New HTC U12 Plus literally puts the squeeze on more expensive top-tier phones

X-Ray Spex not included (or needed)

We hinted at it yesterday, and today it’s out and we have our hot little hands on it: HTC’s new U12 Plus flagship smartphone. Just as we predicted yesterday, the phone has made its debut today, May 23rd, and DT’s Mobile tech editor Julian Chokkatu spent some time poking around with a pre-release unit and came away impressed. But how does it hold up against some serious competition, such as the iPhone X and Galaxy S9? Pretty well, with dual cameras front and rear, the new Snapdragon chip and a largely expected list of high-end specs.

One thing we were pleased to see? The back of the phone is slightly translucent, letting you see some of the internal components. But it’s not transparent per se, and overall looks normal. And the buttons on the phone are a bit different as well: They are fixed and don’t move when you press them; they register the pressure of how hard you press them. That “not really a button” approach helps keep the phone sealed to an IP68 standard, so feel free to use it in the rain, and it should survive an accidental plunge into a pool just fine as well.

The phone retains the EdgeSense squeeze control system, which is quirky but useful. One thing the U12 Plus does not have is wireless charging. After years of being the big upcoming feature for cell phones, HTC told us they’re actually kind of meh on the idea now, and the U12 Plus uses a friendly USB-C jack to juice up. We were a bit off on the price, looks like the U12 Plus – and there is no “non-Plus” model – is $800 for the base model.

Here’s what we know

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook, a lot of people downloaded their Facebook data and were amazed – and often terrified – at the vast amount of information the social network had learned about them. Now, Apple is letting customers do the same thing with a new privacy information download section on their site, and initial impressions seem to indicate that Apple stores up a lot less information about you than expected – or at least a lot less than Facebook.

Instead of burying their data and privacy policies on some nearly unfindable back alley on their site, Apple has expanded their policy page into a full-blown portal where you can see – and download – everything Apple knows about you – or at least what they are willing to say they know. And once you sign in, you can also change up your information metrics – or just delete your account all together. So while you should be rightfully concerned about how much data about you is floating around on the web, it’s good to see some companies are finally make it easier to see what they know about you – and even delete that data if need be.

Also works as a small heater

How do you make a gaming PC perform better? Just add money (as usual), and maybe some high-performance GPUs, right? But that gets to be a bit more difficult if your gaming rig is a laptop, because of that whole not-much-room-for-a-better-graphics-card problem. Solution? The external GPU, something now available from gaming and graphics PC purveyor Razer. The new Razer Stealth gaming laptop is a capable performer to be sure, just read Luke Larsen’s review.

But you also have the option to take the fun to the next level by looping in the Razer Core V2 external graphics processor case, which is essentially a $500 box that you drop your shiny new thousand-dollar GPU into. It connects through super-fast Thunderbolt 3 ports and once up and running, should give most sane desktop PCs a run for their gaming money. Plus it’s small enough to slip into a normal backpack if you gotta game and go. Luke put both the Stealth and the Core setups to the test to see how they compare, so check out the whole review.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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