We’ve heard reports that HTC is planning to exit the Indian market – a market that is known for its power in budget and midrange smartphones. This implied that HTC could be doing away with the budget/midrange smartphone category and concentrate more on the high-end market, something we are not strangers to. However, the Taiwanese company still believes it has something to offer the midrange segment and it’s called the HTC U12 Life.
A quick look at the U12 Life reveals what looks like a blend between the Google Pixel and iPhone X, but it ditches the latter’s most controversial feature, the notch. Even more interesting is that unlike other HTC phones from the recent past, the U12 Life has gone back to the much-loved 3.5mm audio jack and the trending 18:9 aspect ratio is also on display.
Let’s check out the specs.
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HTC U12 Life specs
- 6-inch 18:9 FHD+ LCD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB expandable storage
- Dual 16MP + 5MP main camera
- 13MP front camera
- 3600mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB-C, Dual-SIM, 3.5mm audio jack, rear-mounted scanner, etc.
As you may have guessed, we are looking at the successor to the HTC U11 Life and indeed it’s a real upgrade. The 2017 edition had a 5.2-inch display screen and a smaller 2600mAh battery while the Snapdragon 630 processor took care of matters under the hood. As for the HTC U12 Life, there’s a bigger 6-inch 18:9 panel with a full HD+ resolution, an even bigger 3600mAh battery unit and a more powerful Snapdragon 636 processor running the show.
HTC did great to include a USB-C port on the U11 Life but then shot itself in the foot by ditching the 3.5mm audio jack. The company has made amends for this move and on the U12 Life, both connectors are present, something that should make it a unique device in the company’s latest smartphone portfolio.
The HTC U12 Life has a dual-lens camera on the back and like many similar setups, the second sensor will be used to provide bokeh effects in photos. This is an effect where the background in a photo appears blurry in order to make the object outstanding, but unlike the premium U12+, there’s no second lens on the front panel, only a 13MP unit.
In terms of software, the HTC U12 Life runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. Of course, it should be upgraded to Android Pie later on, but what remains unclear is whether we can look forward to an Android One version that has Pie out of the box, just like it happened last year, where the U.S. variant had Nougat out of the box while the rest of the globe got an Android One variant with Oreo preinstalled.
HTC U12 Life price and availability
At launch, the HTC U11 Life was valued at $349 and HTC isn’t changing a thing about this. Although it won’t be coming to the U.S., the HTC U12 Life will be sold at €349 in Europe and £299 in the UK. Availability begins in September and the device can be picked up in Moonlight Blue or Twilight Purple.
It will be interesting to see how the HTC U12 Life performs against other Snapdragon 636-powered smartphones that are essentially cheaper. Even more interesting is how the phone will go against superior midrangers with similar or much cheaper price tags, among them Xiaomi Mi A2, Nokia 7 Plus, and Xiaomi Poco F1, among others.