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HTC U12+ vs Samsung Galaxy S9+: How are they different ?

24 May 2018 5

HTC finally took the stage to announce their flagship smartphone U12+. This year HTC deliberately delayed the U12+ announcement due to a number of reasons. The U12+ is a direct successor of U12 but it looks more like a successor variant of U11+. The reason behind bringing the plus variant is to compete against all the Pros and Plus flagships announced so far in 2018 and undoubtedly one of the keys plus flagship so far is from Samsung Aka Galaxy S9 Plus.

Being a flagship smartphone the U12+ will certainly challenge all the existing big players in the flagship market. We already compared the U12+ against the U11+ to know the pros and cons of latest flagship over the HTC's last best smartphone. Both the devices share a lot of similarities as well. Today we will compare the U12+ against the Samsung's Galaxy S9+. Both the plus devices have a lot of aspects which makes them genuine competitor of each other.

The U12+ will have to compete against Galaxy S9+ to interrupt the premium flagships category which is currently ruled by Samsung. The Galaxy S9+ is few good months old which makes it a well-tested flagship and so far all reviews of this device are pretty great. On the other hand, the HTC's flagship is relatively new that's why it needs to prove its strength to be amongst the best flagships of the first half of 2018. Without any further ado, let's stack the U12+ against the Galaxy S9+ to know the similarities and differences amongst the two devices.

73.8 x 158.1 x 8.5 mm
6.2 inches - 2960x1440 px
73.9 x 156.6 x 8.7 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
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Design

On first look, you can easily identify the Samsung's Galaxy S9+ because of having almost similar design like its predecessor. The company retained the glass and metal sandwich design. The chassis is made up of aluminum with glass covering the front and rear side. The front glass is curved from edges. Both the front and rear glass is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5. As far as colors are a concern the device was announced in black, lilac and blue colors.

The U12+ also have the glass and metal clad design but the finish is different. The U12+ chassis is made up of metal with Liquid Glass covering the rear side. The display panel isn't curved from edges. Overall it looks a bit bulkier as opposed to Galaxy S9+. The liquid glass finish of U12+ gives a somewhat different feel as opposed to regular glass rear panels. So if you want to have something different in glass rear, you should give the U12+ a try.

The camera setup on the Galaxy S9+ is aligned vertically in the center with fingerprint scanner below it. The only prominent difference in Galaxy S9+ design from the predecessor is the inclusion of dual camera setup with fingerprint scanner below it. On the other hand the U12+ also have dual rear cameras, however, the setup is placed horizontally in the center with fingerprint scanner below it. The Galaxy S9+ has the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack whereas the U12+ rely on the USonic Type-C headphones.

Both the devices have on-screen buttons but the U12+ has an advantage of pressure sensitive buttons which provides haptic feedback. The Galaxy S9+ has a dedicated button on the left edge for Bixby Assistant. Another important aspect is the U12+ body is squeezable, you can perform a number of tasks by simply squeezing the body. Both the devices are IP68 certified which means both can resist water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.

The Galaxy S9+ dimensions are 158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5mm and it weighs 189g wheres the U12+ is slightly less tall at 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7mm and weighs 188g. No doubt the Galaxy S9+ looks quite attractive in looks but the U12+ takes lead in bringing something unique in design.

Display

Both the Galaxy S9+ and U12+ falls into the same category as both have large full front-facing display panels. The Galaxy S9+ features a 6.2-inches display with dual curved edges. Its a Super AMOLED panel with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. Samsung dubbed the display as Infinity display with minimal bezels. The display aspect ratio is 18.5:9 and pixels density is 530 pixels-per-inch.

HTC U12+ features a 6.0-inches display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. Although on paper both the devices have HI-RES Quad HD display panels but the tech is different on both the devices. Samsung's AMOLED panel performs way better than U12+ LCD 6 panel. The OLED panel brings vivid colors, better contrast, and deep blacks. Also, the Galaxy S9+ display panel is brighter than the other. Both the devices have HDR support so it won't be an issue watching HDR content on any device. The U12+ display pixels density is 537 pixels-per-inch with an aspect ratio of 2:1.

Hardware

As both the smartphones fall is premium flagship category that's why both have the latest best hardware straight out of the box. In terms of RAW performance both the devices are pretty much on par with each other. Samsung traditionally launches two variants of their flagships, one with the Qualcomm's chipset for the US and China and an Exynos variant for the rest of the world, same is the case with the Galaxy S9+.

The Galaxy S9+ has the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC/Exynos 9810 chipset. The Octa-core SoC is accompanied with 6GB RAM and built-in storage is 128GB. Its memory is further expandable using MicroSD card. On the other hand, the U12+ also running on the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset with 6GB RAM. The base variant has 64GB storage whereas the top of the line variant has 128GB native storage. Its built-in storage can be further expanded using MicroSD card up to 2TB. On paper, there isn't much difference between the two devices in performance and hardware.

Specs HTC U12+ Galaxy S9+
Display 6.0-inches 6.2-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2880 pixels 1440 x 2960 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845 Snapdragon 845/ Exynos 9810
RAM 6GB 6GB
Storage 64,128GB 64,128GB
Rear cameras 12+16MP Dual 12MP
Rear camera Dual 8MP 8MP
Battery 3,500mAh 3,500mAh
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No Yes
OS Android Oreo 8.0 Android Oreo
IP68 Yes Yes

Battery

The Galaxy S9+ and U12+ both the device's lights are kept on by a 3,500mAh battery cell. Both the devices support fast charging. Thanks to glass rear the Galaxy S9+ supports fast charging but surprisingly the U12+ doesn't have support for wireless charging. The battery life of both the devices doesn't last more than a single day so overall battery performance is quite average. The Galaxy S9+ has an advantage of wireless charging support.

Software

As OS both the devices are pre-installed with the Android Oreo 8.0 straight out of the box. Despite having the same version of Android OS, the UI experience is different on both the devices. Samsung almost revamps all the stock services and apps to fit in their Experience UI theme. So you won't get near stock experience instead you will get a lot of bloatware. On the other hand, the HTC's UI experience is quite clean and near stock. Most of the apps are the same as the stock OS.

Although the Samsung's UI version comes with bloatware it also has a number of additional features. As far updating is a concern the HTC surely will take lead in this section as they will roll out Android P for U12+ earlier than Samsung. Samsung comes with Bixby AI Assistant whereas the HTC takes lead here as well as it includes Alexa, Google Assistant and Edge Sense UI Assistants on the model.

Cameras

As far as camera sensors are a concern both the devices have dual rear cameras. One of the key selling aspects of both the devices is their camera setup. As per DxoMark, the U12+ features the second best camera in the market after the Huawei P20 Pro. Undoubtedly the Galaxy S9+ camera plays an important role in its success.

As promised the company brought dual rear cameras set up for the U12+. The primary snapper is 12MP Ultra Pixel 4 module with f/1.75 aperture whereas the secondary 16MP sensor with f/2.6 is a telephoto lens. The secondary sensor provides optical zoom up to 2x. Up front, the U12+ has dual cameras of 8MP.

From the look of the things, it seems like the primary sensor on both the devices is same 1.4µm pixels. The Galaxy S9+ has dual rear cameras of 12MP, the primary sensor is a normal lens with a variable aperture between f/1.5 to f/2.4. In stable light conditions, the aperture is turned to f/2.4 whereas in low-light conditions the aperture is shifted to f/1.5. The dual aperture sensor is one of its kind offering from Samsung. The Galaxy S9+ secondary sensor is also telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture and optical zoom up to 2x.

Both the devices bring portrait mode support for rear cameras but the U12+ front-facing cameras also bring portrait mode support. We have to admit HTC works quite hard to prove its dual camera strength whereas Samsung Galaxy S9+ are already regarded as of the best camera setup. Both the devices come with facial recognition, the Galaxy S9+ also has iris scanner as well.

Price

As far as price is a concern the U12+ has an advantage as it is £170 cheaper than Samsung's flagship. The device is announced for £699 with 64GB native storage. The Galaxy S9+ base variant is available in the UK at a price tag of £869 but you can grab it at a discounted price tag during special deals.

Conclusion

As far as design is a concern both the devices looks quite great as both have glass and metal sandwich design. Although S9+ takes lead due to AMOLED display but pressure sensitive buttons on U12+ certainly puts it on par. The HTC U12+ Liquid glass surface is quite unique and feels great. In the hardware section, both are equally good as both have the latest chipsets with 6 Gigs of RAM and enough storage to be a good daily driver.

The Galaxy S9+ camera is certainly one of the best setups but U12+ proved its worth in DxoMark, however, we can't claim which one is better until further tests. If you want near stock experience the HTC Sense UI is better but if you want custom UI layer the Samsung's Experience UI is quite mature with tons of extra features. In the end, the pricing will play a vital role here as the U12+ is significantly cheaper than its competitor. Feel free to share your views with fellow readers regarding U12+ vs Galaxy S9+ in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons and previews.

9.3 Hardware
7.1 Price Quality

HTC U12 Plus

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(last update 11 December 2018 @ 11:39)

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