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HTC’s U12 Life brings back the headphone jack with a two-tone design

HTC’s U12 Life brings back the headphone jack with a two-tone design

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Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

HTC is announcing a “lite” version of the HTC U12 Plus flagship today. The HTC U12 Life is a mid-range smartphone that’s more of a successor to the U11 Life from last year, than a U12 Plus at a lower price point. HTC is using a 6-inch FHD+ (2160 x 1080) display this year, with a 18:9 aspect ratio and 1500:1 contrast ratio. While most phone makers are pushing towards notches, HTC is avoiding them once again with the U12 Life, but the company has shrunk the bezels at the bottom and top of the display somewhat.

The most obvious changes over last year’s model can be found in the design. HTC is shipping the U12 Life in two color options: twilight purple and moonlight blue. The blue variant will be the mainstream color choice, and in sunlight it’s designed to turn into a more blackish color thanks to the two-tone design. Likewise, the purple model is supposed to turn more silver in sunlight. HTC is using a dual finish on the U12 Life that means the bottom section of the rear has a less slippery plastic feel, while the upper third has a mirrored and shiny aesthetic. It reminds me a lot of HTC’s two-tone color scheme from its 8S handset back in 2012.

HTC is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor inside, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (a 128GB model will also be available in Taiwan). The U12 Life will also support dual-SIM or the ability to use a microSD card in one of the SIM slots. The Snapdragon 636 should offer around 40 percent improved processor performance over the Snapdragon 630 in the U11 Life, and 10 percent better graphics performance. The phone is powered by a sizable 3,600mAh battery.

HTC’s U12 Life also includes a dual-camera setup. There’s a 16-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel one at the rear, but unlike the U12 Plus the front-facing camera is limited to a single 13-megapixel sensor. Both the front and rear cameras have f/2.0 aperture lenses. HTC has added a LED flash and HDR support to the front-facing camera for improved selfies in low light.

Elsewhere, the U12 Life also includes stereo speakers and a headphone jack. HTC says the company was able to bring the headphone jack back as the larger 6-inch display meant there was more space for it and it didn’t need to make a design tradeoff. Unfortunately, the U12 Life will ship with Android 8.1 and not the latest Android 9 (Pie) release, and it won’t be an Android One device. That means it will also include HTC’s Sense customizations, which consist of a light skin on top of stock Android and a handful of HTC apps.

HTC is pricing the U12 Life at less than half the price of the U12 Plus, which means consumers will be able to pick one up for £299 (349 euros) when it’s available in Europe in late September. Unlike last year’s U11 Life, HTC isn’t planning on bringing the U12 Life to the US, however.