The HTC U11 is HTC newest flagship Android phone for this year. On paper, it looks and sounds pretty good. Will it be able to compete with the Galaxy S8 or S8+, possibly. I spent some time with it in New York couple of days ago. Here are my thoughts:
Design & Display
The U11 looks and feels pretty similar to the HTC U Ultra. HTC says the back cover is made out of “3D Liquid Glass.” It is shiny and yes, it is fingerprint prone. HTC did include a cloth with the phone though. So you may want to keep that around.
Unlike any phone on the market, the U11 has built-in sensors on both sides allowing the users to interact in a totally different way that anything on the market. The technology is called HTC Edge Sense. It actually doesn’t affect the design whatsoever.
The display measures 5.5 inches which is pretty much the new norm when it comes phone sizes. It has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and is made out of the 3D Corning Gorilla Glass. The colors looked nice and crisp during the hands on however I couldn’t test it in direct sunlight.
The well known camera testing site DxOMark gave the HTC U11 a 90 out of a 100 mark. This makes it one of the best cameras in the market along with the Galaxy S8 and my favorite, the Pixel XL. It pack an Auto HDR Boost which offer a no-lag experience when using HDR.
The U11 pack a rear-facing 12MP HTC UltraPixel 3 camera with f/1.7 aperture and Optical Image Stabilization. HTC mentioned that it has an Ultraspeed Autofocus which is the marketing word for fast-focusing. The front camera is a 16MP shooter capable of producing the same low light pictures as the rear camera. I really can’t comment much about how great this camera is until I get some real life hands on.
Software & Performance
I spent a good 45 minutes with the U11. It has not lagged once time. Launching the camera app or any other app was a breeze. The HTC Sense UI is the closest thing to a pure Android experience in my opinion. HTC really didn’t need to do much in this department. The U11 felt similar to my old time favorite HTC 10.
The newest addition is the HTC Edge Sense which works directly with the new interactive phone edges. As much as this sounds like a gimmick, I found it very useful. You can launch the camera by simply squeezing the phone. You can also launch the Google Assistant, voice type and more. There is a menu in the settings that allows you to configure the actions you want to do when squeezing. HTC mentioned that they’re working on bring the U Touch technology to other apps.
If you are a fan of Amazon’s Alexa, you’re in for a treat. The HTC U11 is the first phone to support it. You now have the choice between 2 assistants which is nice.
I do not consider myself an audiophile by any means. I however appreciate good quality speakers. The HTC U11 comes with HTC’s BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers which are simply dope and better than any other phone out there HANDS DOWN.
There is no 3.5mm port. Instead you can use the USB-C port to listen to music. If you rather use a 3.5mm, HTC included a USB-C to 3.5mm adpater with a built-in DAC that can be used with not only the U11 but any other device in the market. HTC will include a pair of noise-canceling earbuds called the USonic.
That is it for now. Keep an eye for a full review int he coming weeks.