The U12 Life is rocking a pretty standard setup: 16MP, f/2.0 main snapper, accompanied by a 5MP unit, intended purely for depth sensing. The only real "extras" HTC added on top are Phase detection autofocus, and a dual LED flash.
The camera UI looks really clean, with only a few special modes added in, like Bokeh and Panorama. There is an Auto HDR toggle and 4K@30fps video recording is supported out of the box. Something we can't really take for granted, given some of our recent experiences with Xiaomi's approach to market segmentation.
On the selfie side - a simple 13MP snapper. Nothing too fancy, just a fixed focus camera.
The U12 Life boots Android 8.1 Oreo, with Sense UI or HTC Sense on top. On the surface, it has a really clean, almost stock look to it, which we really appreciate. There are some notable additions, though.
The HTC Sense companion app will remind you to charge your phone if you don't have enough juice to make it to your dinner meeting (provided it is in your calendar). It's quite reminiscent of the Google Assistant.
Boost+ is HTC's optimizer app for clearing junk files, freeing up RAM, looking for possible battery saving settings, locking apps behind a pattern lock, and the apps manager feature is nice to delete a bunch of apps at once.
Blink Feed is still here and it's just a swipe to the left of your home screen. We're not fans of unifying all feeds within a single one, but apparently some HTC users still are. There's support for many social networks, YouTube, news, and whatever else you like to consume.
There is also Theme support, navigation bar options, face unlock and a few other goodies added to the mix.
Frankly speaking, it's kind of hard to read HTC's marketing strategy and intentions lately. The U12 Life only adds to the overall confusion of the matter. It's clearly not a toned-down version of the U12+, but something different entirely.
All things considered, HTC appears to be trying to go after the popular mid-rangers of the day. Offers from Xiaomi, Nokia and a few other players, like we mentioned earlier. That, however, is probably the most competitive space to be in right now.
We'll definitely be keeping an eye on the U12 Life and how well it brushes elbows with the competition. But, one thing is for sure, HTC has a tough battle lined up for itself on this one.