Edge Sense has always been a gimmick — but who can blame HTC for embracing a gimmick. The company’s mobile division has been struggling in recent years, so why not embrace the novelty of a squeezable side input? The tech got a bit more support when Google embraced it for the Pixel 2, renaming it Active Edge in the process.
With today’s announcement of the U12+, HTC is introducing Edge Sense 2. The company promised it would keep updating the feature, and this new flagship is starting to making it that much more compelling. The second generation doesn’t make it an essential feature, but some key additions point to how more sensors on the sides of the handset could turn it into more than just a glorified additional button for the phone.
Some of the coolest additions here are the ability for the phone to recognize which hand is holding it and adapt the interface accordingly. When held in a single hand, the feature offers up multiple options, including the ability to lock screen orientation for video viewing and squeezing to take photos or shoot video. And, that functionality is customizable, meaning users won’t get locked into a devoted Bixby button-style situation here.
Also worth noting on the Edge Sense front is that HTC has swapped out the mechanical buttons on the side of the phone, moving instead toward haptic feedback. It takes a little getting used to, but the upshot is that it helps keep the phone that much more water-resistant, and fewer moving parts means less opportunity for breakage — always a good thing.
As far as the other ways HTC is working to distinguish its latest flagship, the six-inch handset retains the “Liquid Surface” design language found on the U11. The glossy service is even more aesthetically distinct this time out, with the addition of the Translucent Blue color scheme, which offers a cloudy and colorful peek into the phone’s innards.
The camera deserves mention here, too. Granted, it’s a tough place to distinguish your handset these days, but the U12+ scored a 103 from DxOMark, which puts it ahead of the rest of the handset market, save for the Huawei P20 Pro with its ridiculous three cameras. Highlights for its two cameras include super-fast autofocus and HDR Boost 2 for improved images in poor lighting conditions.
HTC’s made a point of upping its game on the audio front, and that continues here with loud built-in speakers and a pair of active noise-cancelling earbuds. Inside is a Snapdragon 845, coupled with 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. All in all, it’s looking like a solid handset.
There’s no notch on the screen this time out, but the company implied in a meeting that that’s something likely to arrive on the next-gen flagship. The phone goes up for pre-order today and will start shipping early next month. No word on pricing yet, but HTC tells me it won’t be “dramatically different” than its predecessor.
If you want a flagship phone nowadays you can easily drop $1,000, but you don’t have to. The OnePlus 6 offers up-to-date design trends wrapped around cutting edge hardware and it could save you a few hundred dollars over the top phones from Apple and Samsung. But you might also consider stretching that budget just a bit more and picking up LG’s latest — the feature-packed, LG G7 ThinQ. If you are weighing up the pros and cons of these two devices, then you’re in the right place because we’re about to compare them across various categories to pick a winner.
LG G7 ThinQ
155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches)
153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm (6.03 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches)
177 grams (6.24 ounces)
162 grams (5.71 ounces)
6.28-inch AMOLED display
6.1-inch IPS LCD display
2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
3,120 x 1,440 pixels (564 pixels per inch)
Android 8.1 Oreo
Android 8.0 Oreo
64GB (with 6GB of RAM), 128GB, 256GB (both with 8GB of RAM)
64GB (with 4GB of RAM), 128GB (with 6GB of RAM)
MicroSD card slot
Yes, up to 400GB
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Dual 16MP and 16MP rear, 8MP front
2,160p at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 30/60/120, 720p at 480 fps super slow motion, HDR
2,160p at 30 frames per second, 1,080p at 60 fps
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C
Fast charging (QC 3.0)
Qi wireless charging
Google Play Store
Google Play Store
AT&T and T-Mobile
T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint
Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White
Platinum Gray, Aurora Black, Moroccan Blue, Raspberry Rose
These phones are very fast performers and there isn’t a discernible difference between them, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering they both have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor inside. Comparing benchmark scores, the OnePlus 6 does slightly better, but we know that the manufacturer has tuned specifically for benchmark scores in the past, so we’d take those results with a pinch of salt. In the real world we’ve found that both phones are plenty fast enough to handle everything we’ve thrown at them.
The OnePlus 6 comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. There’s no room for a MicroSD card slot. You can get the LG G7 ThinQ with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but it does have a MicroSD card slot for expansion.
With a bigger 3,300mAh battery, you might expect the OnePlus 6 to last a little longer than the LG G7 ThinQ, which makes do with a 3,000mAh battery, but in practice we’ve found both phones can easily last the day and beyond. They also both offer fast charging, but only the LG G7 ThinQ offers support for wireless charging. This is tight, but we’re going to give it to the G7 ThinQ because of the MicroSD card slot and the wireless charging.
Winner: LG G7 ThinQ
Design and durability
We’re disappointed to see so many Android manufacturers embrace the notch and it means that the OnePlus 6 and LG G7 ThinQ actually look very similar from the front. Apart from the sizable notch at the top, they also both have bottom bezels. Flip over to the back and you’ll find both sport a central dual lens camera module with a fingerprint sensor below it, though OnePlus has adopted a stadium or lozenge shape, while LG’s is round. Both phones are made of glass front and back sandwiching a narrow aluminum frame. We slightly prefer the larger, heavier OnePlus 6 which manages to pack in a tiny bit more screen proportionately, but there’s really not much here that sets them apart.
The LG G7 ThinQ is the clear winner in terms of durability because of the IP68 rating, which means it won’t die if it tumbles into a bath or toilet. The OnePlus 6 lacks any IP rating, but it is still water resistant so you won’t have to worry about rain. Both are going to need a good case to avoid drop damage.
This is perhaps the first category where we find a clear contrast between these phones. The OnePlus 6 has a 6.28-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 2,280 x 1,440 pixels. The LG G7 ThinQ sports a 6.1-inch screen with a 3,120 x 1,440-pixel resolution. The LG is sharper at 564 pixels per inch compared to 402 for the OnePlus 6, but the OnePlus phone squeezes more screen in and manages a screen-to-body ratio of 83.8 percent compared to 82.6 percent for the G7 ThinQ.
More importantly than the numbers, both screens look great. The G7 ThinQ also has a handy Super Bright Display mode that cranks up the brightness to make it readable outdoors. But we believe that OLED technology is fundamentally superior to LCD and the extra screen real estate is always welcome, especially when it doesn’t significantly increase the size of the phone, so OnePlus wins this category.
Although both phones sport a dual lens camera, LG has taken a slightly different approach pairing a standard 16-megapixel camera, with a f/1.6 aperture and optical image stabilization, with a 16-megapixel, f/1.9 aperture, wide-angle camera. LG has also included AI Cam, which is supposed to automatically recognize scene types and fine tune your camera settings for best results, and Super Bright Camera mode, which makes the most of low-light situations. The G7 ThinQ also has an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and a decent portrait mode that works with both cameras.
OnePlus has combined a 16-megapixel lens with a 20-megapixel lens and both feature an f/1.7 aperture. There’s also a 16-megapixel, f/2.0 aperture, selfie camera. You won’t find any A.I. smarts in the OnePlus 6 camera, but it does have a portrait mode that works quite well.
The LG G7 ThinQ has a very versatile camera that gets great results most of the time. We haven’t had time to test the OnePlus 6 camera as extensively yet, but it also appears to be a good performer, though we think both fall short of top camera phones like the Huawei P20 Pro or Pixel 2.
Software and updates
The LG G7 ThinQ runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with LG’s user interface on top. LG just opened a new software update center, promising quick updates to new Android versions, security updates, and updates to add new features to the phone.
The OnePlus 6 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with OxygenOS on top and OnePlus is generally good with software updates. You can also try out the Android P beta on the OnePlus 6 right now.
We won’t know for sure who handles this better until the updates roll out. Based on past performance, we’d probably give it to OnePlus, but, since LG is taking steps to improve, we’ll call it a tie for now.
LG takes audio seriously, so you’ll find a Quad DAC and headphone jack in the LG G7 ThinQ, as well as a “Boombox” speaker, which uses the phone’s body as a resonance chamber in order to crank up the volume and quality of the audio it puts out. There’s also a special A.I. key on the G7 ThinQ which activates Google Assistant. You can press it once to launch voice recognition or hold it down to talk continuously.
The OnePlus 6 has a handy alert slider, like the iPhone, which allows you to quickly silence notifications. There’s also support for some gesture controls, but we prefer the traditional Android buttons for getting around.
Winner: LG G7 ThinQ
The OnePlus 6 is on sale now and costs $530 for the 64GB model, $580 for the 128GB model, and $630 for the 256GB model. You can buy it unlocked direct from OnePlus, but it won’t work on Verizon or Sprint.
Pre-orders for the LG G7 ThinQ are open in some places, but it won’t be shipping until May 31. It’s going to cost you $750, which is less than some other flagships, but still significantly more than the OnePlus 6. It will work on all the major U.S. carriers and you’ll be able to buy it from Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular.
This is a tricky one to call. The LG G7 ThinQ wins points for superior audio, wireless charging support, and that MicroSD card slot, but we slightly prefer the design and display of the OnePlus 6. They’re both fast, capable Android phones with a lot to offer, but we think the OnePlus 6 is better value for money and so it wins overall.
If you’re a stickler for security, then you may be familiar with the YubiKey, the USB device that adds an extra layer of protection to your various internet accounts. Unfortunately, thus far, it’s only been compatible with devices that have USB ports, which means that phones were more or less out of the question. But now, that’s no longer the case. Thanks to the NFC chip embedded in iPhones (iPhone 7s and older, that is) and iOS 11, the YubiKey can now be used with Apple smartphones.
For those unfamiliar with the YubiKey, the tiny device is meant to be inserted into a computer and has a little button that can be pressed anytime two-factor authentication is needed. This is faster, more secure, and more reliable than using some other authentication method, and as such, the YubiKey is quite popular among both companies and individual users.
And now that iOS 11 has opened up the possibility of third parties to integrate with the NFC chip via a new SDK, the YubiKey is iPhone compatible. All you need to do is tap the YubiKey against the iPhone.
Unfortunately, for the time being, this only works with apps that use the SDK, and it’s currently a short list — only LastPass is eligible. However, given that LastPass is a password manager that likely controls all your other passwords, it’s perhaps the most important app.
As LastPass noted, “LastPass users with iPhone 7 or above, running iOS 11, can now authenticate to their LastPass Premium, Families, Teams and Enterprise accounts on their mobile device with the same YubiKey NEO that they use for their desktop or laptop.” The note continues, “At the time of mobile login, users can touch the YubiKey NEO to the iPhone to wirelessly transfer a Yubico one-time password and securely access the application.”
In the future, we can likely expect other apps and sites like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, GitHub, Dashlane, and more to use the SDK as well, opening up new YubiKey possibilities. And if you’re interested in purchasing a YubiKey yourself, now that it’s more widely usable, you can do so on Amazon for $50.
The FBI seems to have been caught fibbing again on the topic of encrypted phones. FBI director Christopher Wray estimated in December that it had almost 7,800 phones from 2017 alone that investigators were unable to access. The real number is likely less than a quarter of that, The Washington Post reports.
Internal records cited by sources put the actual number of encrypted phones at perhaps 1,200 but perhaps as many as 2,000, and the FBI told the paper in a statement that “initial assessment is that programming errors resulted in significant over-counting of mobile devices reported.” Supposedly having three databases tracking the phones led to devices being counted multiple times.
Such a mistake would be so elementary that it’s hard to conceive of how it would be possible. These aren’t court notes, memos or unimportant random pieces of evidence, they’re physical devices with serial numbers and names attached. The idea that no one thought to check for duplicates before giving a number to the director for testimony in Congress suggests either conspiracy or gross incompetence.
The latter seems more likely after a report by the Office of the Inspector General that found the FBI had failed to utilize its own resources to access locked phones, instead suing Apple and then hastily withdrawing the case when its basis (a locked phone from a terror attack) was removed. It seems to have chosen to downplay or ignore its own capabilities in order to pursue the narrative that widespread encryption is dangerous without a backdoor for law enforcement.
An audit is underway at the Bureau to figure out just how many phones it actually has that it can’t access, and hopefully how this all happened.
It is unmistakably among the FBI’s goals to emphasize the problem of devices being fully encrypted and inaccessible to authorities, a trend known as “going dark.” That much it has said publicly, and it is a serious problem for law enforcement. But it seems equally unmistakable that the Bureau is happy to be sloppy, deceptive or both in its advancement of a tailored narrative.
The new OnePlus 6 has high-end specifications, a beautiful and modern design, and a lower price tag than other flagship smartphones. It’s safe to say that the OnePlus 6 lives up to the company’s “flagship-killer” moniker.
Want to check out our impressions? See our OnePlus review for an in-depth look. How do you nab one for yourself? We break it down in our handy OnePlus 6 buying guide.
Does my carrier support the OnePlus 6?
The most important fact to know before buying the OnePlus 6 is that it does not work on Verizon or Sprint networks. The phone, like all of its predecessors, also doesn’t work with many crucial CDMA frequencies. That also means that Sprint and Verizon mobile virtual network operators, like Boost Mobile and Straight Talk, are incompatible as well.
Thankfully, the device does work on GSM networks, like T-Mobile and AT&T. If you’re already on one of those networks, you should be good to go. If not, you’ll have to think about switching carriers if you really want one.
Get it unlocked
In the U.S., OnePlus sells its phones unlocked directly from its website, and the OnePlus 6 is no different. The phone is now available from the website.
There are a few models of the phone, and they don’t all come at the same price. Here is a quick rundown of the pricing of the OnePlus 6.
Mirror Black with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage: $530
Mirror Black with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580
Midnight Black with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580
Midnight Black with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage: $630
Silk White with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $580
Other than the OnePlus website, the OnePlus 6 will also be sold through Amazon and various other partner retailers, though we’re not exactly sure when we’ll see the phone on Amazon.
OnePlus Bullets Wireless headphones
Along with the phone, OnePlus is also selling a pair of wireless headphones called the Bullets Wireless headphones. The headphones connect through Bluetooth, offer magnets that can pause your music when activated, and more.
The headphones come at $70 and will be available from OnePlus’ website. Unfortunately, they won’t be available until the end of June and there is no specific date just yet. They may also be available from retailers like Amazon, but we will have to wait and see.
Updated on May 22: The OnePlus 6 is now available.