HTC’s U12 Life smartphone 

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The HTC U12 Life is a smartphone with a 6 inch 18:9 screen and dual camera that sits in the middle ground between the premium products and the real budget phones.

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The phone, which is available in either Moonlight Blue or Twilight Purple, is roughly 160 x75 x 8.5mm and, feeling solid in one’s hand, weighs 175g. The lower two-thirds of the back, which HTC describes as being made of acrylic glass, is covered with very narrow etched horizontal stripes which provide an attractive effect as well as enhancing grip and helping to reduce fingerprints.

It has a conventional layout. On the right hand side are the volume rocker and the power button while the SIM drawer, which can accommodate two nano SIMs, is on the left hand. The Type-C reversible USB port is at the bottom. The fingerprint sensor, which is located on the back about 3.5cm from the top, was easy to setup and use. However, even though the phone is supplied with a 5V 2A charger, and there is a Type-C connector, there is no the fast charging facility for the 3,600mAh battery which is claimed to provide 88 hours standby, 13 hours continuous playback or 12 LTE usage.

The 3.50mm phone socket at the top works effectively with the FM radio. In terms of audio the phone supports amr, 3gpp, aac and wav recording modes and, in addition, for playback m4a, flac and mp3 etc.

Based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Octacore 64-bit running Android 8.1 (Oreo) it has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage which can be extended by means of a microSD card installed in the drawer instead of SIM2. The screen resolution is FHD+ (2220 x 1080).

On the top left hand corner of the rear of the phone is the 16MP + 5MP dual camera with phase-detection autofocus. The dual LED flash is located between the two lenses. As well as the camera being able to capture 1080p videos at 30fps it offers burst shot, panorama, slow motion, time-lapse and other modes including bokeh the artistic purpose of which is to render parts of the image out of focus so as to concentrate the eye on key points of interest.

4K video recording is also an option on the main camera as is video pic which enables one to capture images while recording a 4K video. Video is recorded in MP4 with 3GP, WEBM and WAV in addition to MP4 playback. Overall, I found that the camera generally worked well for both indoor and outdoor shots.

The 13MP front camera with its LED flash provides HDR (1920 x 1080) resolution and also has video pic capability. There are also has a number of options and features including, apparently, a Beauty mode. Unfortunately, I could not find out how to access it even though it might have been covered in the instructions (which were not supplied with the review unit).

As well as the full range of network options it also has 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 5 and NFC. It can be set up as a WiFi hotspot and as a tether for sharing the internet connection.

Overall, the phone ticks most of the boxes as there is GPS and a number of additional features which include an ambient light sensor and other sensors for proximity, motion G, compass and gyro as well as a sensor hub for activity tracking. Hence, it is a phone that will tick all the right boxes for the fashion-conscious user at a more affordable price. At present it is obtainable directly from at £299 although one would assume that it will shortly become more widely available.

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