HTC Desire 12 Plus review

Cheap and cheerful, but so is the competition

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In keeping with its ancestors, the HTC Desire 12 Plus offers good performance on a budget, but there's nothing truly awe-inspiring here. The screen is 720p, the chipset is workmanlike rather than blazing fast and the camera setup can often be frustrating to use due to its slow shutter speed.

However, when you're paying less than £200 (around $265 / AU$350) for a smartphone in 2018, you have to expect these shortcomings. On the plus side, the phone looks attractive even if it doesn't use premium materials, battery life is decent and the ability to add more storage via microSD cards is welcome.

HTC's approach to Android is also a breath of fresh air, as it hasn't pre-installed loads of annoying bloatware and it wisely chooses to avoid duplicating services that Google already offers.

Who's this for?

HTC's standing in the mobile industry may have flagged in recent years but the company still has a reputation for quality, and if you've been happy with HTC handsets in the past then there's little reason why you'd feel let down by the Desire 12 Plus.

It offers a big-screen experience on a budget and – when it works – can capture some really striking 'Bokeh' effect images with its dual-camera setup. Combine this with a stylish design and a bloat-free UI, and you've got the perfect phone for youngsters or those who simply want a device for smartphone basics.

Those sticking to a tight budget will also find it a solid purchase, but it's worth being aware that there are more powerful and capable Android phones on the market for roughly the same price.

Should you buy it?

If you're only really bothered about having a phone which has acceptable stamina, a big screen and doesn't look cheap and nasty, then you'll be as pleased as punch with the Desire 12 Plus.

However, if you're keen to get as much value for money as possible and value things like a nippy camera and a Full HD display, then you'd be better off looking elsewhere, or perhaps putting a little more money towards getting a more capable phone.

The HTC Desire 12 Plus is a good phone for the money, but the following handsets are decent alternatives.

Honor 9 Lite

This cheap and cheerful handset is perfect for casual mobile users, and boasts a decent camera and an eye-catching design. Its biggest shortcoming is the rather overbearing custom UI.

Nokia 6 (2017)

This budget blower has stock Android, strong photography skills, a great design and better speakers than the HTC Desire 12 Plus, but suffers when it comes to battery life.

Moto G5 Plus

The Moto G range is seen by many as the king of the budget Android sector, and you can see why with the Moto G5 Plus, as it has a premium build and good specs that make it hard to resist, but the camera is slightly underwhelming.

First reviewed: July 2018