CNET First Look
HTC U12 Plus is unique, but not for the massesWhat's good and bad about this ambitious phone.
[MUSIC] The HTC U12 PLUS looks like an ordinary phone but don't be fooled. You'll know the second you press on the buttons, squeeze it, or tap the sides, that HTC is trying to do something different. The first clue might be the back of the blue version, which lets you take a peek into its innards But the second you try to turn the phone on or off or raise the volume, you know something isn't quite right. The button you see in the side don't actually press in, they sense your pressure and buzz with haptic feedback to let you that the volumes been adjusted or that the phone is powering on. To me this is a heavy handed touch that, frankly, feels weird enough to send chills up and down my spine. However, HTC says its going to update the software in a couple weeks to make the haptic feedback feel more natural. Luckily some of the phone's other features are more successful. Like Google Pixel 2's phones and last year's HTC U11, this phone has squeezable sides that you can customize in any number of ways. To launch apps like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa or perform tasks within an app like your camera or a game. A new feature keeps the screen from dimming or rotating when you hold the device which is useful when you're reading laying down or reclined. And the double tap on the pressure sensitive sides can shrink the screen for one handed use, pull up the shortcuts menu, go back and so on. As for the rest, this is a flagship model that has Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside. It runs the current version of Android with HTC software on top. I'm not a fan of the outdated looking feel of the HTC [UNKNOWN] software and battery life is on the leaner side. Like most phones, you'll need to charge it once a day. The twelve and sixteen megapixel camera more than holds its own against the top tier players. Callers can come out a little bit darker with fewer distinct details, but you can adjust the lighting in the shot and edit after the fact to improve the picture. On the front, 2 8-megapixel cameras left me with my hair intact when taking a portrait selfie. With it's six inch super LCD screen, the U12 Plus is a larger device, just about the size as the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. It's water resistant, but has no headphone jack and doesn't support wireless charging. The U12 Plus does come with used sonic ear buds that have a USBC connection but you will need to get yourself a dongle if you want to use your own wired ear buds. There's also a clear case that comes with the phone. I like the creativity that HTC is bringing to its phones, but I think it takes a certain type of person to make the most out of tapping and squeezing the U12 plus in every day life. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]