HTC U11 review: A fragile, squeezable flagship

 

HTC introduced the “U” smartphone line back in January with the U Ultra and U Play handsets, and those were just a taste of what the company had coming. The U11 is HTC’s newest flagship and follow-up to last year’s HTC 10, and it looks significantly different from last year’s device. With an all-glass back and no headphone jack, the U11 chooses which of the typical flagship design choices it wanted to keep and forgoes others. It supports Google Assistant as well as HTC’s own Sense Companion AI, with Amazon Alexa support coming soon after it ships in the US on June 9. The HTC 10 was one of our favorite flagship smartphones last year, and the U11 is a thoughtful upgrade from that, even if its design is polarizing.

Design

The U11 smartphone looks and feels flashier than the HTC 10, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. Ars’ Ron Amadeo appreciated the simple yet solid metal design of HTC’s 2016 flagship, but the company certainly deviated from that blueprint with this device. The U11 has an all-glass back that makes it strikingly shiny but also a wild collector of fingerprints. That shine complements the bold colors it comes in (red, sapphire, silver, and black), but every time it catches your eye, you’ll be compelled to wipe down the phone.

SPECS AT A GLANCE: HTC U11
SCREEN 5.5″ 2560×1440 LCD
OS Android 7.1.1 with HTC Sense
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, up to 2.45GHz
RAM 4GB
GPU Adreno 540
STORAGE 64GB (expandable up to 2TB with microSD card)
NETWORKING 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, NFC
BANDS GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA2000: 800/1900
3G UMTS: 850/AWS/900/1900/2100 MHz
LTE (FDD): 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/20/25/26/28/66
PORTS 1 USB 3.1 Type-C
CAMERA Rear: 12MP HTC UltraPixel 3, UltraSpeed AF, OIS, f/1.7, 4K video recording
Front: 16MP front camera
SIZE 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm (6.05 x 2.98 x .31 inches)
WEIGHT 169 g (5.96 ounces)
BATTERY 3000 mAh, Quick Charge 3.0
STARTING PRICE $650
OTHER PERKS Edge Sensor, fingerprint sensor, ambient light sensor, G-sensor, gyro-sensor, voice commands with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, Motion Launch

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has an all-glass design, and while glass is pretty, it’s not as durable as metal, especially for devices that you use and abuse every day. The U11’s back is the main glass part of the handset, and technically the device still has a unibody design—you just can’t tell by the placement of the glass as it sits atop the aluminum underneath. The bold back colors aren’t built into the glass, but rather they slide underneath the glass, so they won’t fade as some metal finishes can with time and use. They can’t be scratched off either.

The handset’s aluminum body peeks through on its sides where the few buttons and connectivity options live: on the right are the power button and volume rocker, on the top lies the SIM/microSD card slot, and on the bottom is the single USB Type-C port. You can’t see them, but eight tiny pressure sensors are hidden in the device’s lower sides—those are the sensors you “squeeze” to activate Edge Sense features and apps, which we’ll discuss more in a later section. The handset is IP67 water-resistant, and Edge Sense can even be used when the device is wet.Image result for HTC U11 review: A fragile, squeezable flagship

The screen and front panel are where the U11 looks a bit dated. Hugging the 5.5-inch, 2560×1440 display are chunky top and bottom bezels and a set of hardware navigation buttons. This is a stark contrast from recent flagship designs that favor paper-thin bezels to allow maximum screen space. The typical Android back and app-drawer capacitive buttons are on either side of the physical home button/fingerprint sensor. This is another contrast, as both new Android smartphones and iPhones have started to move away from physical home buttons.

One similarity the U11 has with the iPhone 7 is the lack of headphone jack. Included in the box is a USB Type-C-to-3.5mm audio jack, so you can connect your wired headphones to the device with the adaptor. HTC also includes its own headphones in the box that have active noise cancelling; thanks to power over USB Type-C, the headphones don’t need their own battery to provide active noise cancelling.

Edge Sense

The U11’s most interesting feature is Edge Sense, or the squeezable nature of the handset. When holding the device naturally with one hand, you can squeeze both sides to initiate an action. Edge Sense has two customizable pressure points—a short squeeze or a long squeeze. Upon setting up the feature, you’re asked to adjust the pressure level for your own hand. For example, the natural amount of pressure I put on the device’s edges is different from what my boyfriend would, so you can set up Edge Sense to recognize a base level of pressure that feels natural for you. After setting it up on my review unit, Edge Sense worked well in that my squeezes were always recognized and software never mistook grabbing and handling of the smartphone for a squeeze.

At any time, you can use the Edge Sense settings to customize short- and long-squeeze actions. These are your current options: bring up the camera app, take a screenshot (my personal favorite), launch HTC Sense Companion, launch an app of your choosing, start an instant voice recording, turn on your Wi-Fi hotspot, or turn on the flashlight. Those are all practical uses for Edge Sense, and the ability to set it to bring up any app you want is convenient.

HTC told Ars that convenience is the main idea behind Edge Sense. The company wanted to address the ergonomic issues plaguing large smartphones (not being able to reach all your apps with one hand, etc.) without compromising the seamlessness of the device. HTC didn’t want to add another button to the edge of the U11, like Samsung did on the Galaxy S8 with its dedicated Bixby button. So the company found a different solution that would allow more functionality without cluttering the device’s sides.

As mentioned above, Edge Sense works even when the U11 is wet, since it’s all based on the pressure of your hand. Since it doesn’t recognize the presence of skin either, Edge Sense will also work when you’re wearing gloves. Even if you put a case over the U11, you can go back into the Edge Sense settings and adjust the pressure sensitivity so the feature works even while the case is on.

Overall, I enjoyed using Edge Sense more than I thought I would. I appreciate this design choice over adding another button or two to the sides of the U11, and I appreciate even more that it’s fully customizable. Unlike Samsung’s Bixby button that really only has one use, HTC’s Edge Sense can be what you want it to be. If you’re not a huge fan of Edge Sense, you can turn it off as well—and since there are no extra physical buttons, you won’t even know Edge Sense exists if you disable it entirely.

Cameras

The solid 12MP rear camera and 16MP front-facing camera from the HTC 10 have carried over to the U11. Most of the pictures I took outside in natural light are bright and full of color. With photos taken in sunlight on the HTC 10, colors sometimes appeared gray and washed-out, but that didn’t happen as much on the U11. There were a few times when the camera brightened the sunlight a bit too much, producing colors that weren’t as rich as those produced by the Galaxy S7 Edge—but instances of that issue were few and far between. Low-light photos continue to be noticeably brighter than those taken with the S7 Edge.

Software

The app drawer is pretty cluttered when you boot up the U11 for the first time. Many of the pre-installed apps are Google products, but a number of HTC apps are squeezed in as well: Boost+ for optimizing power and managing apps, HTC Help for troubleshooting, Themes for decorating your phone’s UI, and the like. Having so many apps already installed on the device before you even get to customize it is annoying, but the good news is that most of them can be uninstalled easily.

The biggest piece of HTC software on the U11 is the Sense Companion AI, which learns about you, your interests, and your phone habits to provide all kinds of suggestions, like where to go to dinner, with whom to share a photo, and which apps to delete.

As you use the U11, the AI learns how you use your phone, and a small blue orb will float into the display when it has a suggestion for you. You can also go into the HTC Sense Companion app to see a full list of the most recent suggestions if you tend to ignore the orb. Those tips are presented much like Google Now info cards are, with little doodles and text with information like traffic updates, weather changes, and more.

Where HTC’s AI comes in handy is for device optimization: HTC told Ars that Sense Companion may tell you that you have 20 apps on your U11 that you haven’t used in a month and suggest deleting them so you have more space. Over time, Sense Companion will also be smart enough to remind you to charge your smartphone during free times of the day when you have a busy schedule. Allowing Sense Companion access to your calendar will help it understand your schedule and suggest times to charge up on days when you have back-to-back meetings.

A note about Amazon’s Alexa: our review unit didn’t have Alexa yet. According to HTC, U11 devices will receive Alexa through an update to the Alexa Android app. Unlike Huawei’s integration with Alexa, you won’t need to open an app to access Amazon’s virtual assistant—the wake word “Alexa” will be enough to trigger a response. But the Alexa app will be necessary to configure and personalize the virtual assistant. Our review unit had Google Assistant only, which you can access by saying “OK Google” or long-pressing the home button.

A great feature that HTC brought over from the HTC 10 is adoptable storage. Introduced in Android 6.0, this feature lets the device “merge” internal and microSD card storage. The U11 comes with 64GB of onboard storage, but with the help of a microSD card, it could mimic a handset with up to 2TB of internal storage. After inserting a microSD card, you just have to go into the device settings and format the card’s storage as internal. Then the system will move apps and programs around as needed automatically, rather than making you manually choose where everything needs to be.

Software and security updates

The U11 has the April 1, 2017 security patch and will receive Android O, but HTC didn’t say when. The company also told Ars that smaller updates will depend on “carrier lab approval, scale, and urgency of the update.” Our review unit is a U11 on Sprint, and HTC says that model will get its first update at the end of this month or early July.

The U11 ships with the latest version of Android, which is great, especially since Samsung’s and LG’s flagships don’t (the S8 and the G6 ship with Android 7.0). But in the past, HTC’s major Android updates have been quite carrier-dependent. The unlocked HTC 10 received Nougat three months after the software’s initial launch, while the T-Mobile model waited five months for it. Updates only got worse from there, with the Sprint model waiting six months and the Verizon model waiting seven months for Nougat.

If you want the fastest update to Android O in the future, you should probably go with the unlocked version of the U11. Otherwise, it’s hard to say when your model will get the latest version of Android.

Even worse for HTC is the uncertainty of its security updates. There’s no guarantee that all U11 models will receive every security update in a timely fashion. Not only is that terrible in comparison to Samsung, LG, and Google, which all provide monthly security updates to their flagships, but HTC has also had legal troubles in the past surrounding this issue. In 2013, the FTC reached a settlement with HTC that required the company to patch notable security holes in millions of its Android smartphones and tablets. HTC is subject to a security review for 20 years after that settlement as well.

Listing image by Valentina Palladino

Video: HTC U11 doesn’t hold up well in bend test

.

Whenever a new smartphone is launched, the world waits for a durability test from popular YouTube channel, JerryRigEverything. Until now, Zach from JerryRigEverything has taken certain flagships through his rigorous durability tests, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Xiaomi Mi 6. Now, HTC’s latest flagship is the latest smartphone to go through his tests and it comes out with unexpected results.

The HTC U11’s body is made of a glass-metal combo and that does not sound very assuring on paper. However, HTC has perfected the art of making phones with glass panels that can undergo drops and bends impressively, like Samsung. That explains the reason why the HTC U11 was able to keep its rear glass intact in the bend test, even though the front glass panel shattered. It seems that the functional surfaces of HTC U11 are prone to scratches and shatters whereas decorative surfaces like the rear panel hold up quite well. HTC’s latest flagship is the latest smartphone to go through his tests and it comes out with unexpected results.

The reason we say that because, like the front panel that shattered, the ‘Edge Sense’ side frame was also prone to extreme bending. The metal frame provides a limited structural support to the handset, thus deforming the U11 under some stress. The front display panel is also subject to scratches from sand particles while being unaffected from coins and other stuff that stay in pockets.

While the U11 doesn’t hold up as well as the Galaxy S8, considering the Samsung flagship has more delicate glass surfaces than the U11, the U11’s Edge Sense frame needs some kind of structural strengthening, which we hope that HTC could come up with during the life cycle of the U11.

 

HTC U11 Squeezable phone launched in India: Key specs, price, and more

 

HTC U11 smartphone with the new ‘Edge sense’ feature has been launched in India. HTC’s new U11 is also called the ‘Squeezable phone’ thanks to its Edge sense feature, and the upcoming phone is priced at Rs 51,990 for 6GB RAM+128GB storage variant. HTC U11 will be available starting June end.

HTC U11 Squeezable feature aka Edge Sense

HTC U11 comes with something called Edge Sense, where a user can squeeze the smartphone to set certain commands and functions. For instance, the squeeze can be customised to open an email app, or a game, open the camera app, take a picture, activate any of the voice assistants. Essentially the ‘squeeze’ gesture can be customized by the user for whatever action they prefer. HTC’s Edge Sense can be used even with gloves on, and the phone will work fine.

HTC U11 Design and Specifications

In terms of design, HTC U11 continues with the 3D Liquid Surface design we saw on the HTC U Ultra Play. This phone will come in blue, black, red and silver colour options, and the overall finish is glossy, which did make the earlier HTC U Ultra a little slippery. Dimensions of the HTC U11 are 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm, and it sports a 5.5 inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution display. HTC is using the Super LCD 5 display with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top.HTC U11, HTC U11 price in India, HTC U11 Squeezable phone, HTC Squeezable phone, HTC Edge Sense

HTC U11 also runs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, which is a 64 bit octa-core one with up to 2.45 Ghz clock speed. The RAM and storage variant mentioned is 4GB + 64GB and 6GB RAM + 128GB storage. This one has a dual-SIM hybrid slot with microSD support, and the storage is expandable up to 2TB.

On the camera front, HTC U11 comes with 12MP rear camera with the company’s UltraPixel 3 one. It has 1.4μm pixel size, UltraSpeed Autofocus, BSI sensor and OIS. The aperture is ƒ/1.7 and there’s Dual LED flash on board. HTC has added a Pro mode with manual control as well as RAW format support on this phone. The camera is capable of 4K recording with 3D Audio, Hi-Res audio, Acoustic Focus as well. The front camera is 16MP with BSI sensor, live make-up, auto Selfie, Voice Selfie and HDR boost, along with support for 1080p video recording.

HTC U11 is a 4G-VoLTE enabled smartphone with support for most the major bands for India, including Band 5, Band 40, Band 41, etc. HTC says the U11 is capable of support Cat 15 LTE with download speeds up to 800Mbps. On the sound, audio quality HTC U11 has the company’s HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation as well as HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition. Sensors on the HTC U11 are Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor Motion G-sensor, Compass sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetic sensor, Fingerprint sensor, Sensor Hub, Edge Sensor.

For connectivity, HTC U11 also supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz). It has a 3000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 and Type-C charging port. HTC is promising 24.5 Hours talk time with 3G/4G on this phone

 

HTC U11 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6 vs Sony Xperia XZ Premium: Price in India, Specifications Compared

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • HTC U11 was launched in India on Friday
  • The smartphone will be available for purchase from later this month
  • HTC U11 has been priced in India at Rs. 51,990

HTC launched the HTC U11 ‘squeezable’ smartphone in India on Friday and interestingly, the company chose to skip the 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage variant for the country and introduced only the 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage variant. The smartphone has been priced at Rs. 51,990 and in this price range it will be competing against the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, and Sony Xperia XZ Premium. If you are confused whether HTC U11 is the right smartphone for you or another model is better, we will help you figure out how it compares against the competition.

HTC U11
The HTC U11 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat with the company’s HTC Sense skin on top. It sports a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) Super LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top. Powering the HTC U11 is a 2.45GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and, as mentioned earlier, the India variant gets 6GB of RAM. It is offered with 128GB of built-in storage, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 2TB).

The smartphone’s unique feature is called Edge Sense, which allows users to launch apps, switch on flash light, or even take screenshots by simply squeezing the smartphone from its sides.

The HTC U11 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.4-micron pixel, ultra spread autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS, f/1.7 aperture, dual-LED flash, slow-motion, and 4K video recording. Over on the front, you get a 16-megapixel camera with BSI sensor, full-HD recording.

Some of the camera features of the HTC U11 include Face Detection, Pro mode with manual control, 32-second long exposure, and RAW format support, HDR Boost, Panorama, and Hyperlapse. Additionally, the front camera gets live make-up, auto selfie, voice selfie, HDR Boost, and Selfie Panorama options. The company claims that the HTC U11 achieved that highest ever rating for a smartphone camera by independent metric DxOMark1 with a score of 90.

Samsung Galaxy S8
While the South Korean company launched the Galaxy S8 smartphone with Snapdragon 835 processor internationally, it launched the phone with Exynos 9985 processor variant in India. Currently available at Rs. 57,900, the Samsung Galaxy S8 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box and sports a 5.8-inch bezel-less ‘Infinity Display’ with 1440×2960 pixel resolution. The Galaxy S8 packs 4GB of RAM and features 64GB internal storage, which is expandable up to 256GB.

In terms of optics, the Galaxy S8 comes with a 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera and an 8-megapixel camera at front. The connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G connectivity, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0, and a USB Type-C port. The smartphone houses a 3000mAh battery that supports fast-charging.

While in terms of performance, Snapdragon 835 processor definitely puts HTC U11 ahead of the G6, the recent price drop and the FullVision display might make it the preferable choice for some customers.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Sony launched its Xperia XZ Premium smartphone in India earlier this month. The smartphone is currently available in India at a price of Rs. 59,990. The highlight feature on the smartphone is its 19-megapixel Motion Eye camera with a 1/2.3-inch Exmor RS memory stacked sensor that’s capable of shooting videos at 960 frames per second. At front, the Xperia XZ Premium has a 13-megapixel sensor 1/3.06-inch Exmor RS sensor that’s coupled with 22mm wide-angle f/2.0 lens.

The phone runs Android 7.1 Nougat and sports a 5.5-inch 4K (2160×3840 pixels) HDR Triluminos display. Notably, Xperia XZ Premium was the first smartphone with Snapdragon 835 that was launched in India. The phone features 4GB of RAM and comes with 64GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB). The Xperia XZ Premium houses a 3230mAh non-removable battery with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology.HTC U11 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 vs LG G6 vs Sony Xperia XZ Premium: Price in India, Specifications Compared

The connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS/ A-GPS, USB Type-C (3.1), and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Conclusion
As you can see from the specifications, HTC U11 offers more RAM than other smartphones in comparison and has other basics covered too. However, the unique design offered by Galaxy S8 and the FullVision display offered by LG might be preferred by many users. Xperia XZ Premium is the most expensive smartphone under consideration. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our retailed review of the HTC U11 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

HTC U11 VS SONY XPERIA XZ PREMIUM VS SAMSUNG GALAXY S8 VS LG G6 COMPARISON

HTC U11
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Samsung Galaxy S8
LG G6
Rs. 59,990Buy Now Rs. 38,990Buy Now
Rs. 57,900Buy Now
Rs. 57,900Buy Now Rs. 41,990Buy Now
Compare HTC U11 Compare Sony Xperia XZ Premium Compare Samsung Galaxy S8 Compare LG G6
RATINGS
Overall NDTV Rating
Design Rating
Display Rating
Software Rating
Performance Rating
Battery Life Rating
Camera Rating
Value for money Rating
GENERAL
Release date May 2017 February 2017 March 2017 February 2017
Dimensions (mm) 153.90 x 75.90 x 7.90 156.00 x 77.00 x 7.90 148.90 x 68.10 x 8.00 148.90 x 71.90 x 7.90
Weight (g) 169.00 191.00 155.00 163.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 3000 3230 3000 3300
Removable battery No No No No
Colours Amazing Silver, Brilliant Black Luminous Chrome, Deepsea Black Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold Ice Platinum, Astro Black, Mystic White
DISPLAY
Screen size (inches) 5.50 5.50 5.80 5.70
Resolution 1440×2560 pixels 2160×3840 pixels 1440×2960 pixels 1440×2880 pixels
Pixels per inch (PPI) 570 564
HARDWARE
Processor 2.45GHz octa-core octa-core 1.9GHz octa-core
Processor make Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Samsung Exynos 8895 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM 6GB 4GB 4GB 4GB
Internal storage 128GB 64GB 64GB 32GB
Expandable storage Yes Yes Yes Yes
Expandable storage type microSD microSD microSD microSD
Expandable storage up to (GB) 2000 256 256 2000
CAMERA
Rear camera 12-Ultrapixel 19-megapixel 12-megapixel 13-megapixel
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Front camera 16-megapixel 13-megapixel 8-megapixel 5-megapixel
SOFTWARE
Operating System Android 7.1 Android 7.1.1 Android 7.0 Android 7.0
Skin Sense 8.0
CONNECTIVITY
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.20 Yes Yes Yes, v 4.20
NFC Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of SIMs 2 2 1 1
SIM1
SIM Type Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
4G/LTE Yes Yes Yes Yes
SIM2
SIM Type Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
4G/LTE Yes Yes
SENSORS
Compass/ Magnetometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Proximity sensor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barometer No Yes No No
Temperature sensor No No No No
HTC U11

HTC U11

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

2.45GHz octa-core

Front Camera

16-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

6GB

OS

Android 7.1

Storage

128GB

Rear Camera

12-Ultrapixel

Battery Capacity

3000mAh

Also See
  • HTC Mini Plus BL R120 (Silver)
    Rs. 599
  • HTC Desire 326G Dual SIM (White Birch, 8GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 6,269
Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8

Rs. 57,900
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Gorgeous looks and excellent construction quality
  • Brilliant displays
  • Phenomenal camera quality
  • Class-leading performance
  • Bad
  • No flat screen option
  • Nearly unusable fingerprint reader
  • Software stuffed with unnecessary features
BUY AT
  • SAMSUNG Galaxy S8 (Midnight Black, 64GB, 4GB RAM) – OFFER
    Rs. 57,900
LG G6

LG G6

Rs. 38,990
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Impressive material and construction quality
  • Excellent screen
  • Great camera quality and dual lens implementation
  • Solid battery life
  • Bad
  • Processor will be outdated soon
  • Inconvenient power button
  • Not as stylish as the competition
BUY AT
  • LG G6 (Astro Black, 64GB) –
    Rs. 38,990
  • LG G6 (Ice Platinum, 64 GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 41,990
Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Good build quality, water resistant
  • 4K HDR display
  • Doesn’t overheat under stress
  • Very good cameras
  • Bad
  • Fiddly SIM card tray
  • Bulky and dated design
  • Chrome version is an acquired taste
Also See
  • LG V20 (Silver, 64GB) –
    Rs. 54,980
  • Google Pixel XL (Very Silver, 32GB) – OFFER
    Rs. 54,000

 

HTC U11 Review

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The HTC U11 competes with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and OnePlus 5
  • You can squeeze the phone to launch the camera and quickly take a photo
  • Gadgets 360 rates the HTC U11 9 out of 10

When we reviewed the HTC U Ultra just over three months ago, we said that it felt like a stopgap device, used to fill space before a true 2017 flagship could be launched and grab at least a little bit of the attention its competitors were getting. It seemed obvious that HTC was waiting for a supply of Qualcomm’s hot new Snapdragon 835 processor, and so we advised anyone interested in the HTC U Ultra for its looks to hang on for a little while before spending Rs. 60,000. As it turns out, we were exactly right. The HTC U11is already here and not only is it a lot more powerful than the U Ultra, but it also costs less.

With a launch price of Rs. 51,990, the HTC U11 is significantly more appealing than the U Ultra was at Rs. 59,990. It’s also got HTC’s brand new “squeezable” Edge Sense feature to set it apart. One big thing that the U11 lacks compared to the U Ultra is its secondary screen. However, this makes it slightly smaller, which a lot of people would, in fact, consider a good thing. With all of this to consider, we spent some time with the brand new U11 to figure out whether HTC has managed to get it right in round two.

HTC U11 design

Even if we didn’t totally love the colour of the U Ultra unit we got, we liked the fact that HTC had done something completely new and different with its design. Our U11 review unit has exactly the same ultra-glossy rear, but in an even lighter and brighter shade of blue (which for some reason is called Amazing Silver). HTC says that it has developed a new way to bond layers of glass with “highly refractive precious minerals”, which gives the material its metallic liquid look. It can also look very different under different types of light. The metal band around the sides is a slightly duller shade of blue, which makes the rear really pop. There’s also a Brilliant Black version, but this is the one you’ll want if you like showing off.

The finish of the rear is extraordinarily shiny and reflective, which means that every little smudge and fingerprint will be on display. The U11 might look great in a showroom, but there is literally no way to handle it without smudging the rear. Even if you wipe it all the time, you cannot avoid messing it up again, so it’s never really going to look as good as it does when you first lay eyes on it. HTC does throw a clear plastic case in with the retail package, but having it on makes the phone feel cheaper.

The front of the HTC U11 is a lot more conventional, with just a black face and the now-obligatory 2.5D curved-edge glass. Unlike its competitors, HTC hasn’t gotten rid of side borders for its flagship and, in fact, says that this is a good thing because otherwise screen content would be cropped or distorted at the edges – which is true. You can see the front camera and earpiece above the screen, but it would be easy to miss the narrow fingerprint sensor below it. The sensor doubles as a capacitive Home button, and you have the Back and Overview buttons on either side which light up when they’re touched.

The power and volume buttons are within easy reach on the right, and the left side is completely bare. What you can’t see are the “squeezable” Edge Sense zones which are on either side of the lower half of the phone. There’s a hybrid dual-SIM tray at the top and a Type-C port at the bottom. Also at the bottom is a single open slot instead of the usual speaker grille. Rather than having two stereo speakers, HTC has decided to go with the earpiece doubling as a tweeter with a separate woofer at the bottom. We’re going to test the efficacy of this design for ourselves, but we’re concerned about dust and lint collecting over time. Oh, and you won’t find a 3.5mm audio socket anywhere.

htc u11 front3 ndtv htc u11

There’s only a single camera at the back, which sets the U11 apart from the majority of its competitors this generation. The camera protrudes just a tiny bit, but we didn’t mind that as much as the extremely prominent regulatory text lower down. We noticed the lack of a laser autofocus sensor, which the U Ultra does have. On the other hand, the U11 boasts an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, while the U Ultra has no rating at all.

We criticised the U Ultra for being so slippery that we were constantly anxious about it falling out of our hands and pockets, and we’re quite relieved to find that HTC seems to have fixed this problem completely with the U11. The newer model is also a much more comfortable size and has curves in all the right places, making it very easy to hold and use even with one hand. Construction quality seems absolutely top-notch too.

HTC U11 specifications and software

Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 835 processor is one of the main reasons for the U11’s existence. This is an octa-core CPU running at up to 2.45GHz, with an integrated Adreno 540 GPU and several hardware-level improvements targeted at everything from camera image processing to machine learning and sensors. You get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, both of which are healthy amounts. A version with 4GB and 64GB respectively is available in some countries but hasn’t been launched in India, for now at least.

The 5.5-inch screen on the U11 is what HTC calls “Super LCD 5”, and has a resolution of 1440×2560. There’s a 3000mAh battery and pretty much every connectivity option you can think of, including dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS with GLONASS, and of course 4G with VoLTE support. The USB Type-C port supports 5Gbps transfer speeds and DisplayPort video output. The HTC U11 can take two Nano-SIMs, with the second space doubling as a microSD card slot.

Despite a higher version number, the HTC Sense skin running on top of Android 7.1 feels exactly the same as what we saw on the U Ultra. It’s still fairly versatile, but not the best looking. HTC had announced its Sense Companion AI assistant with much fanfare when the U Ultra launched, and it wasn’t even close to fully baked at the time of the U Ultra’s launch. We found its functions largely pointless, and the promised voice response features were simply missing. Evidently, it still isn’t ready for primetime, and we didn’t find any of its barebones features helpful all during our review period. Perhaps it takes longer than a week to learn a user’s routine, but even then, it’s hard to get excited about weather updates, step counts, and lists of nearby restaurants.

The Blinkfeed screen, to the left of the main home screen, is supposed to show news updates but only has ads for HTC’s themes and third-party apps. You have to dig into the settings and enable News Republic and your assorted social media accounts as sources, which seems totally unnecessary. There are also loads of preinstalled apps. You can’t get rid of most of them including TouchPal keyboard, Facebook Messenger, and News Republic – though oddly you can uninstall HTC’s own Viveport and Zoe apps.

htc u11 upperrear ndtv htc u11

HTC sends popup notifications for “offers, contests and news by HTC and its partners”, but there’s a checkbox you can clear in the launcher settings menu. The app drawer scrolls vertically and page by page, which can be annoying. The default keyboard is called Sangam IME and while it looks a little crude, it offers local-language suggestions and spellcheck which might be useful to people in India. The default language is Indian English, and so you won’t be able to use Google Assistant unless you change to US English.

HTC U11 Edge Sense

There are a few gestures you can use navigate around Android and unlock the phone, but of course the real innovation here is Edge Sense. It’s off by default to prevent confusion, but you’ll see hints urging you to set it up and learn how it works. All you have to do is squeeze gently while the phone is in your hands, and you can trigger an action such as launching the camera or voice recorder, triggering the flashlight, or beginning voice-to-text transcription. If you enable “advanced mode”, you can set different triggers for short, regular and long squeezes. If you choose either the camera or voice recorder triggers, a second squeeze will begin recording.

You’ll see blue arcs appear on either side of the screen when you are pressing inwards, and a short vibration tells you that the squeeze has been registered – you can turn the visual feedback off once you’re comfortable with Edge Sense. At setup time, you’ll be able to calibrate the sensors to your grip strength.

While it might sound gimmicky, we actually found ourselves squeezing to launch the camera all the time – it’s surprisingly easy to get used to and it just makes a lot of sense. It also helps that this works when the camera is in standby, which means that you can take photos really quickly. Squeezing is a lot more fluid than double-tapping or hitting a button to wake the phone and then swiping. The only downside is that you can’t specify that you want to capture a photo or a video; the app will trigger whichever mode you were in last.

Of course your choices of hard cases will be limited if you want to use HTC U11’s Edge Sense feature, but we forsee plenty of options with flexible sides becoming available for the U11 and future models. This is a feature that could really become popular, and we hope HTC takes this idea and runs with it.

htc u11 bottom ndtv htc u11

HTC U11 cameras

While most flagships (and for that matter, plenty of non-flagships) now have dual rear cameras, HTC seems content to stick to one. This is surprising considering that HTC was one of the early pioneers of dual cameras with the HTC One (M8). You don’t get an extra zoom or wide-angle lens, depth sensing, or detail enhancement, but HTC is claiming that this is the best ever smartphone camera even without extra hardware, and this is backed up by DxOMark, a highly regarded camera test firm.

There’s a lot going on to make that happen. The main camera has only a 12-megapixel sensor, but can go down to f/1.7. The U11 uses every pixel on its sensor to detect focus quickly, and can also deliver rapid HDR shots with an increased range between shadows and highlights. HTC says that this also comes into play with video – a technique called temporal noise reduction uses information from each frame’s preceding and following frames to clear up noise and improve detail. Low-light sensitivity is a particular strength, and there’s both optical and electronic image stabilisation.

HTC’s camera app looks relatively bare-bones, with only a few buttons and no sheets of options that pop up when you swipe in any direction. There’s a single menu with a row of icons for various modes, and depending on which one you’re in, you’ll see options right below that. It’s only if you switch to Pro mode that you’ll see more controls, including the option to save RAW data, and sliders for white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and focus. There are even presets – Night, Action, and Macro – which give you optimal combinations of those variables to suit each situation. There aren’t any filters, stickers or fun effects, but third-party apps almost always do that kind of thing better anyway.

When it comes to photo quality, we have to agree with HTC – this is one of the best smartphone cameras we’ve ever used. It delivers truly surprising quality in all kinds of situations, especially low light. The sample shots we took were universally excellent, with crisp focus and great details. We didn’t have any trouble with over- or under- exposure, compression, or colour accuracy. Macros are stunning, but the thing that really blew us away was low-light performance.

The HTC U11 managed to take bright, colour-rich shots in conditions that seemed impossible – most other phones would only produce greyish blurs. These shots were not entirely without noise or blur thanks to longer exposures, but even the slightest amount of incidental light on a small part of the framed subject was enough to result in a usable shot.

The 16-megapixel front camera benefits from many of the same features, and delivers excellent shots as well. The video recording resolution goes up to 4K in regular mode and 1080p at 120fps in Slow Motion mode. “Acoustic focus” uses the phone’s four microphones to isolate subjects from background noise. Motion is smooth, and videos were just as impressive as stills overall.

If there’s anything negative to be said about the U11’s camera, it’s that there isn’t as much creative control as there is with some dual-lens implementations – optical zoom would have been the perfect addition. The app was also sometimes too eager to take bursts when we didn’t necessarily want them – but this worked out to our advantage in some cases, such as trying to get a steady shot of a moving subject at night.

Tap to see full-sized HTC U11 sample photos

HTC U11 performance and battery life

We had a lot of fun using the U11, especially because of its screen, cameras and speakers. HTC must have realised it was pointless to try and deliver stereo sound with asymmetrical speakers, and so having an independent woofer instead works much better. Sound is surprisingly loud, rich, and clear. It works brilliantly for games and movies, and various types of music are also handled quite nicely. The U11 comes with the same noise cancelling Type-C Usonic headset that we first encountered with the U Ultra.

The display is sharp and bright, and perfectly usable in all conditions and at all angles. HTC is correct about videos not being compromised by curved display edges, but the 2.5D glass front is still highly reflective. We did notice that the mid-rear of the phone got warm after even short amounts of casual use, but not enough to be uncomfortable.

Benchmark tests showed excellent results. We saw 181,626 points in AnTuTu; 1,908 and 6,581 in Geekbench’s single- and multi-core tests; 142.97 in Basemark Web; 39,962 points in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited; and 19fps in GFXBench’s Manhattan test at the native QHD resolution. Benchmark performance in most cases was equal to or better than that of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, and at par with the OnePlus 5.

Battery life is pretty good, and we were happy with the amount of usage we were able to get out of a full charge. You should be able to get through a full day with some audio/ video streaming, photography, and gaming thrown in. Our HD video loop test ran for 10 hours, 7 minutes which is just about the bare minimum we now expect from phones of this calibre.

Verdict
If we had paid the full launch price for an HTC U Ultra less than four months before the HTC U11, we’d be extremely put off with the company right now. The U Ultra is utterly and completely outclassed by the U11. We don’t miss the secondary screen at all, and almost all of our concerns and complaints about it have been addressed with this new model. This is the phone that HTC needed to launch in February or March, and we don’t see the point in alienating customers this way.

That said, even on its own, the U11 is a top-notch smartphone. It doesn’t have dual cameras or other tricks, and it doesn’t have the taller screens that its main competitors are now offering, but it’s gorgeous and powerful, with a camera that can deliver miracles in low light. Edge Sense quickly becomes second nature, and the Snapdragon 835 has plenty of headroom for demanding apps over the next few years. The chief disappointments are the non-starter Sense Companion UI and pedestrian battery life.

This phone is a serious contender, and it’s nice to see HTC at the top of its game again. The U11 goes up against the Samsung Galaxy S8 series and OnePlus 5, all of which have at least one standout USP. Your choice comes down to whether your top priority is taking incredible photos, looking great, or saving some money.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

HTC U11

HTC U11

Rs. 51,990
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Value for money
  • Good
  • Stunning low-light camera performance
  • Looks great
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Useful “Edge Sense” squeeze gesture
  • Top-tier specifications
  • Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Sense Companion not ready yet
BUY AT
  • HTC U11 (Amazing Silver, 128GB, 6GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 51,990
  • HTC U11 (Brilliant Black, 128GB, 6GB RAM) – 
    Rs. 51,990

 

HTC now sells the U11 for only $599

HTC’s latest flagship U11 has a MSRP of $649, but now the Taiwanese company is offering it for $599. It is unlocked and compatible with three of the four major US carriers.

The unlocked U11 can be purchased in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black or Solar Red. When added to the cart, just add the code AMAZINGU11, and then the price will automatically change. Standard delivery is free, and the price is final and tax-free.

The deal works for the unlocked version, which works on AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. Sadly, Sprint customers will not have the ability to benefit, since their version is still out of stock.

The promo code will be available until July 1.

 

HTC U11 Review: A ‘Squeezable’ Smartphone Designed to Flaunt

 

Quick Question: What’s common between an orange, a forearm exerciser and HTC’s new primo product called U11?

Answer: You can squeeze all of them!

Yes, that’s what HTC claims to be the U11’s UPS, “the squeezable smartphone”.

PS: Sorry for the lame forearm exerciser joke!

https://giphy.com/embed/3o7TKPdUkkbCAVqWk0via GIPHY

Yes, the HTC U11 looks something out of HTC’s top drawer, but the company seems to be trying too hard to make up for the shortcoming of the HTC U Ultra and U Play.

Does the HTC U11 really make you squeeze that extra buck out of your pocket? Let’s take a look.

Snapshot

Click here to collapse

Pros:

  • Great display
  • Battery life is good
  • Camera clicks excellent pictures
  • Clean UI
  • Beautiful mirror finish
  • Edge Sense
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • Attracts smudges & fingerprints
  • Slippery in the hand
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

What’s Good?

The fact that I could squeeze and play with the phone instantly made me like the HTC U11. The ‘squeeze’ feature acts like a shortcut gesture, something like what we have seen with Moto’s flick gesture or OnePlus’ Alert Slider. Although, I feel HTC’s gesture squeeze is the most intuitive.

The HTC U11’s Edge Sense feature allows you to squeeze the phone where the pressure sensors on the phone’s sides helps you interact with different applications of the phone.

You have options like “short squeeze” or “squeeze and hold”. The company has said that they will add more gestures in the future. The liquid glass surface design looks beautiful and I loved the way it reflects different colours in different lights.

(Photo: The Quint)

The 5.5-inch quad-HD display is fantastic! HTC didn’t stretch this one, unlike the S8 or the G6 display and stuck to the traditional thick bezel design. It offers great viewing angles and performs well even under direct sunlight.

The phone is running on the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM. A standard in today’s flagships. Performance is great and really didn’t have any problems with the phone. HTC has kept the phone devoid of bloatware which gives some extra points to the U11 and also makes the Android Nougat experience much better.

HTC U11 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat
HTC U11 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat (Photo: The Quint)

The HTC U11 comes with IP67 water-resistance, which means that the phone can be completely submerged underwater.

Apart from the 64GB of on-board storage it comes with an option to expand and we always like that. The same woofer and tweeter combo gets carried forward from the HTC 10 but this time the audio via the speakers sounds much more refined and louder.

Also, despite the fact that the 3.5mm jack has been removed from the setup, audio via the USB type-C headphones was remarkable. The headphones also offer noise cancellation so that makes the deal more sweeter.

The 12-megapixel rear camera on the HTC U11 is one of the best out there.
The 12-megapixel rear camera on the HTC U11 is one of the best out there. (Photo: The Quint)

Camera quality is excellent. It’s rated to be the best camera according to the DxOMark ratings. Snaps in daylight look excellent via the 12-megapixel rear camera. The 16-megapixel front camera is also ‘wow’. Just to round it up, you won’t have any complaints with the camera on the U11.

3000mAh battery on the HTC U11 is enough to last you the entire day
3000mAh battery on the HTC U11 is enough to last you the entire day (Photo: The Quint)

Despite the fact that 3000mAh on paper might look underwhelming that HTC U11’s battery performed really well. After a complete days use there was still enough charge at the end of the day for your evening Youtube matinee.

What’s Bad?

This list is going to be very short because it was really tough finding anything wrong with the U11. To start with, the liquid surface design might look beautiful but it attracts a lot of smudges and fingerprints so always carry a cleaning cloth if you want to flaunt this phone.

Although the HTC Sense squeeze feature is pretty innovative, it is prone to a lot of accidental activation. Sometimes you might accidentally trigger the application inadvertently by gripping the phone too hard (happened with me). Though not a deal breaker, it has to be used carefully.

On-board you have three virtual assistants like HTC’s Sense UI, Amazon’s Alexa and even Google Assistant. Okay, Alexa isn’t in India yet, but isn’t one assistant enough?

Also, photos in low light settings have overblown highlights. It is clear that the camera tries to overcompensate for the dark areas.

Worth Buying?

At Rs 51,990 the HTC U11 is the most aggressively priced flagship in India. It has the wherewithal to hold its own and compete shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the S8 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

No 3.5mm headphone jack on the HTC U11
No 3.5mm headphone jack on the HTC U11 (Photo: The Quint)

The only thing working against HTC is that they are still under the spotlight because the HTC U Play and Ultra weren’t a huge hit and customers are now weary about the U11 the same way. Don’t worry people, the U11 is a much better gizmo and justifies its price tag appropriately.

 

HTC U11 review: A flagship device that’s well worth the money

Rating: *****

Price: Rs 51, 990

Specifications: 5.5-inch IPS LCD (2560 x 1440 pixels), Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage (expandable), hybrid dual SIM, 12MP primary camera with OIS, 16MP front camera, 4G with VoLTE, dual band WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, fingerprint scanner, dual speakers, IP67 certified, USB Type-C, Android 7.0, 3,000mAh battery, 169 grams.
HTC’s U series of smartphones (U Ultra and U Play), did not receive a favourable response, which we think was due to the steep pricing. Now it seems that someone at HTC has had a change of heart. This is probably why the recently launched HTC U11 — their latest flagship smartphone — is priced at an aggressive Rs 51,990.

With the U11, HTC continues with the ‘liquid glass’ surface design that we saw on the earlier U series devices. It has a mirror-like surface which gives the phone different hues depending on the ambient light. Obviously, this also makes it prone to fingerprints and smudges. You will need to use it with a case and helpfully, HTC provides a transparent soft case in the box. The rear has a slight curve which makes it comfortable to hold and at 169 grams, the U11 feels well balanced. The 3.5mm jack is gone (much to our chagrin) but HTC does provide a USB type C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.

One of the headlining features on this HTC flagship is ‘Edge Sense’. The phone has a pressure sensitive frame (the bottom half on both sides) that can be setup to perform a function when you ‘squeeze’ the phone. This works even if the phone is locked. You can change how hard you need to squeeze it for the action. Set it too light and it might trigger when you normally hold the phone. Too hard and you’ll need your full grip strength. Using this squeeze function, you can choose to launch the camera, take a screenshot, turn on the flashlight and so on. In advanced mode, you can set one function for a short squeeze and another for squeeze and hold. It sounds like a gimmick but it works really well once you identify the squeeze force level comfortable for you. Kudos to HTC for this perfect implementation of a new method of interaction with a smartphone.

Up front is a 5.5-inch 2k display (super LCD 5) with slim bezels, excellent brightness and vivid colours. As is usual with HTC devices, the screen is great for watching videos, browsing the web, reading text as well as playing games. Even though this is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, we recommend you get a screen protector from the start. Under the screen is the physical home button with integrated fingerprint scanner, flanked by the recent/back buttons. The fingerprint scanner is one of the best we have used — works from any angle and unlocked the phone 10 out of 10 times in our usage.

HTC U11 review: A flagship device that's well worth the money

The U11 is a powerhouse in specifications – you get the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. It runs HTC’s Sense UI based on the latest Android 7.1. As for benchmarks, it performs at par with the OnePlus 5’s 8GB variant — this is one of the fastest Android phones around. Needless to say, it will deliver seamless performance with real world usage. We faced no issues in playing any game, 4k video, running multiple apps (over 30 apps simultaneously) and switching between them. The battery back up from 3,000mAh battery was as expected too — a full day with normal use. With heavy usage, you might have to charge the phone by the evening. Thankfully it supports QuickCharge 3.0 and HTC bundled a QC 3.0 adapter in the box. With the supplied cable and charger, it goes from 10% to 75% in an hour.

Camera test specialists DxOMark have given the HTC U11’s camera a score of 90 — the highest awarded to any smartphone till date. The U11 has a 12MP rear camera with OIS, f1.7, phase and laser autofocus — all of these combined deliver stellar results. Daylight, indoors or lowlight: it does not matter with the U11. It consistently delivers crisp photos with good details and rich colour. On the software front, there is a pro mode (with RAW format support), panorama mode and auto mode for photos while for videos you get normal, hyperlapse and slow motion.

Video recording quality is also best in class along with 3D audio recording, courtesy the 4 microphones. With the ‘acoustic focus’ audio feature, you can zoom in on a particular audio source while recording video (to record audio from only that source instead of 360-degree sound). In our opinion, the HTC U11’s camera stands neck and neck with our current favorites: SamsungS8/S8+, iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel. The front wide angle 16MP camera is no slouch either — the image quality is fantastic with minimal noise.

There are several other features on the HTC U11 that deserve mention. The loud dual loudspeaker output, IP67 certification for water and dust resistance, support for Google Assistant, HTC Sense Companion, bundled USonic headphones with active noise cancellation and up to 2TB storage expansion support. These features make the U11 stand out from the current crop. It doesn’t have an IR emitter though — would have been a welcome addition.

The aggressive pricing is a sensible move from HTC. At Rs 51,990, this is a flagship well worth the money. Yes, the OnePlus 5 does offer better specifications (you can get 8GB RAM for `37,999), but the HTC U11 has a number of advantages. With the Samsung Galaxy S8 still priced at Rs 57,900 (4GB RAM, 64GB storage), the HTC U11 has no other competition. We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a flagship device.

HTC U11

 

HTC U11 smartphone was launched in May 2017. The phone comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1440 pixels by 2560 pixels.

The HTC U11 is powered by 2.45GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and it comes with 4GB of RAM. The phone packs 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 2000GB via a microSD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the HTC U11 packs a 12-Ultrapixel primary camera on the rear and a 16-megapixel front shooter for selfies.

The HTC U11 runs Android 7.1 and is powered by a 3000mAh non removable battery. It measures 153.90 x 75.90 x 7.90 (height x width x thickness) and weigh 169.00 grams.U11

The HTC U11 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts Nano-SIM and Nano-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, USB OTG, 3G and 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India). Sensors on the phone include Compass Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor and Gyroscope.

About HTC

Founded in 1997 as a laptop manufacturer, Taiwan-based HTC soon began making smartphones based on Windows Mobile and Brew. It released the first commercial Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, in 2008, and is today a manufacturer of both Android and Windows based smartphones. HTC re-entered the tablet market with the Google Nexus 9 in 2014.

7 things we love about the HTC U11… and 6 things we hate about it

 

It might have been one of the last heavy hitters to make an appearance this year, but HTC didn’t disappoint with the U11: it’s a fantastic phone that is just begging to be slipped into your pocket.

With some of the most distinctive colour schemes we’ve seen on a phone since the crazy days of Nokia, and high-end hardware to match, there’s lots here to like.

Don’t think it’s all positive, though – because the U11 isn’t perfect. Here are some of the things that grind our gears about HTC’s latest, as well as the good stuff that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

7 THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT THE HTC U11

1) THOSE EYE-CATCHING COLOURS

There’s no getting away from it – the U11 has some truly terrific colour choices. HTC’s Liquid Surface glass adds different hues and shades to give the impression of a water droplet, one that shimmers and shifts colour when you hold it at different angles. Compared to a flat black Galaxy S8, or Space Grey iPhone 7, the HTC wins every time.

At launch, Amazing Silver is the star of the show, thanks to a mix of blues, purples and silver, polished up to a mirror finish, but wait a month or two and the luxurious Solar Red should arrive. It’s curiously crimson from the front, but switches to glorious gold at the edges. It’s a real stunner.Image result for 7 things we love about the HTC U11... and 6 things we hate about it

2) IT TAKES FANTASTIC PHOTOS

A 12MP sensor doesn’t sound all that impressive, but with dual-pixel autofocus and the world’s first 5-axis optical image stabilisation in a smartphone, the U11 punches well above its weight when it comes to the camera. The detail packed into each snap is fantastic, either matching or beating major rivals such as the iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.

It’s a dab hand when it comes to low light, too, thanks to an f/1.7 aperture that lets as much light hit the sensor as possible. HTC’s image processing algorithms are delicate, too, so detail isn’t stripped away just to hide noise.

3) WE’LL NEVER GET TIRED OF SQUEEZY SIDES

No, they don’t do very much right now, but the U11’s Edge Sense panels soon will. As a feature it’s bags of fun, and a totally different way to get things done on your phone. You can use those squeezable sides to do all manner of things: turning on your flashlight, for instance, or take a selfie, or summon Google Assistant (without having to shout “OK Google” first).

And that’s just the start. Once other apps support it properly, the possibilities will be huge.

4) IT’S A PERFORMANCE POWERHOUSE

Any discerning 2017 flagship phone has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 inside, and the U11 is no exception. That instantly gives it an edge over the likes of LG’s G6 and the Google Pixel, which make do with last year’s silicon. It’s quick enough to run just about anything you can throw at it from the Google Play Store, and has no trouble keeping Android 7 Nougat ticking over without any stutter or slowdown.

It’s not a battery hog, either. The U11 has a 3000mAh battery, but can easily last an entire day away from the mains – even if you’re feeding a serious Clash of Clans habit.

5) SPEAKERS THAT REALLY SING

Boomsound was easily one of the best things about HTC’s last-gen phones, and now we’ve got an even better version. They might not face forward any more, but the U11’s stereo speakers are so powerful that you won’t need a Bluetooth speaker to get the party started: just crank up the volume and let the phone do all the work.

Turning the inside of the handset into an acoustic chamber doesn’t exactly create a cacophony of bass, but it sounds much, much louder than any other flagship phone. Don’t think it’ll be nothing but distortion, either – sound quality really is very good for such a small set of speakers.

6) AMAZON’S ALEXA WILL SOON BE ON BOARD

The U11 will be the first phone to properly get Amazon’s Alexa, complete with wake word that’ll bring the handset out of standby and straight into the Alexa interface. Other phones have tried, but this is the first time we’ve seen it go completely hands-free.

That’s great, but one AI assistant just isn’t enough these days, and the U11 duly has room for two: Google Assistant is also onboard. While Alexa bests Assistant in areas such as smart home control, and will of course let you buy things on Amazon, Google’s helpful AI can still help out with Chromecast streaming and Google searches. The more the merrier, eh?

7) THE NOISE-CANCELLING CANS

Previous versions of HTC’s USonic ear buds already adjusted themselves to suit your own ear drums, using sonic pulses and built-in microphones to tweak the music EQ accordingly, but now they’ve got built-in noise cancelling too. And it really works!

OK, so it’s not quite as silence-inducing as a pair of noise-cancelling ‘phones from Bose or Sony, but they get the job done on public transport, and keep your office buddies from disturbing you when you’re trying to get some work done too. Not bad at all, seeing how they’re free and all.

AND 6 THINGS WE HATE ABOUT THE HTC U11

1) WHERE’S THE HEADPHONE JACK?

Come on, HTC – haven’t you learned by now? No-one wants to have to jam a dongle into their phone just to listen to music. The bundled USonic in-ears might be decent, and plenty of people have Bluetooth buds now, but that’s still no excuse.

If the mighty Apple can do it and still incur the wrath of its customers, there’s no way you can do the same and think you’ll get away with it. The bundled headphones don’t work in any other USB-C phone or laptop, either. Bring back the 3.5mm port!

2) THE BEZELS LOOK BEEFY NEXT TO THE COMPETITION

Samsung and LG did something a little different for 2017 – ditching the display bezels and finding room for 18:9 aspect ratio screens that stretch almost across the entire front of each phone. Samsung even added curved sides into the equation.

Sit either one of them next to the U11 and its thick top and bottom bezels make it look positively antiquated. The fingerprint sensor might be easier to reach on the HTC, but from the front you’d struggle to tell it was a 2017 phone. Its rivals are positively futuristic by comparison.

3) AN HDR SCREEN WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE, TOO

Both the G6 and Galaxy S8 also have HDR-ready displays, which let you watch Netflix or Amazon videos with more vibrant colours and greater contrast than you’ll find on a standard smartphone. HTC could have done something similar, but it decided not to bother.

OK, so we doubt many people are ready to stream HDR videos to their phone right now, but expect the tech to take off in the next year or so – and leave the U11 looking decidedly old hat.

4) SNAPS CAN FEEL A LITTLE SLUGGISH

As much as the U11 takes fantastic photos, it’s not quite as snap-happy as some of its big rivals. There’s a small delay between tapping the shutter button and the photo being saved. It’s not long enough to miss something crucial, but it’s still annoying – especially when the U11 is lightning-fast in just about every other area.

The Edge Sense shutter is even slower, but that’s because it needs to wait until your hand stops shaking after you’ve given the phone a squeeze. We don’t mind it so much here.

5) ALEXA AIN’T HERE JUST YET

Sure, we’re excited at having Amazon’s AI assistant built into our phones, and having Alexa accessible with a shout instead of a button press is a whole lot slicker than the setup you’ll find on other phones, but Alexa on the U11 isn’t ready just yet. We’ve got to wait till Amazon decides to give the green signal for Alexa to arrive in India.

Seeing how this is one of the things that helps the U11 stand out from the competition, we’re hoping HTC can get everything in place before its rivals do something similar.

6) EDGE SENSE DOESN’T SEE SENSE… RIGHT NOW

Those squeeze-able sides are a fun little extra right now – one that HTC says will be a lot more useful once its customisation app arrives in July. Until it does, though, Edge Sense is just another way of opening the camera app, or summoning Google Assistant.

You aren’t going to buy a phone on potential alone, so we’ll just have to wait until the app turns up to see if Edge Sense is truly as revolutionary as HTC says it will be.

We’ll get you the full review when HTC give us the go signal for the Indian launch dates.