Review: HTC U12 Life

HTC’s new U12 Life is a mid-range phone that packs in a dual-lens camera, a good UI experience and a good design and build quality. The U12 Life replaces the U11 Life and takes some design cues from the U12+. The phone is available in two colours – Moonlight Blue and Twilight Purple. We received the Moonlight Blue version for a review.

The U12 Life delivers a unique dual finish that features soft, subtle stripes on an acrylic glass (plastic) unibody with a metal-like design surrounding the device’s 18:9 full-body display. On the front, you get a 6-inch display with a 13MP front camera on the top.

On the left edge, you will find the dual SIM card slot and on the right edge, you get the volume rockers and the power button. On the top edge, you get the 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone pinhole. Flip the phone around and you come face to face with a dual camera setup, that feature a 16MP main camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and a 5MP secondary camera with an f/2.2 aperture.

This dual camera setup has been designed to allow you to shoot images in a live Bokeh mode, by blurring the background of a shot. Under the hood, the phone runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 mobile platform, coupled with 4GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage space, which can be further expanded to up to 512GB using the microSD card slot on the device. The U12’s battery is rated at 3600mAh.

The U12 Life measures 158.5 x 75.4 x 8.3 mm, and weighs around 175 grams. This makes the phone feel very light and thus feel like a budget phone. Though the overall finish is good, I would have loved if it had a bit of weight to it. The phone runs on Andorid 8.1 Oreo operating system. The camera app looks really clean, with a few special modes added in, such as Bokeh and Panorama.

There is an Auto HDR toggle and 4K@30fps video recording is supported out of the box. The camera of the U12 Life performed quite well. We were able to shoot some really good pictures under good lighting conditions and low light conditions. We did end up with a couple of images with noise under low light conditions, but this is expected of an entry-level or mid-range device.

The overall performance of the HTC U12 Life is very good. Multi-tasking and browsing through multiple open app windows was a piece of cake. We did not come across any lags or stutters when switching between multiple apps. Our occasional gaming sessions were also handled quite well by the HTC U12 Life. HTC is a very well-known brand in the smartphone market and the U12 Life only asserts that.

At a price of AED 1299, the U12 Life is value for money if you are looking for a mid-range device with good photography skills and performance. The U12 Life indeed delivers surprising power and performance in a smartphone this affordable.

Price: AED 1299

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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