We were delighted to get our hands on the HTC U11. There has been a lot of excitement around the launch of the U11 due to its design and HTC’s latest innovation “Edge Sense”, which is a “squeeze to launch” feature. HTC have pumped a lot of features into the U11 and it doesn’t disappoint.
U11 Design: Liquid Surface
HTC have kept to their eye-catching “liquid surface” design, which has become a staple of the U series. The colour becomes two-tone depending on how the light catches it, with varying shades of deep and metallic blue, which gives a very impressive look. It does however pick up fingerprints quite easily, but you soon forget about this after some consistent use.
The screen on the U11 is 5.5 inches and is ideal for all usage, from messaging to streaming and even gaming. This is all thanks to the quad-HD resolution of the screen. Meanwhile, the handset size is ideal for a flagship smartphone. It offers great comfort in your hand but also allows one-handed use.
HTC U11 Usability: Squeeze It
Edge Sense is the U11’s headline usability feature. Sensors in the side of the phone allow you to give a gentle squeeze to open an app or perform an action. Though it seems gimmicky at first, it quickly becomes a key aspect of how you’ll use the U11. Through advanced settings, two different commands can be enabled, a short squeeze and a long squeeze. I found this great; I set the short squeeze to launch the camera and the long squeeze to launch emails. This allowed me to have my email app already fully visible when I checked my phone, so there was no chance of being distracted by other apps or notifications. Though it’s a small change from how other phones work, it still noticeably helped my productivity.
Besides the Edge Sense feature, the U11 is lightning fast. The fingerprint scanner has zero noticeable lag, all apps are very responsive and switching between screens is silky smooth. HTC have made the wise choice of removing typical bloatware from the phone to make the most of the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU powering the device.
U11 Camera and Audio: Super Selfies and Sound
The camera on the U11 is a huge improvement on past HTC phones. They are now playing in the same space as their competitors and even beating some of the leading devices. With the 12MP front camera, pictures come out clear and crisp thanks to optical image stabilisation, while the 16MP front camera offers amazing quality as well as an auto-selfie mode.
HTC have always led the way in audio for mobile phones, with the high resolution BoomSound features on previous models. In the U11, HTC have upgraded the BoomSound speakers by adding an acoustic chamber that allows for richer sound and improved volume.
Following the trend of other manufacturers, the U11 does not have a headphone jack and uses the USB-C port instead. The in-box USonic headphones are great quality and you’ll quickly forgive HTC’s decision to remove the standard jack. There is active noise cancellation and a custom feature that optimises your audio profile by scanning your ears to give you the best audio experience available. The sound on the U11 is exceptional, and HTC is certainly still the leader in mobile audio experience.
U11 Review Summary: A Show-Stopper
The HTC U11 is a beautifully crafted phone with some amazing features. You know you won’t be disappointed with this handset. Its gorgeous design, great usability, high performance and audio-visual features are all easily on a par or even above its closest rivals. The U11 is a real show-stopper.
You can get the HTC U11
from €729.99 on prepay or from free on a bill pay contract. Call into selected Carphone Warehouse or find your nearest store here