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Not a lot of people remember this nowadays, but HTC tried its hand at dual camera smartphones way before it was cool, also attempting to make glasses-free 3D mobile technology happen with 2011’s Evo 3D. 2014’s One (M8) and 2015’s One M9+ followed, toning down the gimmicks, which didn’t help them start a trend or sell like hotcakes.

Of course, the trend quickly took off anyway, while HTC went back to refining the single rear-facing shooter. The HTC 10 and U11 did a fine job with their somewhat limited photography resources, but now it’s time for the Taiwanese OEM to return to the big leagues.

Enter the U12+, DxOMark’s new silver medalist for overall mobile camera performance. With an impressive score of 103 points, HTC’s latest flagship handset squeezes between the Huawei P20 Pro and “regular” P20 on DxO’s podium, narrowly beating the Chinese company’s newest dual cam hero.

Obviously, a 12MP primary shooter with f/1.75 aperture and OIS, paired with a 16MP f/2.6 telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom, can’t really hold a candle to the P20 Pro’s groundbreaking triple-sensor setup sporting a grand total of 68 megapixels.

But the HTC U12+ leaves a number of very capable dual shooter handsets in the dust, including the aforementioned Huawei P20, Samsung Galaxy S9+, Apple iPhone X, Huawei Mate 10 Pro and Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S.

The no-notch 6-incher earns high marks for both still images and video recording skills, shining in autofocus accuracy and speed, as well as “outstanding performance for color”, effective bokeh simulation and great video stabilization.

The hot new phone is by no means perfect, although we may have to wait until next year for HTC to take note of DxOMark’s HDR and low-light criticism. All in all, the U12 Plus is deemed a “knockout”, at least until the market gets flooded with P20 Pro-style three-lens flagships.

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