offers more possibilities. In practice, we have used the function in previous models a lot, simply because it is intuitive and quick to apply a pinch.
A software function that also stands out is ‘smart rotation’. This should prevent the screen orientation from portrait to landscape mode if you lie on your side in bed or on the couch. We have asked how the U12 + knows this and the answer is that the phone understands the content on the screen in combination with the movement you make with the device when the screen orientation has to remain locked. For example, the screen would be in the landscape mode if you watch a video on YouTube or Netflix. We have not yet been able to test this properly due to the lack of a good berth, but it is an interesting solution for a recognizable problem.