The U12+ has a 6-inch LCD display with QHD+ resolution - they actually call it Super LCD 6. This is a "glass sandwich" smartphone protected by Gorilla Glass 3 on both the front and rear. You should know that the version of Gorilla Glass doesn't necessarily mean that it is inferior. We find Gorilla Glass 3 to have our preferred balance between shatter- and scratch-resistance.
Unlike a bunch of other smartphone makers, the HTC U12+'s tall display doesn't have rounded corners around the display - they are the standard 90-degree corners. This all comes down to preference, but some believe that rounded corners rob you of pixels, while others find them more modern.
The Super LCD 6 display is HDR 10 compatible and offers a bit of color tuning. For starters, the default color profile is DCI-P3, which produces a wide color gamut. Otherwise, you can go with the less color-intensive sRGB profile. In either case, the default DCI-P3 will produce the brightest image - more on this shortly.
In terms of color accuracy, we saw an average deltaE of 5.7 with a max deltaE of 7.8. Switching to the sRGB profile produces a more accurate average of 4.7 but the max deltaE actually got slightly higher at some of the darker blue tones. The U12+ only offers a single slider for each color profile to fine tune the color temperature. We found the best results when tuning the slider 1/10th of the way towards "cool" in the sRGB setting - average detlaE was 4.4 and the max deltaE was 7.7.
We thought the display's color reproduction was quite good. The default DCI-P3 color profile (HDR 10) made whites look a bit bluer than they should be. The sRGB setting warms the whites closer to accuracy, but they are still not quite there. There are certainly more accurate displays out there, but these numbers are within acceptable deviations.
In our brightness testing, we found the HTC U12+'s max brightness to be lower than the U11's (16:9) Super LCD 5 display. The max brightness reached 366.1 nits, though, the contrast (1,830) was higher than the U11's. In direct sunlight, this display offers an ever so slight brightness boost (just over 20 nits), which likely would go unnoticed.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
The minimum display brightness was pretty good. The display was able to dim down to 2.4 nits for great night-time visibility or having Smart Display active on your nightstand without being too distracting to sleep near.
Sunlight legibility, however, was rather poor. We often struggled to see the U12+'s display in direct sunlight. Overall, quite a disappointing showing, definitely one falling short of the expectations set forth by HTC's lofty "Super LCD6" moniker.
Although the U12+'s display is an improvement over the U11+, we find the Super LCD 6 display to be overall dimmer than the Super LCD 5 from the regular U11. It seems that HTC went with an inferior display when it switched to taller 18:9 panels.
Otherwise, it's still a great display for viewing and editing photos. Movies and TV shows are great to watch whether you use the BoomSound speakers and even better when using the included USonic earbuds. Avoiding the sun may be a good idea.
The U12+ has a slightly larger 3,500 mAh battery than the U11's 3,000 mAh pack, but smaller than the 3,930 mAh one that the U11+ launched with. It's worth noting: although the U12+ is Quick Charge 4.0 compatible, it includes a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter in the box.
HTC Sense offers a couple of battery saving modes and a power management tool for setting a battery optimization level on a per-app basis. There's a regular power save mode that restricts sync, lowers brightness, and disables vibrations and animations throughout the UI. Extreme power save mode goes even further and limits the number of apps available to the user.
Our battery endurance results did not fare as well as we expected but still didn't do terrible. We wanted to see battery life that rivaled the phone's predecessor but we got an overall score 10h lower than the U11. Let's take a look at what happened.
The U12+ fared a decent talk score: 21:51h, a couple more hours than the U11. Web browsing was not as good, scoring 7:48h while the U11 did almost ten-and-a-half hours. Video playback took a bit hit as well, yielding an endurance of 8:32h. The U11+ didn't do as well either but did a little better.
Had HTC gone with as big a battery as the U11+ without trying to trim the body's dimensions, it would have a more acceptable battery endurance score for a $799 handset. HTC really had to reduce the maximum brightness of its display to keep battery life in check.
30 minutes from a dead battery on the charger got us up to 41% battery. It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to fully charge the U12+ using the included Quick Charge 3.0 adapter.
Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the HTC U12+ for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
HTC has a pretty legendary reputation to uphold when it comes to speakers. The U12+ definitely does not disappoint in this area. It has, at its disposal, one of the better hybrid stereo setups, we've seen lately. The amplified earpiece and bottom-firing units sound nearly identical in terms of loudness and clarity and are very well balanced.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
And speaking of volume, the U12+ has plenty of it. It gets Excellent marks in both its default Theatre and Music equalizer modes. As you can probably imagine, the former works better for voices, making for a better movie or series watching experience, by enhancing dialogue. The latter opens the soundstage quite a bit for better instrumental acoustics.
Like the U11, the U12+ doesn't have a headphone jack. Rather, the included USonic earbuds offer noise-canceling out of the box. The earbuds themselves don't actually have any noise-canceling microphones.
The U12+'s four microphones perform the noise-cancelation in-device without the need for expensive external earbuds. You can always use your own pair of earbuds with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but you won't find an adapter included in the box. Also, bear in mind that the HTC U12+ won't do noise cancellation a non-HTC pair of earbuds.
HTC's USonic earbuds offer a personalization feature. A frequency signal is sent into your ear canal and just a few seconds later, your personal audio profile has been created. The calibration process even lets you hear a sample track with and without the custom tuning applied.
When hooked to an active external amplifier the HTC U12+ produced perfectly accurate output and loud output to rank as one of the better handsets in this test.
Plugging in a pair of headphones did an average amount of damage to the output - while the volume was unaffected the stereo crosstalk increased more than on some competing flagships. It’s a very solid performance still, though.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.