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HTC U12 Life vs U11 Life: An in-house competition

09 September 2018 5

The Taiwanese giant HTC is back with another mid-range smartphone U12 Life. Back at the U12 Plus announcement, HTC already confirmed there will be only one flagship smartphone this year. That is why HTC announced the U12 Plus at the event instead of regular U12. After a long delay, the company is back once again with a new smartphone. The latest U12 Life falls in the mid-range segment to lure those buyers who are looking for a solid daily driver but don't want to spend hefty amounts on it.

Being the latest mid-range smartphone from HTC, the U12 Life certainly will not only lure new buyers but also the owners of U11 Life. The new U12 Life brings the upgrade in almost all departments including design, display, battery, software, hardware, and even price tag. With the U12 Life, the company tried to be more competitive in the mid-range segment.

Like always we will compare the latest smartphone with its predecessor to know in detail the goodies it is bringing on board to lure customers. So if you are amongst those users who already owned the U11 Life and now looking forward to grabbing U12 Life. Let's have a look out the real differences and similarities between the two devices so that you easily decide which smartphone is better in what aspects.

75.4 x 158.5 x 8.3 mm
6 inches - 2160x1440 px
72.9 x 149.09 x 8.1 mm
5.2 inches - 1920x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

The best thing about the HTC's mid-range smartphones design is an attractive design. Despite the fact, the Life series smartphones don't fall in the premium category but still, the company brings a special finish. The U12 Life chassis is made up of metal with glass covering the rear side. Unlike the regular glass finish, HTC brings laser etching with horizontal lines. For sure it looks and feels different than other smartphones of this niche.

On the other hand, HTC U11 Life was featuring metal chassis with the plastic rear. Last year HTC introduced Liquid surface finish with the flagship U11. The company opted the same finish for the mid-ranger U11 Life, however, the main difference was plastic rear instead of glass. In terms of looks both the devices are quite different from each other, the U12 Life looks more premium than the predecessor.

The fingerprint scanner on the U12 Life is below the camera sensor on the rear side whereas the U11 Life's fingerprint scanner is embedded on the front-facing side below the physical home button. The U12 Life has on-screen navigation buttons. The U11 Life is an IP67 certified device which means it can resist under 1-meter deep water for 30 minutes without any damage whereas the U12 Life is splash proof which means you can't take it with you during swimming.

The U11 Life lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack instead it comes with a USB-C adopter, the U12 Life brings back the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. The laser-etched rear of U12 Life doesn't attract fingerprint whereas the U11 Life is not only glossy but also it attracts fingerprint smudges.

Overall the U12 Life is slightly taller at 158.5 x 75.4 x 8.3 mm whereas the U11 Life measures 149.09 x 72.9 x 8.1 mm. The U12 Life is also heavier at 175 grams as compared to U11 Life's 142 grams.

Display

Unlike most of the latest smartphones both the devices lack notch at the top of the display. Thanks to the reduced bezels from the top and bottom, the U12 Life brings a larger 6.0-inches LPTS LCD display with Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 2:1 and the pixels density is 402 pixels-per-inch. Due to the front-facing scanner, the U11 Life features a significantly smaller display of 5.2-inches. Its a Super LCD display with Full HD screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 16:9 and the pixels density is 424 pixels-per-inch.

The U11 Life display is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass but the company didn't confirm the protection for the U12 Life's display. It remains to be seen how buyers response to U12 Life complete bezel design when most of the OEMs not only bringing notch but also adopting new water droplet ultra thin notch.

Cameras

Following the latest trend, the U12 Life features dual cameras setup on the rear side. The dual rear cameras are 16MP+5MP sensors with f/2.0 aperture. Thanks to dual rear cameras, the U12 Life owners can enjoy the portrait mode shots with bokeh effects. Considering the aperture and pixels size, the U12 Life works fine in stable lightening conditions, however, the results are not the best in low-light scenarios. The dual rear sensors are digitally stabilized and accompanied with dual LED flashlight.


The U11 Life features a single 16MP sensor on the rear side with f/2.0 aperture. Due to single rear snapper, the U11 Life lacks the support for portrait shots. The front-facing selfie snapper on the U12 Life is 13MP sensor whereas the U11 Life has a 16MP sensor. Overall camera results of both the devices aren't the best in class, however better than most of the mid-rangers in the market.

Hardware

Under the hood, the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 636 SoC is powering the U12 Life. The Octa-core chipset has Kryo 260 power efficient cores with max clocking at 1.6Ghz whereas the performance cores Kryo 260 clocks at 1.8Ghz. The chipset is accompanied with 4GB RAM and built-in native storage is 64GB. It supports memory expansion up to 512GB using MicroSD. The Adreno 509 is on board as graphics processing unit.

The U11 Life is powered up by the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 chipset. Its an Octa-core chipset with Cortex-A53 power efficient cores with max clocking 1.8Ghz whereas the performance Cortex-A53 cores max clocking speed is 2.2Ghz. There are two variants based on the RAM and storage. The entry-level variant has 3GB RAM and 32GB storage whereas the top of the line model has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Both the variants native storage is expandable via MicroSD. The Adreno 508 takes care of graphics.

In terms of sheer performance both the devices are solid mid-rangers, both have enough juice to handle all daily driver tasks smoothly. HTC claims the U12 Life latest hardware brings 40% improvement in the performance as opposed to the predecessor.

Specs HTC U12 Life HTC U11 Life
Display 6.0-inches 5.2-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels 1080 x 1920 pixels
Chipset Snapdragon 636 Snapdragon 630
RAM 4GB 3,4GB
Storage 64GB Expandable via MicroSD 32,64GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear camera 16+5MP 16MP
Front camera 13MP 16MP
USB Type-C Type-C
Battery 3,600mAh 2,600mAh
IP67 No Yes
OS Android Oreo 8.1 Android Oreo updated

Software

The overall UI experience on both the devices is significantly different. The U11 Life was announced in two variants, One with the stock Android One software whereas the second variant has HTC Sense software. However this year HTC only introduced the HTC's Sense variant.

The U12 Life UI experience isn't as clean as the stock Android OS but still, HTC removed much of the bloatware to bring a cleaner UI. Despite having HTC Sense UI, the U12 Life lacks support for squeezable frame AKA Edge Sense. The U12 Life is pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.1 with Sense UI layer over it. On the other hand the U11 Life was announced with Android Nougat, later on, it received the Android Oreo 8.0 update.

Battery

One of the biggest upgrades with the U12 Life is indeed the battery cell. The latest device comes with a fairly large 3,600mAh cell as opposed to 2,600mAH on the U11 Life. So if you are not happy with the U11 Life battery life, the U12 Life certainly brings enough juice to easily last more than one day on single charge.

Thanks to more power efficient chipset, the better display we can expect the U12 Life will last significantly longer than the predecessor. For connectivity both the devices have USB-C port and both support fast charging as well.

Price

Usually, the successor variant price tag is slightly higher or at least same as the predecessor but that's not the case here. To ensure the U12 Life can challenge the existing big players in the segment, the company reduced the price tag. The U12 Life will be available at £299 in the UK whereas the European buyers can grab it at €349.

Just for the sake of reminder, the U11 Life was announced at £349 in the UK and €369 for the Europeans. The U12 Life price tag makes it an attractive option considering the Nokia 7 Plus is available at £349.

Conclusion:

Both the U12 Life and U11 Life are one of the best mid-rangers but the U11 Life was not amongst the stylish devices. HTC retained the 16:9 display when almost all OEMs were introducing devices with 2:1 display. This year when Chinese OEMs are relying heavily on a notch design, HTC relied on the complete bezels design. So it would be interesting how buyers response to a 2:1 display smartphone with complete bezels.

In terms of power and storage both are pretty much up to the mark. The U11 Life one of the best aspects was stock Android experience whereas the U12 Life brings a gigantic battery cell to ensure the device last longer on a single charge. Last but not the least the decrease in pricing will certainly play an important role here. Those who consider U11 Life an expensive mid-range choice, the U12 Life emerged as a better value for money.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts in the comments section below regarding the U12 Life vs U11 Life. Stay tuned for more comparisons.

(last update 08 December 2018 @ 15:58)

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