back to article HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

"There will be no HTC U12," the man from HTC told journalists in briefings ahead of the launch of this year's flagship. "And no U12++." Company executives stressed that, for 2018, there would be just one flagship, and the HTC U12+ was it. HTC may be advised to revisit that statement. Why? The HTC U12+ is a sleek, powerful and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usual errors

    "As is the norm, unfortunately these can only be hidden"

    When you disable an app, you remove it's execute permission, you aren't hiding it from the launcher, you are making sure it, can't can run even in the background, and it cant be executed, or itself execute anything else. Aside from the storage space it takes up, it's as good as removed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Usual errors

      "Aside from the storage space it takes up, it's as good as removed."

      Not sure if semantics has evolved over the last decade, but if something still takes up storage space, it's NOT removed. Just because something is hidden or disabled doesn't mean it's removed.

      1. Chewi
        Headmaster

        Re: Usual errors

        "Not sure if semantics has evolved over the last decade, but if something still takes up storage space, it's NOT removed. Just because something is hidden or disabled doesn't mean it's removed."

        Assuming these apps are on the /system partition (which they probably are) then you wouldn't be able to use that space, even if they were removed, at least without rooting. On the plus side, disabling them does prevent further space being taken up by (non-firmware) updates, which are not applied to /system.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Usual errors

        Just because something is hidden or disabled doesn't mean it's removed

        Or that it can't be re-enabled by a future update? I'm sure I had this some years ago; disabled apps re-enabling themselves. Is that still possible?

        Since then I've used Cyanogenmod and LineageOS...

        M.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Usual errors

          Got phone, uninstalled faceshit, update comes along, installs activates and disables uninstall

          What is left on it to spy on me?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Usual errors

            Disabled apps aren't updated and dont magically reenabke themselves either. For a technology blog, there are alotnof technology illiterate people here..

            And "disabled" is far closer to "removed" than it is to just "hidden"...

            It's non visible, non executable, non updatable..

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Usual errors

              Do you really trust faceache to FULLY disable and not do a thing?

              I don't. Just why did they go to the hassle of force install just to allow full disable?

  2. Little Mouse

    Deja Vu

    Remember when all car ads from the 90's were the same? Just a long list of the optional features, that all the competitors also had? Air con! Central locking! Power steering! Electric windows! Yawn*

    We've definitely reached that point now with phones.

    *(These persisted for far too long despite a spot-on piss-take, possibly voiced by Hugh Laurie. "It has windows you can see through, and Doors, so you can get in and out...")

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      HTC ??

      Last time I heard of HTC was in 2011 when their HTC Desire lost to Samsung Galaxy S2.

      HTC used to be biggest Android seller (2009 - 2011) before Samsung got big (2011+). Since then HTC is an underdog.

  3. onefang Silver badge
    FAIL

    "Fewer moving parts should make for a more reliable phone."

    I'm only at the beginning of reading the article, but I had to comment on this. Replacing physical buttons with haptic feedback isn't fewer moving parts. How do you think the make the phone vibrate? Hint, it involves something that moves quickly enough to be felt as vibrations. It would move much more to fake a button push, than a button push would.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Except that the phone will have a vibrate function already so you're using an existing mechanical device to cover the removal of the external mechanical devices.

  4. onefang Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Still on the first page. lol

    "This is a phone that knows it's being held – and what's on so it won't rotate or dim during a video, if you're holding it (you can turn this off)."

    But what if you are holding it wrong?

    I know, I know, that's Apple, but it's such a wonderful meme, someone had to say it.

    Paris, coz I wouldn't hold her wrong.

  5. Spoonsinger

    It's about time...

    we had phones with less clean design and with more knobs and levers.

  6. onefang Silver badge

    I don't think I spotted this in the review, but is the battery user removable?

    1. Chz

      It's 2018. The phone market has moved to sealed phones being the standard. Is there is a removable battery, as some phones still have, it would be pointed out as a USP.

      1. gotes

        IP67, glass back and as the other commenter pointed out, it's 2018, I would say no.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Then no sale for me. Inability to remove bulging batteries constitutes planned obsolescence (not to mention a fire risk). That's why I stubbornly stick to Note 4's.

          1. Portent

            I'm the same... I strongly prefer a phone without a removable battery. My last phone as a Lenovo P2 which has a fantastic battery. But I just grabbed a used LG V20 and a few new batteries instead. That should last me a few years until battery technology improves enough.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's IP68

          1. DougS Silver badge

            No real difference between IP67 & IP68

            IP67 means 30 minutes submersion in water up to 1 meter, IP68 means 30 minutes submersion in water over 1 meter (the manufacturer is supposed to say what depth)

            I suppose theoretically if it could handle 3 meters it could survive a drop in the pool but I doubt the extra water pressure would harm a typical IP67 phone if you went in after it quickly - though in either case the chlorine (or salt in the ocean) is a potential issue the IP ratings are silent on since it is "fresh water" only.

    2. Dr Stephen Jones

      You can stop crying now onefang, removable batteries aren’t coming back.

      (Although like you I wish they would)

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "You can stop crying now onefang, removable batteries aren’t coming back."

        They've never gone away. There are plenty of phones with removable covers in other parts of the world. It's just the headliners that insist on planned obsolescence. I'm surprised there hasn't been a bigger push to mandate removable batteries after the Note 7 debacle: probably because those batteries were actually new and non-bulging.

  7. SkippyBing Silver badge

    40 Year Old Lesson?

    When the F-16 was introduced the side stick controller didn't move, it just sensed the pressure the pilot was applying. This was so universally disliked that it was replaced with a more conventional moving part fairly early on. Who knew four decades later phone companies would be relearning the lesson...

    1. E_Nigma
      Trollface

      Re: 40 Year Old Lesson?

      Apparently, that's how long it takes for technology to make its way form military jets to consumer electronics.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: 40 Year Old Lesson?

        "Apparently, that's how long it takes for technology to make its way form military jets to consumer electronics."

        Actually it's normally the other way round. The approval process on military technology is very long, and so by the time it's flying it is long out of date in technology terms. A figure I've seen quoted is around a decade at the design level, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit based on experience.

        But the Chinese consumer industry is relatively young and so is going to recycle ideas that never made it to commercial production in the West, like pop-up cameras, because (I suspect) of lack of that extensive experience of what end users will and won't accept.

        1. PaulVD

          Re: 40 Year Old Lesson?

          "But the Chinese consumer industry is relatively young and so is going to recycle ideas that never made it to commercial production in the West,"

          Except that HTC is from Taiwan, not China. I know, China says there is no difference; but when it comes to experience of consumers, there should be.

    2. 9Rune5
      Go

      Re: 40 Year Old Lesson?

      If I could afford my own F-16 I wouldn't bother much with phones (hapless or not).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40 Year Old Lesson?

      > Who knew four decades later phone companies would be relearning the lesson...

      There's no evidence yet they're doing any "learning".

  8. Ross 12

    Oh HTC, you always manage to thwart your brilliance with something stupid :(

    1. Mage Silver badge

      re: thwart your brilliance with something stupid

      Wasn't the O2 XDA with keyboard and swivel hinge screen an HTC? Great idea badly done, though in fairness that's not a simple problem.

  9. nichomach

    I saw the bit about PSBs and...

    ...instantly thought "It's tiring, always stretching for something just out of reach.. But I'll get it. After all, what I want isn't as easy as all that.". I'll get my coat...

  10. BigAndos

    What's wrong with buttons? They're simple and they work. Mind you I still put my phone down and reach for a computer/laptop with a proper keyboard if I need to type more than one or two sentences. I think all these phone manufacturers are arbitrarily removing or changing things for the sake of it now just so they have something to put in their marketing spiel.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Mechanical buttons can break and can be pressed by accident while in your pocket. Both of these happen regularly for me so I'm reasonably interested in this development.

      I don't think that the PSB is a panacea, There are many situations that buttons are superior in, but if it's an option and can be made to work in such a way not to engender such dislike from a reviewer then I'd be willing to give it a go.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        I can see the point, and my Note 4 uses touch buttons on the sides, but the main button is physical because that button is like a cobblestone: sometimes, it helps to FEEL rather than see the button.

  11. iron Silver badge

    The translucent red colour looks really cool but no audio jack and crappy buttons = no thanks HTC.

  12. tim 13

    Not sure about the naming convention

    I don't want a phone thats for under 12s

  13. AlexGreyhead
    Happy

    18x9 = 2x1?

    I'm sure I'm being a bit dim here, but why do they put "18:9" instead of just "2:1" as the screen's aspect ratio?

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: 18x9 = 2x1?

      why do they put "18:9"

      Because then it matches 21:9 (approximately the ratio for cinema films, and the way it's described on the DVD sleeve) 16:9 (normal widescreen TVs) and 12:9 (older tellies, also known as 4:3).

      Another case of "bigger is better" I suppose. Now, how about these 16:10 projectors I have?

      M.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: 18x9 = 2x1?

        ...never mind that I have literally never, ever seen 4:3 described as "12:9"...

        1. eldakka Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: 18x9 = 2x1?

          ...never mind that I have literally never, ever seen 4:3 described as "12:9"...

          You have now!

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: 18x9 = 2x1?

      Saying "18:9" makes it easy to see that it's slightly wider than the 16:9 ratio everyone is familiar with from TV sets. Express that as 2:1, and you need to do some division in your head to discover that 16:9 is 1.78:1 and therefore not as wide an aspect ratio as 2:1.

      The commonly-seen ratios, in order of narrow to wide, are 4:3, 11:8, 3:2, 16:10, 16:9, 1.85:1, 2.39:1 - it's pretty hard to see a pattern there without actually reducing the ratios down to a common denominator. Nine has become that denominator consumer electronics, purely because 16:9 widescreen TV had such a massive marketing effort behind its adoption. (When Philips launched the first 2.37:1 TV set a few years back, they called it "21:9" even though that wasn't its actual ratio, but using "to 9" meant that people would realise it was wider than standard widescreen, at the expense of people who didn't read the spec-sheet complaining that it wasn't wide enough to display the 2.35:1 ratio that's used when mastering 2.39:1 films onto Blu-ray/DVD)

  14. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Buttons

    "Haptic functions don't necessarily have to be inferior to the mechanical switch designs they replace"

    In most cases and applications they are totally inferior. You have to look to find them.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Buttons

      But aren't you looking at the phone anyway, because Send and End aren't actual buttons anymore, either, so you can't call or hang up by touch?

  15. Mage Silver badge

    Trying to be Apple.

    Only Apple can get away with some of the stupid they do.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Trying to be Apple.

      Because only Apple gets it right.

  16. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Interesting.

    A quick straw poll via google seems to indicate the SPB are being universally panned.

    One wonders how something so flawed made it to production. I rather suspect there is a PHB with their fingers in their ears in HTC.

    1. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: Interesting.

      Some companies just love to try and ignore negative feedback until it really becomes an issue. Remember MS desperately claiming that Metro was awesome? It was only a fair chunk of time after Windows 8 came out that they finally had to wake up and accept that the UI was a failure in the market place.

      Lenovo also dropped the ball a few years back with the utterly dreadful "Clickpad" on the ThinkPad T440. Again, this "feature" made it to market - despite being universally panned and the issue wasn't fixed until the T450 when Lenovo quietly binned the hated clickpad and went back to a more conventional (and usable) trackpad.

      About the only company I can think of that seems to repeatedly get away with annoying changes is Apple...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... I rather suspect there is a PHB with their fingers in their ears in HTC.

    There is always a PHB .... somewhere, it just matters how high up the management structure they are.

    If high enough they will 'improve' things to prove they are esential to the company, if low enough they are just a delay in getting things done and will be overruled eventually to allow the job to be finished.

    Either way there will always be someone trying to blame the 'grunts' for the management F***Ups !!!

    Never forget to get everything in writing and save copies off-site :) ;)

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "If high enough they will 'improve' things to prove they are esential to the company,"

      Apparently Ernest Turner contributed to the problems at Triumph by going around altering drawings (after he had become MD) and thus messing up stuff that had been properly calculated. And at Ariel one of the technical sales people put the Leader engine into a nice little tubular frame to use for dealer visits and got so much interest from dealers that when he went on holiday the management got hold of the machine and destroyed it.

      Unfortunately for every PHB who wants to make his mark by being responsible for a wildly successful product, there's a couple more who just want to get their own way at all costs.

      1. dithomas

        Re: "If high enough they will 'improve' things to prove they are esential to the company,"

        I think it was Edward Turner. The rumour was that they put the Leader/Arrow engine into a Tiger Cub frame. Lovely concept but a twin engine in a single may have been a touch wide.

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: "If high enough they will 'improve' things to prove they are esential to the company,"

          Yes, sorry, you are right. Edward Turner. However, I doubt it could have been a Cub frame. The Leader engine is suspended from above and a Cub frame has nothing to hang it from or any obvious place to add the necessary brackets. However, the Leader engine wasn't very wide.

          Making a prototype frame in those days was pretty easy - one of the great virtues of non-welded construction. Monel was often used for prototype lugs, the frame could be adjusted on the jig before brazing, and a modified frame layout could be knocked up in a day. Of course, once production tooling was in place, changes became much, much harder due to cost and supplier agreements.

          That's the problem with modern cars, bikes and electronics - they are cheap, reliable and all the rest of it, but once a design decision is made it is very hard to alter. In HTC's case, discovering that the pretend buttons were crap a bit late in the production cycle would possibly have involved just too much of a redesign for a company that's struggling anyway. The analogy between HTC and the British motorcycle industry is closer than I realised.

  18. RobThBay

    18:9 ratio display

    I wonder what screen ratio of the +++ edition will be? If they were Apple the next version would have a 24:12 ratio screen...hugely biggley. LOL

    I guess refering to it as 2:1 would seem like a downgrade.

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Thing that have failed on my phones

    Software

    Front glass

    Rear glass

    Battery

    GPS radio

    LTE band compatibility

    Rear camera seal

    OLED panel

    Speaker grille

    Given this fairly typical list, HTC decided that buttons needed to go?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thing that have failed on my phones

      ... HTC decided that buttons needed to go?

      Of course, all the things on your list are obviously hard to 'fix' or they would not be on your 'Typical' list ...... so you 'solve' something easier like the 'Buttons' ... even if they do not 'need' to be fixed !!!???

      You get something different to make your product stand out .... pity it was not tested as much as it needed, if the review is to be believed.

  20. VulcanV5
    WTF?

    Verdict

    Quote: "the PSBs make the HTC almost impossible to recommend."

    Actually, £699 makes the HTC absolutely impossible to recommend.

    It's a. . . phone. As is my existing Nokia 6310i, purchased SIM free in February 2001 for £115 and Mrs V's Sony Erickson K750i, purchased SIM free for £63 in December 2006 in a Littlewoods catalog Christmas sale.

    I dunno: isn't there supposed to be a recession on or something in the UK -- long lines at the dole office, soup kitchens in the streets, the Brexit vote signalling we're all doomed???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Verdict

      It's 2018, phones are more or less portable computers and pocket cameras these days. The 'phone' thing is quite frankly an afterthought or 'bonus feature': for example, today there are more mobile phone plans which give a copious amount of monthly data but give limited talktime and/or give no free SMSes.

      How much you are willing to pay for a smartphone these days depend on your perceived value of the non-phone features of a device, perhaps fueled by brand loyalty.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Verdict

        "How much you are willing to pay for a smartphone these days depend on your perceived value of the non-phone features of a device"

        At £699 it costs more than my tablet and my desktop yet apart from being a phone/camera and being a bit more portable than my tablet, does considerably less. £199 would seem to be a more appropriate price point for a smartphone of this ilk.

  21. MJI Silver badge

    PSB?

    I kept reading as PHB

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: PSB?

      "She's made you some kind of laughing stock

      Because you dance to disco, and you don't like rock

      She'd make fun of you, and even in bed

      Said she was gonna go and get herself a real man instead

      So ask yourself now: Can you forgive her

      If she begs you to?

      Ask yourself: Can you even deliver

      What she demands of you?

      Or do you want revenge?

      But that's childish, so childish!"

  22. MJI Silver badge

    Compulsary facebook = no sale

    My current work phone was fine until

    An update added crap to the camera

    The next force installed and activated facebook

    It also disabled uninstall of faceshit

    It also added a faceshit icon to the phone

    Then a contactless pay system which cannot be disabled, uninstalled and sometimes starts up for no reason. Oh and Icon unremoveable.

    Only reason not lump hammered is it worth around £80 at CEX.

    My next work phone WILL be clean Android or it will go to CEX unopened and the money from both put towards a phone with no shit.

  23. PaulR79

    Nice

    After following HTC since just before Android and the T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream launched I have been frustrated by a large number of things but the most consistent complaint I have had is with their cameras. No amount of reinventing the wheel (large pixels) was going to change the image quality and their best has only ever been average at best. When I read this review and the praise heaped on the camera it felt like a "Hallelujah!" moment.

    The gesture thing can be disabled according to the review and the sides used as they were in the U11+. If that's true then why such a final rating of "can't recommend"? Out of all the features, they've tried to put forward at least this one can be disabled. If I'm wrong on that then this would be the ultimate "almost" phone for me. Whether or not they'll be around to offer their hopeful two years of updates depends on uptake. I don't see that being fantastically more than the past years regardless of how good the overall experience might be in the end.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Nice

      He's a grumpy old f@rt (j/k!) and obviously didn't find the calibration menu point, much like every other reviewer couldn't locate it. ;) :P

      I have this phone for couple weeks now, it's great, *especially* for a camera phone - get it if you can.

  24. Levente Szileszky

    How come none of you, scriblers, are able to find the "adjust" menu for sequeeze or tap...?

    Seriously: EVERY reviewer misses it and keeps whining about it.

    Since you are as old as me (or even older) "AO", here are some visual cues:

    https://imgur.com/a/VwCVvJm

    https://imgur.com/a/g4O4pcb

    https://imgur.com/a/QlPO05P

    FYI I'm using my blue U12+ for 2-3 weeks now and I'm still enjoying every moment with it - it's easily the best phone for 2018, especially if you like to listen to music or use your camera on-the-fly. Also, battery life is phenomenal for me, even survived a day and a night without charging and made it to the office next day (almost until noon.)

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