Many smartphone manufacturers opt for more glass in their designs these days, especially in their flagship devices. The “glass sandwich” approach is popular – a smartphone obviously has glass in front but now many also come with a glass back panel. The HTC U12 Plus seems to have taken this idea right to the edge, upping the “cool” levels by having a transparent back panel. That’s all well and good, but when it came face to face with our favorite YouTube teardown specialist JerryRigEverything, the results were not as great as HTC would hope.
The HTC U12 Plus has a transparent back, something that a number of phone users mthink they would like to have. Heck, even JerryRigEverything has done this a few times with Samsung phones, albeit doing it the DIY way. It is a bit cool being able to see inside your phone from the back, but the teardown video below shows that there will be some tradeoffs.
One of the major weaknesses in the design of the HTC U12 Plus is that the transparent back panel – cool as it is – comes off a bit easily. By “easily” we don’t mean that it will fall off with regular use, that won’t happen, thankfully. But any significant bend or stress you put on the can detach the back panel from the phone. For instance, you might put the phone on your back pocket and forget about it. The moment you sit down and the pressure bends the phone, say goodbye to the back panel. The ensuing crack or opening will bring your device open to dust and water damage.
The video also shows that the HTC U12 Plus has capacitive side buttons. HTC chose to forego the mechanical volume rocker and power button, probably to minimize wear-and-tear damage. But if you accidentally swipe the side of your phone on a sharp edge – like the edge of a table, for instance – there is a big possibility that those capacitive buttons might come off.
From what the teardown video shows us, the HTC U12 Plus does not give us any sense of solidity or robustness in its physical design. You get the idea that this phone is a fragile being, and any drop, slip, or slide it suffers would probably end up with a damaged phone. As long as you take care of it, though, the phone will be darned nice to look at.