But just how different is it really? Certainly, at first glance there are a number of similarities, but there are a lot of changes too, both visual and not.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to how the two phones compare, covering their design, display, power, camera, battery and more, so you can decide for yourself whether the U12 Plus’s name is justified.
- Read our hands on: HTC U12 Plus review
HTC U12 Plus vs HTC U11 design
The HTC U12 Plus has more visually in common with the HTC U11 Plus than the standard HTC U11, but that’s perhaps no surprise.
The U12 Plus has a glass back in Flame Red, Translucent Blue or Ceramic Black, along with a metal frame and slim bezels above and below the display, but no notch.
That general description could also apply to the HTC U11, except that phone comes in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White or Solar Red and has larger bezels above and below the screen. That’s due in part to the fingerprint scanner being on the front, while for the HTC U12 Plus it’s on the back.
The exact dimensions of the HTC U12 Plus come in at 156.6 x 73. 9 x 8.7-9.7mm, so it's barely any bigger than the 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm HTC U11, despite having a much bigger screen (which we’ll cover below). The smaller bezels presumably helped there.
Both phones have water resistance, but to different degrees. The HTC U11 is IP67 certified, meaning it can be submerged up to 1 meter deep in water for up to 30 minutes, while the HTC U12 Plus beats it with IP68 certification, meaning it can be dunked up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes.
Also, while not super obvious at a glance, both phones have dual BoomSound speakers. These are split between the top and bottom of the phones with one speaker focused on treble and the other on bass.
We’ll let you know how well the HTC U12 Plus’s perform when we’ve fully put them to the test, but we quite liked the HTC U11’s in our review, though noted that it was easy to accidentally cover them.
HTC U12 Plus vs HTC U11 display
With the HTC U12 Plus you get a 6-inch 1440 x 2880 Super LCD6 display, while the HTC U11 has a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 Super LCD5 screen. So the screen on the HTC U12 Plus is larger and slightly higher resolution, yet as noted above it’s not much bigger in the hand, thanks to smaller bezels.
You’ll have to wait for our full review to see whether the quality of the HTC U12 Plus’s screen is better, but while the HTC U11’s generally impressed in our review, we’d expect at least slight improvements from the HTC U12 Plus.
Hopefully if nothing else it’s a bit brighter, as we found both the HTC U11 and HTC U11 Plus to be slightly dimmer than we’d like.
HTC U12 Plus vs HTC U11 OS and power
The HTC U12 Plus has an octa-core Snapdragon 845 chipset and 6GB of RAM, which is a truly top-end spec combo. The HTC U11 meanwhile has an octa-core Snapdragon 835 chipset and either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, which was a top-end spec back in 2017 but is now slightly more dated.
Only slightly though, as the HTC U11 should still be a very solid performer, but on paper at any rate the HTC U12 Plus has it beat. We’ll let you know just how speedy the new phone really is once we’ve had more time with it.
The two phones both come with a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage and a microSD card slot, so there’s no difference there.
They also both run Android 8.0, however you can expect the HTC U12 Plus to be supported with updates for longer.
And they both have Edge Sense, which lets you squeeze the sides of the phone to activate certain features, such as launching Google Assistant, or taking a photo when you’re in the camera app.
However, Edge Sense has been tweaked a bit for the HTC U12, as for example a new double-tap option makes it easier to use with one hand.
HTC U12 Plus vs HTC U11 camera and battery
The camera on the HTC U12 Plus is a big change from the one on the HTC U11, as while the HTC U11 has just a single-lens rear camera, the HTC U12 Plus has a dual-lens one.
Specifically, it has both a 12MP UltraPixel 4 wide-angle lens with an f/1.75 aperture and a 16MP lens with an f/2.6 aperture, capable of 2x optical zoom. The U12 Plus can also record 4K video at 60fps and 1080p slow motion video at 240fps.
The HTC U11 on the other hand has a single-lens 12MP f/1.7 UltraPixel 3 camera. So that’s a bit like one of the lenses on the U12 Plus, but its video recording skills top out at 4K at 30fps. Both phones have optical image stabilization though.
But as well as an extra lens on the back, the HTC U12 Plus also has an extra lens on the front, with an f/2.0 aperture. This camera pair lets you create a bokeh effect and adjust the level of background blur both in real time and after taking a photo. The HTC U11 meanwhile has just a single-lens camera again, specifically a 16MP f/2.0 one.
As for the battery, that’s been seemingly given a boost on the HTC U12 Plus, as the new phone has a 3,500mAh one, while the HTC U11 has a much smaller 3,000mAh one. However, neither phone supports wireless charging.
We’ll let you know how long the U12 Plus’s battery lasts when we’ve reviewed it, but the U11 for its part lasts around a day of moderate use. The extra size of the battery in the HTC U12 Plus will hopefully help it last longer, but don’t forget that it has a bigger screen to power.
HTC U12 Plus vs HTC U11 price and availability
The HTC U12 Plus is available to pre-order from today, with prices starting at $799 for a 64GB model and rising to $849 for a 128GB version in the US. In the UK prices start at £699, and there aren't any details on Australian prices or availability yet.
The HTC U11 for comparison launched at $649 / £649 / AU$999, so it was a bit cheaper than the U12 Plus, especially in the US, and of course it's since dropped in price, so it's a lot cheaper now, especially in the UK, where it can be picked up from around £500.
Based on the specs, the ‘Plus’ in the HTC U12’s name seems justified. It has a bigger screen, a bigger battery, a faster chipset and twice the cameras of the HTC U11, while smaller improvements include better waterproofing and a seemingly refined design.
There are very few areas that don’t seem to have been changed – and hopefully bettered – in some way on the HTC U12 Plus, so it’s off to a promising start.
How well all these changes will come together and whether they’re enough for it to stand out amongst other 2018 flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro, are questions we’ll answer in our full review, but you can see that HTC has put the work in to make this at least stand out from the U11 and U11 Plus.
- The OnePlus 6 is a slightly more affordable alternative to the U12 Plus