HTC Desire 12 and Desire 12+ marry mid-range specs with good looks

Offering high-end internals is only one of the ways to motivate customers to buy a particular smartphone. HTC is betting on a fancy finish to spark purchases of its new mid-range Desire 12 and Desire 12+ handsets. The new phones' headlining feature is the "acrylic glass" body that mimics the look of the company's glass-finished U11 phones but purportedly offers increased shatter resistance. Let's take a deeper look.

HTC Desire 12 (left) and Desire 12+ (right)

Both models' screens share a 1440×720 resolution and a math teacher-infuriating 18:9 aspect ratio. The regular Desire 12's display measures 5.5" (14 cm) diagonally and the 12+ pumps it up to 6" (15.2 cm). Their screens' side bezels look pretty small—a nod to the edge-to-edge displays found on current crop of flagship phones.

The Desire 12 gets a MediaTek Helio MT6739 four-core ARM Cortex-A53 SoC and 2 GB or 3 GB of system memory. Graphics horsepower comes by way of a PowerVR GE8100 graphics processor. Buyers can choose between versions with either 16 GB or 32 GB of onboard storage capacity. The fancier Desire 12+ swaps out the MediaTek chip for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 with eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores churning at up to 1.8 GHz. The SoC's Adreno 506 GPU handles pixel-pushing duties. The plus-labeled handset gets gets 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage as standard.

HTC Desire 12

The surprisingly-significant differences between the Desire 12 and the 12+ continue on their camera setups. The Desire 12's out-facing camera is a 13-megapixel number, while the Desire 12+ adds a second 2-MP sensor for adding bokeh effects to photos. The self-portrait cameras are also different. The regular Desire 12 gets a 5-MP snapper and the 12+ ups the ante with an 8-MP unit. Both phones' cameras have a face-detection feature.

HTC Desire 12+

Both phones get headphone jacks to go along with their Micro-USB ports. If the integrated flash storage isn't enough, users can fit microSD cards as large as 2 TB. The back of the Desire 12+ is decked out with a fingerprint sensor. Despite the very different SoCs, both models have the same Cat.4 LTE capability. The Desire 12 has a 2730-mAh battery and the larger phone gets a 2956-mAh pack.

The manufacturer says the Desire 12+ will run "Android 8.0 with HTC Sense." There's no OS version info for the Desire 12 other than it runs Android. The company's silence on the software front coupled with the big gulf in hardware specs between the models suggests the Desire 12 could be stuck with Android Nougat.

HTC was coy about pricing and availability for the Desire 12 and Desire 12+. The company reportedly let on to Engadget that dollar figures and available finishes would vary by region. GSMArena says the Desire 12+ should go for between 235€ and 249€ in Europe (about $240 to $254 without VAT), and that the lower-end Desire 12 should set buyers back 185€ to 199€ ($188 to $203).

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]and a math teacher-infuriating 18:9 aspect ratio[/quote<] Like a billion times this. Thank you, that joke really made the whole article. Well done!!

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 2 years ago

    Not a lot of surprises in phones. Thin. Fragile. Small batteries. Wannabe fancy glass and curved screens. Wannabe rich looking.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    These midrange phones are where it’s at. They provide plenty of performance and quality for today, they match the previous-gen flagships, and you won’t cry a river when you drop your $800+ fragile glass-backed phone with ridiculously easy-to-crack curved screens that are basically [i<]designed[/i<] so that they're guaranteed to land on a glass corner.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      The only reason I see to buy a flagship phone these days is for the camera. Unfortunately you can’t get the best camera without paying for all the other nonsense.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 2 years ago

        Yes, a real camera! I want to see something brave, a phone in which they add thickness for optics and battery. Screw these spineless follow-the-trend phones.

          • Anovoca
          • 2 years ago

          Say hello to your friend Moto:


            • Anonymous Coward
            • 2 years ago

            Wow, had no idea someone made something like that. Probably lost some money on it. 🙂

            Still, I was thinking of something integrated and with a “prime” lens, as in Nokia 808. (Which I have one of, so this isn’t idle talk.) I just missed the Nokia 1020 when it was time to buy a work phone, got a 920 instead, so close and yet so far.

            • frenchy2k1
            • 2 years ago

            This is an add-on.
            The full camera phone was this one:
            [url<][/url<] Getting a bit old now (as cell phones go), but the camera is still quite relevant.

      • mczak
      • 2 years ago

      There is, however, nothing midrange about the Desire 12 SoC. This is a bottom-of-the-barrel chip. The good news though is it’s at least a new bottom-of-the-barrel chip (in fact it’s so new that this is the first phone announced with it), and it probably isn’t too bad. However, performance won’t be even close to previous-gen flagship chips (unless “previous gen” would include 5 year old chips).
      It is actually an interesting chip (first with the new PowerVR 8XE Series gpu, albeit the slowest configuration), but not even MediaTek would dare to call it midrange, it is a chip I would more expect in a ~100$ phone.
      The SoC in the Desire 12+ should be a bit better, but it’s still not really midrange (with the SD 660, you’d have a point of it matching last gen highend, but the SD 450 definitely isn’t there).

        • strangerguy
        • 2 years ago

        Nothing in this HTC lineup is gonna stop Europeans from parallel importing far better specs per dollar Xiaomi phones from China.

          • Chz
          • 2 years ago

          It’s not as pretty, but the Xiaomi Mi A1 trounces them in all measurable ways and gets the monthly Android security patches to boot. I swore off HTC due to their abhorrent update policies, even though I was (at the time, several years back) rather fond of Sense.

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