HTC isn’t new to the smartphone game, but it’s invariably slacking in the face of burgeoning tier-1 competition. However, the Taiwanese giant isn’t the one to take these punches lying down. If it needs to regain its momentum or reverse the tide for a bullish run, it needs to deliver first in the high-end segment and that’s where HTC U11 comes in. (हिंदी में पढ़ें)
The U11 is HTC’s best phone so far. It packs a formidable list of features, features that you’d actually want to use and the ones that will make a real difference. And it’s got an innovative Squeezable side frame that shall ensure its gets noticed and also help it stand out amidst competent adversaries. Let’s see why you should and shouldn’t consider buying it.
HTC U11 Specifications
|Display||5.5-Inch, SLCD 5 Display, QHD resolution|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC|
|Software||Android Nougat based Sense Edge UI|
|Primary Camera||12 Ultrapixel, f/1.7 aperture, PDAF, LED flash|
|Secondary Camera||16MP with f/2.0 aperture|
|Battery||3000 mAh with fast charging|
|Others||4G VoLTE, dual-band WiFi, NFC, Bluetooth, U Sonic audio, Fingerprint sensor (home button), USB Type-C, IP67 water and dust resistant|
HTC U11 Design: It’s unique, alright
This year, HTC has transitioned from metal Unibody to Glass build. The U11 has its liquid surface glass on the rear that ‘mimics the properties of liquid surfaces’, which is to say it’s mirror like in appearance and can alter its color depending on the light that it reflects. And HTC finally has a water resistant phone.
This isn’t one of those phones that feel radically different in hands or in person compared to what you’d have imagined seeing the 2D press renders. When held in hands, you will have the familiar glass feel. And being glass, it also attracts a ton of smudges when used without a case.
I am not sure if I prefer the rounded glass back of U11 over the flat and transparent glass back of Samsung Galaxy S8, but it does give it a much needed unique appearance.
The front, however, feels bland in comparison. HTC isn’t trying to fit in a 5.5-inch display in a 5-inch body, neither does it flaunt a swanky edge to edge or curve display glass, nor does it have a corner cut 18:9 panel that seems to be in vogue these days. The fascia belongs to a regular 5.5-inch display phone with beefy top and bottom bezels (which is also where you’d find the fingerprint sensor).
Squeeze all the way…
But, at the same time, one could argue that it has all the innovation it needs beneath its metal side frame. The pressure sensors lying underneath can detect your squeeze and even long squeeze. And apart from the fact that it feels cathartic to squeeze the hell out of a phone, this feature could actually come in handy for day-to-day usage. After all, this seems like a more natural, consistent, and pragmatic way to trigger apps and actions or summon services like Google assistant than voice prompt.
Apart from setting triggers for app and actions, you also get to decide the sensitivity of the squeeze. Don’t worry, this isn’t something that will misfire on its own when your phone is lying in your pocket.
Can the SCLD 5 Display match AMOLED awesomeness?
The Super LCD 5 display on HTC U 11 is as sharp as it gets (2K resolution), has vibrant colors, wide viewing angles, and pleasantly high contrast. Can it hold its ground against the much sought-after AMOLED screens from Samsung? Based on our initial inspection, I am tempted to say yes.
Performance is its key strength
The HTC U11 is running lighter software than contemporary 2017 flagships. Sense UI (based on Android Nougat) has been shedding weight for the last couple of years and as of today, it feels fast and fluid. Powered by Snapdragon 835, the interface just flies by no matter what you do and that’s got to be its biggest advantage over rivals like Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+.
HTC’s also been quite generous with RAM and storage (6GB and 128GB, respectively) and thus you can expect the performance to remain durable over a period of time. The 3000mAh battery, however, might prove to be a peeve point.
And it’s ‘the’ phone for audiophiles
Besides, HTC seems religiously series about the audio experience that also makes it particularly favorable to audiophiles. U11’s audio chops include loud and clear HTC Boomsound audio and U Sonic ear buds with active noise cancellation. The bundled earphones can detect the shape of your ears using Sonar sensors and can then tune audio accordingly.
It must be mentioned that the phone doesn’t have an audio jack, though. HTC does bundle a quality adapter in the box that has its own DAC.
HTC U11 Camera can focus really fast
HTC isn’t skimping on camera hardware and its photography claims are further attested by the highest DxoMark score. On the rear, there is a 12MP camera with large pixels and OIS that, according to company claims, can lock focus in 0.3 seconds. We couldn’t test the camera in proper lighting but the camera was indeed quite quick to focus even in poor lighting.
We will have more to say about the camera performance after our full review, but things look good for HTC on the camera front.
HTC U11 First Impression
The HTC U11 is certainly capable flagship phone which gives buyers compelling reasons to pay the premium. HTC has been perfecting its Audio prowess and software overs the years and these have now shaped up to be massive advantages.
The U11 is a snappy phone with a flagship-grade camera and the perks like Squeezable side frame further strengthens its case. Its only downside is that it looks pretty mundane from the front. All said and done, we won’t be surprised if this turns out to be the turning point for HTC smartphones.