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LG V35 ThinQ vs. HTC U12 Plus: Which big beauty should you buy?

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By Simon Hill


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HTC U12 Plus Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s worth noting that Apple and Samsung are not the only smartphone makers turning out great devices. LG and HTC have been making great Android phones for years and years — and they deserve some attention. If you’re in the market for a powerful, big smartphone packed with innovative features, then the LG V35 ThinQ and the HTC U12 Plus should both be on your radar. The question is — which phone is better? We decided to put the two devices head-to-head to find out.

Specs

LG V35 ThinQHTC U12 Plus
Size151.6 x 75.4 x 7.3mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches)156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7 mm (6.16 x 2.9 x 0.34 inches)
Weight158 grams (5.57 ounces)188 grams (6.63 ounces)
Screen size6-inch OLED6-inch Super LCD
Screen resolution2,880 x 1,440 pixels (538 pixels-per-inch)2,880 x 1,440 pixels (538 pixels per inch)
Operating systemAndroid 8.0 OreoAndroid 8.0 Oreo
Storage space64GB64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slotYes, up to 2TBYes
Tap-to-pay servicesGoogle PayGoogle Pay
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM6GB6GB
CameraDual 16MP (with OIS) and 16MP wide angle rear, 8MP frontDual 12MP and 16MP telephoto rear (both with OIS), dual 8MP lenses front
VideoUp to 4K at 30 fps,1080p at 30 fps, 720p at 240 fps, HDR10Up to 4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Ports3.5mm headphone jack, USB-Type CUSB-Type C
Fingerprint sensorYes(back)Yes(back)
Water resistanceIP68IP68
Battery3,300mAh

Fast charging (Quick Charge 3.0)

Qi wireless charging

3,500mAh

Fast charging (Quick Charge 3.0, QC 4.0 with adapter, not included)

 

App marketplaceGoogle Play StoreGoogle Play Store
Network supportAT&T, Project FiT-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon
ColorsAurora Black, Platinum GrayTranslucent Blue, Ceramic Black, Flame Red
Price$900$800
Buy fromAT&T, Project FiHTC,Amazon
Review scoreHands-on reviewHands-on review

Performance, battery life, and charging

lg v35 thinq home full
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The standard flagship combination for 2018 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor backed by 6GB of RAM — and that’s precisely what both of these phones have inside. You can expect speedy, slick performance and the ability to multitask gracefully. Both come with 64GB of storage and have MicroSD card slots for expansion. You can also get the U12 Plus with 128GB of internal storage.

In terms of battery life, the U12 Plus has the edge on paper with an extra 200mAh over the 3,300mAh battery in the LG V35 ThinQ, but we’re not sure that will make a big difference in every dayse. They both support Quick Charge 3.0 out of the box, but the U12 Plus can also support the slightly faster Quick Charge 4.0 standard, though it will require you to buy a compatible charger separately.

The LG V35 ThinQ scores some points back here with support for Qi wireless charging, which is sadly lacking in the HTC U12 Plus. This is a very tight category, but we’re giving the V35 ThinQ the win for the wireless charging support.

Winner: LG V35 ThinQ

Design and durability

HTC U12 Plus Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The LG V35 ThinQ is almost identical to the LG V30 in terms of design, which means it’s a good-looking device. There are slim bezels above and below the large screen, with no notch in sight. Rounded corners and curved aluminum edges give way to a glass back. The dual-lens camera has a fingerprint sensor below it. It’s a surprisingly light phone, but it’s big, so it’s not the easiest to manage one-handed.

The HTC U12 Plus is very similar in size, slightly taller and thicker but not quite as wide. It also has a horizontally arranged dual-lens camera on the back, with fingerprint sensor below and an all-screen front with bezels top and bottom, though they’re a bit bigger than LG’s bezels. It’s a heavier phone, but that actually lends it a more expensive feel. HTC offers some innovation here with a complete lack of mechanical buttons, instead relying on touch-sensitive buttons and the squeezable edges for operation.

In terms of looks, we prefer HTC’seye-catching, liquid glass finish, with the translucent blue model being an interesting option. The V35 ThinQ looks conservative by comparison, but that will suit some people better.

Both phones are IP68 rated, so there’s no need to panic about short dunks into water or being caught in the rain. Because of the glass sandwich designs, we strongly advise cases for both of these phones.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Display

lg v35 thinq app dock
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With 6-inch screens, these smartphones are among the largest on the market. Both the V35 ThinQ and the U12 Plus sports resolutions of 2,880 x 1,440 pixels. They both have an 18:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch. They’re both sharp and a pleasure to read on, but LG has a slight edge. The OLED screen in the V35 ThinQ offers much better contrast and we prefer it to the Super LCD in the U12 Plus. LG has also managed to achieve a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio, which makes the large screen just a touch more manageable.

Winner: LG V35 ThinQ

Camera

HTC U12 Plus Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The dual camera is very much here to stay, and LG and HTC have embraced the trend. The V35 ThinQ pairs two 16-megapixel lens,one with an f/1.6 aperture and optical image stabilization and the other a wide-angle lens with an f/1.9 aperture. The U12 Plus has a 12-megapixel standard lens with an f/1.75 aperture, as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture.

Low-light photography is a weakness for the V35 ThinQ, though there isa Super Bright Camera mode, and we love the versatility of the wide angle lens. The U12 Plus boasts a superb camera that justifies the early plaudits. We know that HTC is capable of delivering strong photography, and the single-lens U11 camera impressed us last year, so it’s exciting to see what the Taiwanese manufacturer can do with a dual-lens setup.

HTC has also chosen to go with a dual setup on the front, pairingtwo 8-megapixel cameras with f/2.0 apertures for great portrait selfies with blurred backgrounds. The V35 ThinQ has a single 8-megapixel camera on the front with an f/1.9 aperture.

LG has stirred some A.I. smarts into the mix, but the AI Cam has failed to impress us so far. The V in the V35 stands for video, so there are some interesting modes you can try out to help make your home movies a bit more arresting. However, in terms of the upper limits, the U12 Plus is actually more capable, because it can capture 4K at up to 60 frames per second or 1080p at 240 fps, while the V35 is limited to 30fps and 60fps respectively.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Software and updates

lg v35 thinq assistant
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Both phones run Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, with manufacturer skins over the top. They will both get upgraded to Android P, but beyond that, it’s hard to say when. Both manufacturers have done fairly well with Oreo rollouts, so we don’t really know which will deliver the freshest flavor of Android first.

We prefer HTC’s user interface, though the U12 Plus does have some bloatware onboard. The V35 ThinQ has some special Google Assistant commands, but we’re not keen on the look of the skin, and there’s some bloatware there too.

Winner: HTC U12 Plus

Special features

HTC U12 Plus Review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The ThinQ part of the V35 name means that your smartphone can double as a smart home controller, provided you have a bunch of ThinQ-branded LG devices. For some people, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack with a Quad DAC in the V35 will score as a special feature, especially since the U12 Plus doesn’t have one. There’s also the A.I. smarts in the camera and the video modes that we highlighted in the camera section, not to mention Google Lens integration in the camera app.

HTC won’t be outdone in the special features department, adding new gestures to Edge Sensewhich allows you to squeeze your phone to snap a photo, trigger Google Assistant, or something else you decide upon. With a new double tap option, it’s more versatile than ever, and the touch-sensitive buttons feel like another step toward a completely button-free phone. The powerful camera also has a few tricks up its sleeve, such as Sonic Zoom, which boosts the audio for any subject you zoom in on when shooting video.

Winner: Tie

Price

The HTC U12 Plus costs $800 (add $50 for the 128GB model) and you can buy one direct from HTC or on Amazon. It’s certified to work onAT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

You can get the LG V35 ThinQexclusively on AT&T and Google’s Project Fi, but it costs $900.

Overall winner: HTC U12 Plus

There really isn’t a big gap here. The LG V35 ThinQ has a superior display, a refined design, and an impressive set of features, but it doesn’t do enough to justify the extra cost. The U12 Plus boasts an excellent camera, just as much power under the hood, and plenty of tempting features of its own. We like both phones, but the HTC U12 Plus narrowly ekes out the win.


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