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HTC U12+ vs Huawei P20 Pro: Clash of camera-centric flagship smartphones

30 May 2018 5

HTC recently announced their first flagship smartphone of this year as U12+. HTC claims that U12+ is the company's only offering in the flagships category for this year so for those who are looking for a better-refined product in the second half of the year will have to disappoint. The reason behind releasing the Plus variant instead of the regular variant is to make sure the device brings everything to make it a stand out device amongst the competition.

Undoubtedly the U12+ is quite special not only for HTC but also for the flagships market. The device is quite powerful to challenge the existing big players. We already compared the U12+ against the OnePlus 6, Galaxy S9+ and last year's U11+. Today we will put it in a competition against the Huawei's latest flagship P20 Pro. Both the devices have a number of similarities and differences as both falls in the same category of premium flagships.

On the other hand, the P20 Pro is certainly so far one of the best flagship smartphone announced this year. The device is not only striking in terms of design and hardware but it also it emerges as the leader in the camera department. No doubt the P20 Pro is good enough to be the best flagship smartphone of 2018. Let's have a look at how HTC's U12+ stacks up against the already best flagship P20 Pro. Without any further delay, let's start with the design of both the devices.

73.9 x 156.6 x 8.7 mm
6 inches - 2880x1440 px
73.9 x 155 x 7.8 mm
6.1 inches - 2244x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

HTC instead of opting a brand new design language, the company retained the design language they introduced last year with the U11 series. As expected the company refined the design to make it more attractive than ever. The U12+ features an aluminum chassis with liquid glass surface covering the rear side. The rear showcases different colors from different angles, Huawei also opted somewhat similar concept.

The P20 Pro is indeed a big step from its predecessor in terms of design. Huawei ditched the unibody metal design in favor of glass and metal clad design, the new design language is certainly quite impressive. Huawei not only brought a major change in the rear design but also the front-facing design is quite futuristic. Undoubtedly Huawei gives a new direction in the design language. The glass rear on the P20 Pro also reflects different colors on different colors.

The HTC U12+ dimensions are 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7mm and weighs 188g whereas the P20 Pro is worth appreciating slim at 155 x 73.9 x 7.8mm and weighs 180g. Overall aesthetics of both the devices are almost same but the P20 Pro is significantly slimmer than its competitor. Both the devices rear glass is fingerprint magnet so you have to take extra care to ensure the devices remain clean.

The fingerprint scanner on the U12+ is on the rear side whereas the P20 Pro has the scanner on the front below the display. Despite having 2:1 display the U12+ has significant bezels on the top and bottom of the display. The P20 Pro follows the iPhone X footstep and features a notch at the top of the display. On the rear side, the U12+ has dual cameras setup placed horizontally in center whereas the P20 Pro features triple cameras set up on the left corner.

Unfortunately, both the devices lack the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Both the devices are waterproof and dust resistant, the U12+ is an IP68 certified device whereas the P20 Pro is quite close at IP67. Overall the design language both the devices are quite superb, now it's up to you whether you prefer the notch display or complete bezel design.

Display

As far as display is a concern both the devices have full front-facing display panels. The P20 Pro features a notch at the top whereas the U12+ comes with complete full bezel at the top. Despite the fact, the P20 Pro is slightly less tall than U12+ but it features slightly larger display thanks to notch design.

HTC has a long tradition of using LCD panels for their flagships, same is the case with U12+. On the other hand, the P20 Pro has an OLED display with better saturation, colors contrast, and deep blacks. HTC U12+ features a 6.0-inches display panel with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 2:1 and the pixels density is 537 pixels-per-inch.

The P20 Pro sports a 6.1-inches display panel with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2240 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 18.7:9 and the pixels density is 407 pixels. Due to better resolution, the U12+ display can provide you better details. If you want an OLED panel you will have to compromise on resolution and if you settle with LCD panel you will get higher resolution.

Hardware

In the hardware section, the competition is quite stiff as both are packed with the latest best possible hardware. The U12+ has the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset. This chipset is powering almost all flagships announced so far this year. Huawei is amongst those few OEMs who use their chipset for their smartphones.

The Kirin 970 SoC is the company's latest chipset introduced last year with the Mate 10 series. So far the SoC is powering a number of Huawei and Honor flagships including the latest P20 Pro. The best thing about this chipset is its dedicated built-in Neural Processing unit to better handle AI tasks.

Both the devices have 6GB RAM on board and built-in native storage is 128GB. The U12+ base variant has 64GB storage and it also supports memory expansion via MicroSD card whereas the P20 Pro doesn't allow memory expansion. Apart from having the latest best hardware the software optimization also plays an important role in the performance of the device. The U12+ is better optimized than P20 Pro. So in few aspects, the U12+ could beat the P20 Pro. Overall both the devices are pretty good at handling HIFI tasks and games. So no matter which smartphone you opt amongst the two the devices are equally good to be your next companion.

Specs HTC U12+ Huawei P20 Pro
Display 6.0-inches 6.1-inches
Screen resolution 1440 x 2880 pixels 1080 x 2244 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 845 Kirin 970
RAM 6GB 6GB
Storage 64/128GB Expandable via MicroSD 128GB Non-Expandable
Rear cameras 12+16MP 40+20+8MP
Front camera Dual 8GB 24MP
Battery 3,500mAh 4,000mAh
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No No
IP-ratings IP68 IP67
OS Android Oreo with Sense UI Android Oreo with EMUI 8

Battery

In the battery section, it isn't an easy task to beat the Huawei P20 Pro as it is packed with one of the largest battery we have seen so far in this year. Huawei put a fairly large 4,000mAh battery cell and yet keeps the device slim. On a single charge, the P20 Pro battery can easily last two days. It supports Huawei's Super Charge tech to quickly recharges the device in no time.

Although the U12+ has the almost similar device in terms of size it is packed with a 3,500mAh battery cell. Having Quad HD panel with smaller battery cell will certainly affect the battery life of U12+. It won't last as long as its competitor. It features Qualcomm's Quick charge for fast charging.

Software

Despite the fact, both the devices are pre-installed with Android Oreo but there is a huge difference in the UI of both the devices. Huawei's custom UI layer EMUI 8.0 changes almost everything of stock OS. Huawei UI experience isn't close to the vanilla version of Android OS instead it looks quite close to iOS. However this year Huawei removed much of the bloatware still it is far away from near stock feeling.

On the other hand, the HTC's Sense UI is also a customer layer over the Android OS but it is quite close to the stock version. HTC brought few refinements to make the Sense UI more useful. It is one of its kind smartphones with three Assistants straight out of the box including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and HTC's Sense.

Last year HTC introduced pressure sensitive edges as Sense Edge which allows the user to perform a number of tasks by simply squeezing the device edges. This year the company bought 2.0 of Edge Sense with a number of new customization features. The new improved version looks far more complete than the earlier version. At the announcement event, HTC discussed their plans for rolling Android P which suggests they are already working on it. So we can expect U12+ will receive Android P earlier than P20 Pro.

Cameras

HTC once again brought the dual rear cameras, however, this time the setup is far better than the last time. The primary sensor is 12MP whereas the secondary sensor is a telephoto sensor of 16MP with f/2.6 aperture and optical zoom up to 2x. The primary sensor pixels size is 1.4µm and aperture is f/1.75. The key aspect of U12+ dual sensors is its prowess to capture images in low-light conditions. As per DxoMark, the U12+ features the second best camera in the market after the Huawei P20 Pro.

The dual front-facing selfie cameras are 8MP modules. Both the front and rear cameras of U12+ can capture portrait mode shots with blurred background. The device is one of the few smartphones with dual cameras on both front and rear side.

The P20 Pro is still the leader in the camera-centric flagship smartphones of this year. So far it is rated as the best camera-centric smartphone in the market by DxoMark. It features triple cameras set up on the rear side, the primary RGB sensor is a 40MP module with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary monochrome sensor is 20MP with f/1.6 aperture. Both the sensors jointly produces amazing results. Apart from these two regular sensors, the P20 Pro has zoom sensor of 8MP with optical zoom up to 3x and f/2.4 aperture. The triple sensors also provide hybrid zoom up to 5x.

Huawei also uses the AI to improve the camera capabilities and scene detection whereas HTC is silent regarding the usage of AI. In most of the scenarios the P20 Pro camera emerge as the winner. All three cameras are Leica certified. Huawei P20 Pro certainly set a new benchmark in the camera department. Up front the selfie camera is 24MP.

Price

Huawei latest flagship is more expensive than HTC's latest flagship. The U12+ is announced at £699 whereas the P20 Pro is one of the expensive smartphones at £799 in the UK. However, the P20 Pro can be grabbed at a slightly lower price tag on special deals. For the US customers, the U12+ will be available for $799 and P20 Pro to cost $899. It is important to mention that Huawei P20 Pro isn't being offered via carriers in the US whereas the U12+ carrier bound variant will be available.

Conclusions:

The P20 Pro and U12+ indeed one of the best flagships in the market. Both the devices have metal chassis with glass covering the rear side. In terms of looks, the P20 Pro looks more attractive than U12+ as it brings new design with futuristic looks. In the display department whether you will get Quad HD+ resolution with the U12+ or AMOLED panel with the P20 Pro. The hardware specs of both the devices are equally good to be amongst the best flagships of this year.

In the camera and battery section, the P20 Pro is the clear winner whereas the U12+ is pre-installed with cleaner software. Last but not the least the P20 pro's price tag and Boomsound speakers will certainly play an important role in choosing which smartphone is better amongst the two.

Feel free to share your thoughts with the fellow readers in the comments section below regarding HTC U12+ vs Huawei P20 Pro. Stay tuned, we will keep you updated.

(last update 15 December 2018 @ 12:03)

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