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Apple iPhone XS Max vs HTC U12 Plus: A stiff competition between two premium phablets

21 November 2018 5


This year Cupertino giant announced three new flagship iPhones including iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the budget-friendly iPhone XR. As expected Apple opted the edge-to-edge design language of iPhone X this year for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus successor. So if you like the last year's iPhone X design but couldn't afford it, this year Apple is offering three different variants with a similar design.

For those who are looking for a budget-friendly option, they can opt iPhone XR. As expected the XR doesn't bring all the goodies of the latest iPhones like dual rear cameras but still, it is better than most of the latest premium phones in the market. The iPhone XS will target those buyers who are looking for a premium flagship phone below 6-inches when every OEM is bringing phones above 6-inches due to bezel-less design trend.

Last but not the least we have the phablet offering iPhone XS Max. It brings almost everything what you expect from a true phablet, however you have to pay heavy bucks to grab this device.

Like always we compared the latest iPhone XS Max against a number of its competitors to know in detail who latest Apple phablet stand up against the competition. As expected the iPhone XS Max emerge as the winner in many confrontations. Today we will put it against the HTC's only flagship of this year U12 Plus. Due to the financial crisis, the Taiwanese giant changed their flagships strategy by releasing only one flagship this year.

It will be an interesting battle to see how latest iPhone XS Max competes against the HTC's U12 Plus. Both are offering gigantic display, top of the line hardware, solid cameras and much more to lure buyers. Without any further delay, let's start with the design of both the devices.

9.3 Hardware
7.1 Price Quality

HTC U12 Plus

Compare Price Alert
Design

Both the phones followed the latest design trend by opting glass and metal sandwich design. The iPhone XS Max retains the bezel-less design like last year's iPhone X. It still looks quite striking with its edge-to-edge finish. The U12 Plus has 2:1 display but still it has a significant bezel on the chin and forehead. Instead of opting regular glass rear, the U12 Plus has Liquid glass rear which looks quite stunning.

The iPhone XS Max chassis is made up of stainless steel whereas the U12 Plus has an aluminum frame. On the rear side, the iPhone XS Max has a dual sensor aligned vertically on the top left corner whereas the U12 Plus dual sensor is horizontally placed in the center with LED flashlight below the sensors. The iPhone XS doesn't have fingerprint scanner instead it comes with Face ID as primary biometric feature whereas the U12 Plus scanner is on the rear side below the sensors.

The glass rear on the U12 Plus is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 whereas the iPhone XS Max comes with scratch resistant glass, the company claims it is the most sturdier glass on any phone in the market. Both the devices attract fingerprint imprints thanks to glass rear.

The U12 Plus dimensions are 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7 mm and weighs 188g whereas the iPhone XS Max is slightly larger at 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm and weighs 208g. Both the phones are IP68 certified which means both can resist under 5 feet deep water for 30 minutes. Unfortunately both the phones lack the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, the U12 Plus relies on the USB-C port for charging and connectivity whereas the iPhone XS comes with a Lightning port. In terms of looks, the iPhone XS Max still looks more modern despite having a year older design.

Display

The display panel on both the devices is different from each other. The U12 Plus comes with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2880 pixels. Its the only aspect where U12 Plus takes lead over the iPhone XS Max. The U12 Plus has a 6.0-inches Super LCD display whereas the iPhone XS Max has slightly larger 6.5-inches OLED panel. The XS Max screen resolution is 1242 x 2688 pixels.

The U12 Plus display pixels density is 537 pixels-per-inch whereas the iPhone XS falls behind with 458 pixels-per-inch. In terms of contrast ratio, colors accuracy and deep blacks the iPhone XS Max has an upper hand due to OLED panel. The iPhone XS Max has a notch at the top of the display whereas the U12 Plus has full bezel at the top of the display. The iPhone XS Max notch can be hidden with a black bar. So it's up to you whether you prefer notch display or full bezel.

Hardware

As far as the hardware is a concern both the devices are packed with different best-in-class processors. Like most of this year's flagship, the U12 Plus is powered up by the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset with 6GB RAM. The base variant has 64GB storage whereas the top of the line model has 128GB storage.

Its native storage is also further expandable via MicroSD. Under the hood, the iPhone XS Max has the new A12 Bionic chipset with the dedicated Neural processing unit. The base variant has 64GB storage whereas the top of the line variant has 512GB storage. It lacks support for memory expansion via MicroSD. As daily drivers both the phones are equally good in handling tasks, HIFI games. In terms of sheer power, the iPhone XS Max certainly has an upper hand.

The A12 Bionic is the first chipset in the market built on the 7nm process whereas the Snapdragon 845 chipset is built on the second gen 10nm process and its successor is due in the next few months. All the benchmarks indicate the A12 Bionic is much faster.

Specs iPhone XS Max U12 Plus
Display 6.5-inches 6.0-inches
Screen resolution 1242 x 2688 pixels 1440 x 2880 pixels
Chipset A12 Bionic Snapdragon 845
RAM 4GB 6GB
Storage 64,256,512GB Non-Expandable 64,128GB Expandable via MicroSD
Rear cameras Dual 12MP 12+16MP
Front camera 7MP Dual 8MP
USB Lightning port Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No No
IP68 Yes Yes
OS iOS 12 Android Oreo
Battery

The U12 Plus lights are kept on by a 3,500mAH battery whereas the iPhone XS Max has slightly smaller 3,174mAH battery. Both the phones support fast charging, however, the technology is different. Another important aspect is A12 Bionic chipset is more power efficient than the U12 Plus chipset.

The iPhone XS Max isn't shipped with fast charger straight out of the box instead you will have to purchase it separately. Despite having glass rear the U12 Plus lacks support for wireless charging whereas the iPhone XS Max brings wireless charging support. ​

Camera

Both the HTC U12 Plus and iPhone XS Max has dual sensors on the rear side. The U12 Plus primary rear snapper is 12MP with f/1.75 aperture whereas the secondary sensor is a 16MP telephoto sensor with f/2.6 aperture. The secondary sensor provides optical zoom up to 2x and portrait mode shots to capture blurred background images.

On the other hand, the iPhone XS Max has dual 12MP sensors on the rear side. The primary sensor is 12MP with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary sensor is a telephoto 12MP sensor with 2x optical zoom. The phone not only captured amazing portrait shots but also it allows the user to add blur effects even after the shots are captured. Despite having same megapixels sensors the iPhone XS Max comes with new sensors and updated software to enhance the capturing experience.

Both the phones are capable to shot 4K videos at 60 frames per second. You can also record Full HD videos at 240 frames per second. The camera prowess and better hardware make the iPhone XS Max a better camera phone.

Up front, the iPhone XS Max has single snapper of 7MP whereas the U12 Plus has dual 8MP sensors. The secondary sensor provides support for portrait shots. The iPhone XS Max also comes with 3D facial recognition AKA Face ID which isn't available for HTC U12 Plus.

Software

It's obvious the HTC phone is running on the Android OS whereas the Apple iPhone is on the iOS. We will not discuss which OS is better but there are few differentiating aspects between the two. The Android-running phones are more customizable, you can add third-party launchers, new widgets and much more. On the other hand, the iOS device can't be customized with third-party launchers and so on. Another important aspect is iPhone XS Max will receive a new update soon after the announcement whereas the U12 Plus owners will have to wait months for the new update.

The U12 Plus was announced with the Android Oreo with the company's custom UI skin over it. Although the Android Oreo is out for quite some time the company yet to roll out the update. The iPhone XS Max is pre-installed with the latest iOS 12. Due to the latest version of OS and longer updates cycle the iPhone XS Max takes lead here.

Price

As far as pricing is a concern both the phones are way different from each other. The U12 Plus base model can be purchased at $799 whereas the iPhone XS Max starts at $1099. If you are looking for an Android flagship and wants to save money the U12 Plus could be your next flagship companion whereas the iPhone XS Max is one of the most expensive phones in the market. In terms of availability, the iPhone XS Max is more widely available as opposed to U12 Plus.

Conclusion:

The iPhone XS Max and U12 Plus are certainly the latest best offering from respective companies. The iPhone XS Max takes lead with its edge-to-edge design, OLED display, solid dual 12MP sensors, the latest version of iOS and wireless charging. On the other hand, the U12 Plus is offering solid hardware, stylish design, LCD panel with better screen resolution and last but not least an affordable price tag. So if you are not interested in the extra goodies of iPhone XS Max, the U12 Plus is a pretty good option.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts in the comments section below regarding the Apple iPhone XS Max vs HTC U12 Plus. Which smartphone amongst the two you like to have as your next daily driver? Do share your thoughts with fellow readers and stay tuned for more comparisons in coming days.

(last update 13 December 2018 @ 10:18)

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