The HTC U11 is one good-looking mid-tiers smartphone

Highs

  • Slim and light
  • Elegant design, low risk of cracks
  • Excellent selfie camera

Lows

  • Unimpressive main camera performance
  • Smaller battery capacity

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: ~$395
  • Available on Amazon

With a strong showing in the form of the HTC U11, HTC now wants to trickle down the same kind of technology and design into the ~$350 price range, where there is typically more sales Android phones volume.With a strong showing in the form of the HTC U11, HTC now wants to trickle down the same kind of technology and design into the ~$350 price range, where there is typically more sales Android phones volume.
The U11 Life was released on 2017/11/02 and was initially aimed at the mid-range market. At publishing time, the HTC U11 Life was priced at USD 349. With “cost” as principal criteria, we got an array of cell phones which will serve as reference points to assess how the HTC U11 Life fits in the smartphone landscape: the Honor 9 (~365 USD), Motorola Moto Z Play (~350 USD) and the Motorola Moto X4 (~400 USD).

Note: we have the U.S version of this handset. The International version may have slightly different technical specifications, although we would expect HTC to preserve the same overall experience as much as possible.

Key Specifications

  • 5.2” IPS LCD Display (1920×1080)
  • 16 MP Camera, f/2.0 aperture, No OIS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform, 3 RAM, 32GB of Storage
  • 2600 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 7.1.1 (until “late Nov 2017”), then Android 8.0

Industrial Design

The Industrial design of the HTC U11 life is very agreeable to the eye. This is a matter of personal preference of course, but I thought that HTC did a great job of translating the original look and feel of the HTC U11, which is has a glass texture in the back, into the HTC U11 life, which has a plastic back cover. From a a feet or two away, the visual difference is not massive, and it is when you hold the device that the plastic “feel” against your skin becomes obvious.

Comfort

This smartphone feels comfortable in hand because it has a width of 72.9 mm for a thickness of approximately (0.31 inches / 8.1 mm). For reference, this is based on a medium size hand (US M gloves), you can try extrapolating from here. The weight of 142 grams (5.01 oz) makes it a light smartphone in this category

Build Quality

Plastic is light and durable, but even with a premium paint or surface treatment it just does not “feel” as good as metal or glass. However, plastic is lighter than metal and will not break, or even crack.

Plastic may be easier to scratch, but the damage is not always obvious as it might be on a metallic surface such as aluminum. After considering how the smartphone was built, we estimate that the risk of cracking during a landing on a hard surface to be low. You can refer to our reference article about how phones could be built to avoid breakage upon drops. Naturally, the screen can still crack, but neither the edges or the back cover are at high risk of breakage after a drop.

Durability

The U11 Life smartphone has an IP-rating, which means that it is protected to some degree from dust and water. Here’s what the U11 life’s IP67 rating means: dust tight, no dust can penetrate. Up to 1-meter immersion for a limited duration will not harm the device. Tested for 30mn.

Since competitors often don’t have the IP67 rating, being able to survive a complete immersion in water is a significant design advantage over other phones in the same price range. We do know that many phones die from exposure to water, so this may save you from much trouble if that ever happens.

Ingenuity

This handset design packs decent performance in relation to its size, but nothing unusual for a mid-range phone. From another standpoint, how much battery capacity the customer gets is below-average for a device of this size, with the competition clocking at 3200 mAh (Honor 9) and 3510 mAh of capacity, versus the HTC U11 life’s 2600 mAh.The screen display-to-body ratio of 69.5% is also in-line with competitors, and most phones hover around a 69% to 70% ratio, which would be considered as “normal.” Keep in mind that an iPhone 8 has a 65.4% ratio, so being expensive is not always a factor here.

Overall product rating: 8/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, HTC, Smartphone Reviews.

Display
5.2"
1920x1080
IPS LCD
424 PPI
Price
~$395 - Amazon
Camera
16 MP
F2 Aperture F-Stop
Weight
142 g
Battery
2600 mAh
Launched in
2017-11-02
System
3GB RAM
Snapdragon 630 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
32
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