HTC Desire 12 and 12 Plus launch with 'new-retro' features at a lower cost

Update: The HTC Desire 12 Plus is now available in the UK for £199 (around $265 / AU$350) in Cool Black and Warm Silver. Original story and full details below.

HTC has unveiled the Desire 12 and 12 Plus, two phones that bring the new, longer 18:9 screen format at a lower cost.

The Desire 12 has a 5.5-inch screen with less bezel around the side, and offers a single 13MP sensor on the rear of the phone, with an f/2.2 aperture sensor. 

It's got 2GB of RAM with 16GB of onboard storage, or 3GB if you go for the 32GB capacity, and both variants are capable of handling up to 2TB micro SD cards.

Inside is a MediaTek quad-core CPU, which hints at a lower cost for the phone, as does the fact the HTC Desire 12 screen is only a 5.5-inch HD panel.

That means a resolution of 720 x 1440, and it's a long way from the QHD of the top-end Samsung Galaxy S9, for instance.

The HTC Desire 12

The HTC Desire 12

The HTC Desire 12 Plus pumps things up a little, and will clearly be the more expensive of the two, although has the same lower resolution, and still doesn't cost much at £199 (around $265 / AU$350).

The main change is to the camera on the rear of the phone, with the 13MP sensor joined by a 2MP option, designed to give some background blur bokeh effects.

It's a hint to the past here, where HTC was one of the first brands out there to bring dual sensors to the market, with the HTC One M8 offering the same depth perception.

The retro twist doesn't stop there on these phones, as both will have a similar acrylic glass rear to the HTC U11, although stop short of using the same Liquid Glass technique that made those phones look so stunning.

The HTC Desire 12+ is also running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 CPU under the hood, with slightly more grunt being fed into the handset. Whether that's the reason the Desire 12 Plus is running Android Oreo and the smaller Desire 12 an unknown version of Android remains to be seen, though.

We don't yet know what the HTC Desire 12 will cost, but in the UK at least the HTC Desire 12 Plus is now available for £199 (around $265 / AU$350) in Cool Black and Warm Silver shades.

That's a lower price than we expected and the standard HTC Desire 12 will presumably be cheaper still.

When you'll be able to get your hands on that phone (or on the 12 Plus if you're outside the UK) is still anyone's guess, with pricing and regional availability still to be confirmed, but we'd expect a wider roll out for the Desire 12 Plus and a launch for the HTC Desire 12 to start soon.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.