HTC U12 Life: First look and unboxing

Does this phone breath life into the budget smartphone market?


HTC’s U12 Life is the Taiwanese manufacturer’s mid-range smartphone. But at Dh1,300, it is a steep ask considering its competition. While this is not retail packaging, let’s dive into what you should expect with the device.

HTC U12 Life – Box contents

With our box, we got some voucher codes for the Play Store alongside the phone in the blue finish. Alongside this, there is a charging brick that does not support fast charging, a USB-C charging cable and a pair of 3.5mm jack headphones.

Our HTC U12 Life came in a box that was well presented

While there is no inclusion of documentation or an extra case for protection, the retail packaging may have it.

HTC U12 Life – First impressions

In the hand, the HTC U12 Life doesn’t feel very premium. It is made from plastic and there is a sense of a Google Pixel design to it. The dual texture at the back is refreshing but that is about it. The power button on the side is textured which shows HTC put some thought into design but it is not tactile and feels mushy.

The 6.0-inch display up front lacks sharpness

Like HTC’s flagship offering, the U12 Life doesn’t come with a notch. There is a fair amount of bezel to the 6.0-inch display. In spite of it being a 1080p panel, it is not very sharp with below par viewing angles. This is a shame considering the dual-speakers on the phone are quite good although not BoomSound level.

HTC’s dual speaker implementation is good but not BoomSound quality

When it comes to software, the phone is running Android 8.1 with HTC’s Sense UI. The beauty of it is that it is not very bloated and resembles stock Android on various occasions. The light nature of the software means the phone should see updates quickly and one such update was ready to go right as I unboxed the phone.

With HTC opting for a less bloated skin, much of the operating system is clean and resembles stock Android barring a few touches

In terms of hardware, the phone ticks on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 636 octa-core CPU alongside 4GB RAM. From initial use, I saw a few stutters in animation but nothing that seemed like a deal breaker.


As a budget phone, the HTC U12 Life doesn’t set the best first impressions. But considering it has a dual 16/5MP setup and a large 3600mAh battery which are yet to be fully tested, it may be able to redeem itself in a more detailed look.