The HTC U11 is good at a lot of things. The speakers – while not front facing – are top notch, performance is speedy, and the screen is big and bright. Perhaps the most standout feature on the U11 is Edge Sense, which lets you launch custom shortcuts when you squeeze the sides of the phone. It sounds weird, but I’m a huge fan.
As it stands right now, you’re a tad limited in what actions you can use with Edge Sense. You can program either a short of a long squeeze to launch the default voice assistant, open the camera, launch an app on your phone, take a screenshot, and perform a few other actions. HTC has been teasing some notable improvements to Edge Sense including the ability to zoom in on Google Maps and Photos with a squeeze, answer/hang up phone calls, dismiss alarms, and pause videos, but unfortunately these updates haven’t arrived yet.
Luckily there’s an app out there that lets you maximize your U11’s Edge Sense powers. It’s called Edge Sense Plus.
I’ve been using Edge Sense Plus ever since I received my U11, and I’m not planning on looking back. It’s not that Edge Sense is unfinished or lacking in any substantial way, but this new third-party app, at least in my opinion, enhances the whole experience.
Edge Sense Plus gives you access to more shortcuts. For instance, you can set Edge Sense Plus to launch things like the recent apps menu, toggle pre-set brightness settings, switch to vibration mode, skip tracks in your media player, launch split screen mode, go to the lock screen… the list goes on. Here’s the full list of shortcuts you can currently use with Edge Sense Plus:
- Action per app
- Open the Sidebar
- Start application
- Shortcut (direct calls, messages, etc.)
- Recent apps
- Play/pause media player
- Previous track
- Next track
- Keep awake
- Google Assistant
- HTC Alexa
- Lock screen
- Split screen
- Expand/collapse status bar
- Expand status bar
- Sync toggle
- Sync all accounts
- Previous app
- NFC (root)
- GPS (root)
- Turn off display (root)
- Screenshot (root)
Most of these options are pretty self explanatory, but there’s one feature that’s definitely worth pointing out. It’s called the Sidebar, and it gives you easy access to a convenient, customizable sidebar that appears on the edge of your screen when you squeeze your phone. You can include any application you want in the Sidebar, and also include quick settings and recent apps shortcuts if you choose to invest in the premium version. You can even change the colors of the panel, title, divider, and more.
You don’t even have to be on the home screen to activate the Sidebar. Just squeeze your phone when your in any app and it’ll show up.
I’ve set my short-squeeze action to launch the Sidebar and my long-squeeze action to play/pause my favorite podcast client, Pocket Casts. For me, I find it really convenient to pause my podcasts by squeezing my phone rather than pressing the power button then tapping pause on my screen.
It also lets you set a sound to play when you perform a short or long squeeze, which can be fun and a little annoying at times
But the extra features don’t stop there. The app lets you set a sound to play when you perform a short or long squeeze, which can be fun and a little annoying at times. I set my phone to make a BB-8 sound every time I launched the Sidebar, which got old really fast. Maybe I should try it with a sound that’s a little less jarring.
What’s more, you can also enable the G-Sensor, which allows you to trigger different actions based on your phone’s position. For instance, my normal short-squeeze action might be to launch the Sidebar when I’m holding it, but when my device is laying down I can set it to activate the lock screen. It’s a nice touch.
If you’d like to take everything one step further, you can invest in the premium version of Edge Sense Plus, which will run you just $2.99. For that price, you’ll be able to set a double-squeeze action, set a long- and double-squeeze actions with G-Sensor enabled, set your own double squeeze interval, and more.
I love this app, and it’s really awesome to see developers take an impressive hardware feature and run with it. If you own a U11, have you given Edge Sense Plus a shot? What would you like to see HTC bring to Edge Sense? Let us know in the comments.