The wait is over and HTC has finally released their new shiny flagship. The U 11 approaches 2017 from a new perspective with it’s own unique feature called Edge Sense. Let’s see what HTC has to offer and how it tries to stand out among the large crowd of other manufacturers.
SPECIFICATIONS & HARDWARE
Specification wise, the new HTC flagship offers everything that we can and would expect from a 2017 flagship device to be equipped with. It is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, and has 4GB of RAM. The storage is 64GB at minimum but some markets may have the 128GB base model paired with 6GB RAM option available. Fortunately, the device has an SD card slot, meaning that you are free to expand your storage up to 2TB.
The device lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack port which is rather unfortunate if we consider that fact that the phone is rather wide and we think HTC could have put it in… Old tech doesn’t match with a new shiny phone right? We get it, even if we do not like it.
The U11 however has a USB-C 3.1 that offers a lot of functionality. The box contains a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, so if you have your old headphones, it’s good to know that it’s bundled and you don’t have to shell out extra for that.
The battery size seems to be only just OK if we take the display size into consideration. It packs a 3000 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility, so charging up your device should be fast and cool.
Looking at the HTC U Ultra, we can tell that the new design language is going forward glass and metal frames this year for HTC. The U 11 has a “Liquid Surface” as HTC likes to say it – and it offers a unique design that reflects the colour of the phone differently depending on the way you hold it and the lighting conditions you’re in.
The front and back of the device is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, so getting scratches from keys, coins and other objects in your pocket should not be a worry. The front and back is also featuring a 3D glass to make the phone look seamless and beautiful with the curved edge looks.
The back of the phone is prone to fingerprints and is an absolute fingerprint magnet. Make sure you clean and wipe it off regularly if you are one of those people who like having a clean phone at all times, or consider using a case.
Fortunately, HTC has jumped on the IP certification train and has equipped their new flagship with IP68 water and dust protection. This means that the phone can withstand 30 minutes submerged under clean water and dust should not get into the phone. This is indeed a welcome feature for many of us who want to use our phones even when it’s wet, raining outside.
Last but not least, the fingerprint scanner can be found just below the display having the same tap-only functionality as before.
The HTC U 11 has a 5.5″ 1440 x 2560 QHD IPS LCD (~534ppi) display that offers great viewing angles and great sunlight visibility. The display unfortunately does not have any HDR capability. The display also sticks with the same old 16:9 aspect ratio which is by no means good or bad – it’s what we are used to.
HTC is still sticking to their beloved IPS display, even if it’s an improved version with it’s fancy Super LCD 5 name. There is no AMOLED to be found but perhaps in the future? – we shall see.
The U 11 comes with the latest Android 7.1 Nougat version and will come with some goodies pre-installed. As before, the “Sense UI” will sit on top of Android and will come with very similar looks but with enhanced functionalities. What’s worth mentioning is that HTC does not offer their own apps anymore, instead it opted for Google’s Photos, Music and other applications in order to remove the duplicates that usually take up a lot of precious space.
The speakers are still here and they get a nice boost in terms of quality and loudness. The earpiece and the bottom firing speaker will work together to create a pleasant sound during the time of watching a video or playing a game.
HTC will offer Google Assistant as well as Amazon Alexa. HTC has partnered up with Amazon, and for those that pre-order the phone will receive 2 Echo Dot ‘smart speakers’, at least in the U.S.
And finally, Edge Sense:
Edge sense was leaked long before the device was in the manufacturing process and has been leaked for a long time now. Now that it’s official, we can take a closer look at it.
The U 11 has a pressure sensitive frame built on the bottom half part of the device. Depending on the hardness of the squeeze you make on the phone, it will offer certain quick shortcuts offering to open up applications. For example: a hard squeeze might open up the camera while a short-light squeeze may take a photo for you.
This can be very handy and useful when you want to take a selfie and want to hold the device in a more comfortable, safe way so then you would not have to worry about dropping your shiny new device while trying to capture a great moment.
The hardness of the squeeze can be set in the settings menu and it is recommended that you set it just below the middle to prevent accidental squeezes – yes, that could happen sometimes.
The new flagship from HTC does not come with dual cameras, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t shine. HTC has teamed up with DxOMark to test their camera and it’s got a whopping 90 score which made it jump to the first place on the rank list on DxO’s website.
The U11 features a main camera with 12MP f/1.7 dual-LED setup that offers great shots, even in low light. It is also equipped with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). The new HDR boost should enhance the taken images better than other flagships from other manufacturers and the focus speed is also one of the fastest to be found today.
The front facing camera is a 16MP shooter having f/2.0 and 150 degree-wide-angles. This will surely allow anyone to take some quality selfies and great front-facing videos.
Overall, HTC has made a solid device that stand out among the crowd and offers great visuals, hardware and software – even if the 3.5mm headphone jack is missing, at least you get a DAC adapter in the box.
The only thing we do not like about the new HTC flagship is its size, it could have had smaller bezels on the sides and on the top-bottom of the phone, that would have make it stand out even more. The wideness of the phone also could have been reduced by opting for the LG G6’s aspect ratio and perhaps making the device taller than wider.
The phone is already available to purchase and it’ll cost £649 in the UK, €749 EUR or $649 US Dollars.
Buy HTC U11 from Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2rYfDv3
Or maybe consider the HTC 10 UK: http://amzn.to/2qrlG9B
What are your thoughts about the new HTC flagship? Are you going to buy it, or will you consider buying it? Let us know in the comments section below!