HTC clearly pulled out all the stops with the HTC U12+, both in features and in buzzwords. While it is a bit more modest about its camera chops compared to Samsung’s “reimagined” slogan for the Galaxy S9, HTC is letting numbers speak for itself. As seems to be customary these days, new flagship smartphones immediately get a DxOMark review on the day they are announced, even before anyone else gets their hands on one. And while last year’s HTC U11 was no slouch compared to its contemporaries, the HTC U12+ blows the competition out of the water, save for one.
HTC approached its dual cameras a bit like Samsung did, with the secondary 16 megapixel sensor pulling off telephoto duties. Unlike other dual cameras, however, the U12+’s main 12 megapixel camera uses a wide-angle lens, attempting to give users the best of both wide and tele worlds. HTC also employed a lot of fancy-sounding feature names which mostly delivered as advertised.
The HTC U12+ has no problems in bright light and very little problems in low light. In fact, the usual luminance build-up associated with bright blue skies and uniform colors that trip up other smartphones is virtually non-existent here. If there was one noticeable flaw in the U12+ that DxOMark noticed is the rather limited dynamic range, which is pretty ironic given HTC’s boasted HDR Boost 2 feature.
Given the popularity of zoom and bokeh in mobile photography these days, DxOMark added the two as new criteria in its tests. The HTC U12+, fortunately for its fans, didn’t fail to impress. Bokeh blur was strong, even if depth perception wasn’t exactly the most accurate. Zoom up to 2x, the limit of its hardware-based optical zoom was good but anything more produces strong artifacts.
The HTC U12+, unlike most smartphone cameras, also did fairly well in video recording, praised for its fast and accurate autofocus, excellent exposure both outdoors and indoors, and acceptable dynamic range. With an overall score of 103, the HTC U12+ pretty much beats all other smartphones in DxOMark’s list. Except for the Huawei P20 Pro, which is still way ahead of the race.