HTC had launched its latest flagship, the HTC U11 in India last month. The phone is a premium device with a price tag of Rs. 51,990. The phone is available for purchase on HTC India eStore and offline retailers across the country.
HTC U11’s India variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage powered by latest Snapdragon 835 processor. With great build quality, latest specs, good performing camera and with lots of interesting features, it is in the race with the likes of Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7.
Some major highlights of the phone include company’s own virtual assistant – Sense Companion, Amazon Alexa support, Hi-Res Audio capabilities and a new feature – Edge Sense. The unique Edge Sense feature makes it a squeezable phone and you can launch any desired application by squeezing the phone’s edges.
After spending quite a few days with the phone, here is our review about the latest flagship from HTC.
HTC U11 Coverage
HTC U11 Specifications
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The HTC U11 is a really a stylish phone with beautiful design and solid build quality. The model we got for review was a metallic blue, which looks quite premium. Because this is a rounded, glass phone, it’s also quite slippery.
When it comes to the design, U11 sticks to the ‘Liquid Surface’ theme with a new combination of metal and glass design, same as we have seen on the HTC U Play and U Ultra. This replaces the unibody metal design for which HTC was previously known.
One thing which may be annoying for users is the phone’s Gorilla Glass 5 back which is kind of a fingerprint magnet. Even if you just hold the phone for a while and can see your fingerprints all over its back.
The shiny rear has a large camera lens with flash along with HTC branding.
The U11 has its fingerprint reader mounted up front on the home button, under the screen and adjacent to the capacitive multitask buttons.
On the phone’s right side, its volume rocker and power button are placed.
The bottom edge houses the USB Type-C port and main speaker grille.
The SIM tray is on top, along with microphones.
The phone doesn’t sport a 3.5mm audio jack. But when you are listening to the audio with USonic earbuds with active noise cancellation, you won’t complain about the missing headphone jack.
If you want, you can also use 3.5mm jack headphone with a 3.5 mm to USB Type-C adapter that comes in the box. Using this adapter gives a much better audio experience, as it sports a built-in DAC.
If we talk about the phone’s size, the U11 is comfortable with 7.9mm thickness, it is slimmer than the HTC 10. Going with the fact that HTC is still using some good-sized bezels on the 5.5-inch screen, that makes the U11 feel like a big phone. For some users, the phone may be a little large for their comfort.
As we have seen so far, most of the smartphone manufacturers are going for extra tall and narrower bezels this year. But HTC still comes up with the traditional and familiar display on the U11.
The smartphone features a 5.5 inch Quad HD Super LCD 5 display, with 16:9 aspect ratio. The screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels ensures text and icons have a uniform sharpness and vibrant colors. The display quality of the phone is good with excellent viewing angles.
The HTC U11 sports a 12 MP rear camera with the company’s UltraPixel 3 technology with 1.4 µm pixel size and an aperture of f/1.7. The rear camera also features UltraSpeed Autofocus, OIS and Dual LED flash on board.
The best thing about the rear camera is the f/1.7 aperture that makes it one of the best performers when it comes to low light conditions. It keeps noise level under control, and pictures are sharp and well detailed.
HTC U11 offers a full Pro mode with easy options to tweak the settings. The camera is also capable of 4K video recording with 3D Audio, Hi-Res Audio, and Acoustic Focus.
The front camera is of 16 MP resolution with BSI sensor, live make-up, Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie, and HDR boost, along with support for 1080p video recording. HTC U11 also offers one very interesting feature called the selfie panorama, which is not so common these days.
Overall, in the camera department, the phone performs well and is capable of taking some really impressive photos.
Hardware and Storage
HTC U11 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. It is no doubt one of the best processors you can expect to find on an Android phone these days. The octa-core processor clocked at 2.45 GHz is paired with a totally adequate 6GB of RAM. The phone has 128GB internal storage which is more than enough for most of us. Still, if you need some more, you can expand it up to 2TB using a microSD card.
Software and Performance
HTC has always offered its users something different when it comes to software with customization via the Sense skin. The U11 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with HTC Sense on top. But, this time the company has taken an extra step and has brought in the Sense Companion, company’s own version of a virtual assistant, that first launched on the U Ultra.
The phone also comes with Google Assistant on board. And, if two AI assistants don’t seem enough to you, the U11 also supports Amazon Alexa.
So, on the software front, the phone is quite satisfying. HTC Sense is still one of the best skins on Android, but in some ways, it also starts to feel a little outdated and needs an update.
If we talk about overall performance, it is just fast and fluid. The phone is touch responsive and scrolling on it is excellent. It runs apps and high graphic games with no issues at all. Also, Multi-tasking is quick most of the times.
The phone scored well on various benchmarking apps.
The HTC U11 is powered by a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery. The company claims that the phone can give 24 hours of talk time or 14 days of standby time on one full charge. Despite being a fairly average capacity by current standards, the battery life is really good.
The phone also supports Qualcomm’s fast charging technology Quick Charge 3. This allows your phone to charge up to 4 times faster than conventional charging. Overall the battery life of U11 is pretty impressive that HTC offers without including a larger battery this time around.
On the connectivity front, the HTC U11 supports dual SIM and is 4G VoLTE enabled smartphone. You can either use two Sim cards or 1 Nano Sim and 1 microSD card.
The phone also comes with the support of NFC and USB Type-C port with USB 3.1 support. This allows you to transfer data much faster in comparison to USB 2.0 based ports. It also supports casting through Chromecast, DLNA, Airplay, and Miracast.
The phone also comes with one important addition: Edge Sense. HTC makes the unique feature of squeezing the smartphone by its sides and linking this action to quick-launching mainly the U11’s camera – by using the squeeze to act as the shutter button. You can also configure a squeeze to open any app of your choice or to take a screenshot, toggle the flashlight etc. The technology consists of a series of pressure sensors built into the sides of the handset, adjacent to the screen.
HTC U11 is a top-notch flagship from the company with premium features and latest specifications. The Edge Sense feature is also a unique selling point of the device. The shiny metal design of the phone gives it a premium look. The overall experience with the phone sums up to a rich audio experience, good camera, and unique Edge Sense feature, thus making it a true flagship package.
So, those who want to flaunt a phone that is different in looks, packs latest specs and who are willing to spend more than Rs 50,000 for their next smartphone, can go for this phone. HTC U11 is no doubt one of the top flagships in the market at present.