Now that the HTC U11 has been formally introduced, we can confirm that HTC continues to compete at the very high-end spectrum of the Android smartphone market. After launching the HTC Ultra and HTC U Play, the company was bombarded with questions about what handset would take over the HTC M10. The HTC U11 carries that legacy, and the name leaves no doubt about the filiation of this new leading HTC handset.

Industrial design

The HTC U11 brings the design changes introduced with the HTC Ultra and HTC U Play) into the HTC Mx line of product. The HTC M line of products ends here, but the 11 numbering clearly shows that the HTC U11 takes over the HTC (M)10 in the product line up. As such, this is HTC’s top smartphone from a technology standpoint.

The U11 has a modern glass/metal design, and I love the HTC’s take on how the back cover looks. The photos cannot do it 100% justice, but the back cover works a bit like a mirror, where the light goes through the glass layer before hitting a metal layer that adds color before reflecting the light outwards. It is a variant of what’s already out there, but it looks different enough to be noticed. HTC calls its glass/metal design “Liquid Surface”.

I like the fact that the aspect ratio of this phone chassis is more conventional/natural than the slightly elongated HTC Ultra. Of course, the Ultra serves a different “large-display” category, so the goals and potential buyers are not the same.

The HTC U11 has a metal rim that goes all around the phone and is the backbone of the phone’s structural integrity. The phone is very rigid and won’t twist and bend when you apply a little force with your hand. Similarly to the LG G6, this design choice should make it a little more resilient than the Galaxy S8 to cracks when dropped on hard surfaces, because statistically, contact points are likely to be on one of the corners, or on the edges.

That said, there is still a significant amount of glass, so it is completely possible to get cracks, like with any other glass-design. I do not expect it to be as resilient to shocks as the LG G6 which has had some of its design done with shocks in mind. HTC M10 users may miss the all-metal design, which was very resistant to shocks, but it seems that the market has spoken and that glass is what people want.

Water-resistance

The HTC U10 is IP67 rated, which means that it is dust tight (no dust can penetrate). It can also withstand up to a 1-meter immersion for a limited duration, typically 30mn. This is an important improvement over the HTC 10 which was not water-resistant. Knowing that 50% of phones that die accidentally do so in water, this could save your bacon next time to drop the phone in water.

Squeeze it!

The HTC U11 is the first phone that features a pressure sensor on either left/right sides of the chassis. The user can trigger programmable actions by two squeeze action: short squeeze, and long squeeze. The sensitivity and length between short and long can be tuned to your liking. It is not sensitive enough to trigger during normal use, so you need to squeeze with an intent. By default, you can launch the voice assistant (Google/Amazon), the Camera or the Flashlight with it.

No 3.5mm audio jack

HTC is the first major Android OEM to remove the 3.5mm audio connector, opting instead to use the USB-C analog and digital audio capabilities. I would not be surprised if there were some complaints about this, but we will see. There’s an adapter in the box.

There are advantages in using USB-C, one of which is the ability to draw some power from the phone to power things like active noise-cancelling. More on that in the audio section of this article.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about HTC, HTC U11 and Smartphone Reviews.

Display
5.5"
2560x1440
LCD
534 PPI
Price
~$645 - Amazon
Camera
12 MP
F1.7 Aperture F-Stop
OIS
Weight
169 g
Battery
3000 mAh
Non-Removable
No Wireless Charg.
Launched in
2017-05-16
System
4GB RAM
Snapdragon 835 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
64
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