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HTC U11 announced: Everything you need to know
The HTC U11 is here and it’s both familiar and, in a sense, completely new. It’s familiar because the U11 looks and feels like a refined version of the U Play and U Ultra, which HTC introduced earlier this year. And it’s new because it’s a departure from the iconic metallic design that most recent HTC flagships have been known for. Instead you get an eye-catching glass construction that’s very similar to the other phones in the U series.
So, is the HTC U11 any good? We have a full hands-on you can check out, but in this post, we’ll talk about the key HTC U11 specs, feature, and availability details. Highlights include a camera that earned DxOMark’s best score ever, three (!) AI assistants, and, of course, squeezes! Let’s see what that’s about.
HTC U11 specs
5.5-inch Super LCD 5
2560 x 1440 resolution
Gorilla Glass 5
2.45 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
4/6 GB (depending on market)
64/128 GB (depending on market)
Yes, up to 256 GB
Rear: 12 MP (HTC UltraPixel 3 with 1.4μm pixel) with ƒ/1.7 aperture
OIS, dual LED flash, Pro mode with manual control, slow motion video (1080p@120 fps), 4K video recording with 3D Audio, Acoustic Focus
Front: 16 MP with ƒ/2.0 aperture, 1080p video recording
Quick Charge 3.0
Wi-Fi: 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Ambient light sensor
900/850/AWS/1900/2100 (B8/B5/B4/B2/B1 with 900/850/AWS/1900/2100 diversity), HSDPA 42, HSUPA 5.76
4G LTE (up to 600Mbps download speed/with 2CA, 3CA Carrier Aggregation and 256 QAM, service dependent)
FDD: Bands B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B13/B17/B20/B25/B26/B28/B66
TDD: Bands B41
Cat 16 LTE ready with 4x4MIMO, supports near 1 Gbps download speeds and upload speeds of up to 75 Mbps
Single or dual nano SIM card slot
HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation
HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition
3D Audio recording with four microphones
Hi-Res audio stereo recording
Hi-Res audio certified
Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Dimensions and weight
153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm
Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, Solar Red
(depending on market)
Running through the spec sheet, the HTC U11 looks like it’s ready to go toe-to-toe against the best Android phones out there. The processor is Qualcomm’s finest, the Snapdragon 835, and HTC is keen to note that the U11 is the first commercially available phone to run the Snapdragon 835 “exclusively” worldwide. (That conveniently leaves out Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which features Exynos processors in some markets.)
The Snapdragon 835 is paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage (expandable), while in some markets (likely in Asia), a beefed-up version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage will be offered. In the US, HTC will sell the 4GB/64GB model only.
The battery is a little on the small size, but not too bad at 3,000 mAh. A fingerprint sensor is located up front, and the device is water resistant (IP67).
HTC U11 audio features
HTC U11 carries over some of the great audio legacy of the M series, at least in name. There are no big, stereo speakers, but HTC says the BoomSound Hi-Fi edition speakers got an upgrade – the tweeter now features an improved acoustic chamber, while the woofer has been redesigned to offer richer and louder sound.
Like the U Ultra, the U11 lacks a 3.5 mm audio jack, but the phone comes bundled with a pair of USonic headphones that connect through the USB Type-C port. Features include Active Noise Cancellation and the ability to fine tune the sound to your ear through “advanced sonar-like technology.” If you prefer to use other headphones, you will find a DAC-equipped Type-C-to-3.5 mm adapter in the box.
The microphones got a refresh too: four mics work in concert to record sound from all directions – HTC calls it Acoustic Focus.
HTC U11 camera
The U Ultra’s camera wasn’t exactly cutting-edge, but HTC promises the U11 is much better in this regard, and it has some industry benchmarks to back its claims.
DxOMark, the respected camera testing outfit, gave the HTC U11 a score of 90 for both still photography and video. That’s the highest score ever in DxOMark’s rankings. It’s one point higher than the Google Pixel (winner of our recent blind photo shootout) and two points higher than the Galaxy S8, Sony Xperia X Performance, and HTC’s 2016 flagship, HTC 10.
The HTC U11 features a 12MP BSI sensor with 1.4-micron UltraPixel pixels and UltraSpeed autofocus. The camera features OIS, Auto HDR Boost, and an f/1.7 lens, which bodes well for low-light performance.
The front-facing camera, which goes up to 16MP, also comes with Auto HDR Boost, and a ton of selfie features.
HTC U11 Edge Sense
As rumored, the HTC U11 incorporates pressure sensors in its sides. Dubbed Edge Sense, the feature gives you a sort of virtual button that you can configure to open any app you like. Just squeeze the sides of the phone to open up the camera, messenger, or email – it sounds convenient, but we’ll have to see what HTC did to prevent unintentional triggering.
To add more customization options, the phone can even tell the difference between a normal squeeze, a short squeeze, and a squeeze and hold gesture, so you will be able to open multiple apps without touching the screen. We’re not convinced this feature is as “revolutionary” as HTC paints it to be, but it sure seems convenient.
HTC U11 virtual assistants
The HTC U11 runs Android 7.1 and no fewer than three virtual assistants: HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa. The latter is only available in the United States, the UK, and Germany, but its inclusion is nevertheless surprising. Furthermore, in the Chinese version, the U11 will pack DuerOS, a digital assistant from Baidu.
So, what can you do with all these assistants? There’s obviously a lot of overlap, but according to HTC, Edge Companion will give you personalized recommendations, Google is great for getting answers and planning your day, while Alexa’s strong point is the ability to control various smart home devices. Speaking of that, the U11 is the first phone to support wake word access to Alexa.
In real life, most users will probably end up ignoring and forgetting about some, if not all, AI features baked into the HTC U11. But nobody can blame HTC for not checking all the boxes.
HTC U11 price and availability
Worldwide, the HTC U11 will be available starting this month in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Solar Red. Pricing will be revealed on a per market basis.
In the United States, the HTC U11 (in blue and black) will be carried by Sprint at launch, where it will go on pre-order starting today. The phone will launch on June 9 and will cost $29/month on a two-year contract or $696 in total. Clients who pre-order will receive two free Amazon Dots, valued at $100.
The U11 will also go on sale unlocked on HTC.com and Amazon (in blue, black, and silver), with pre-orders starting today and shipping in June.
Read next: HTC U11 hands-on!
HTC U11: What do you think?
Let us know what you think about HTC’s latest flagship in our poll and in the comments below!