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In the U12 Life, HTC backs away from the U12 Plus' squeezable side and static "buttons" that vibrate instead of pressing in. In its place, the U12 Life is all purple or blue eye-candy with a partial glass pane on the back that mimics the backing on Google's flagship phone of 2017. (The Pixel 3 is expected as soon as Oct. 9, by the way.)
From what we can see, HTC, which has always excelled at smooth, eye-catching design, has done a better job here than it did on the Pixel and Pixel 2 that the company also designed to Google's specifications.
This "mimicry" is no real surprise, given HTC's relationship with the Googs. In January this year, Google absorbed HTC engineers, who were already working on the Pixel phones, into the Googleplex. It isn't clear how much of the Pixel's design language would have flowed between the two companies before Google closed its HTC deal.
The HTC U12 Life will sell in Europe but not the US or Australia. It's a midprice offering that will sell for £299, which converts to about $390 or AU$535. Apart from the Pixel-like backing, the U12 Life has some pretty compelling features for a phone of its quite reasonable price. There's a large, 6-inch display, two rear cameras for portrait mode, expandable storage and a rare headphone jack. (See all specs below.)
We'll be keeping tabs on this one. It's shaping up to be an interesting contender in the midrange space.
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