HTC hasn’t put much focus on the mid-range smartphone space in a few years, but that changes today. What has perhaps been one of the most-leaked smartphones of the year is finally here—HTC has officially announced the HTC U11 Life.
This new budget-friendly phone is a U-series device through and through. It has the same iconic HTC design as the U Ultra and U11, while also offering up solid under-the-hood specs and a familiar software experience. Plus, it has a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Just because it’s in the affordable category doesn’t mean it skimps on the features. The U11 Life comes with many of the same features of other HTC flagships, only at a fraction of the price. Want to know more details? Here’s everything you need to know about the HTC U11 Life.
This phone is beautiful.
HTC has brought its beautiful Liquid Surface design, which first debuted on the U Ultra, to the U11 Life. It’s super shiny and has a unique mirror-like finish that makes it stand out amongst the other mid-range handsets on the market. It’s still a fingerprint magnet, though. To cut down on cost, the U11 Life’s rear casing is made of acrylic, not glass.
Oh, one other thing: this phone also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which means it can withstand submersion in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
It has some solid under-the-hood specs.
The U11 Life is no slouch on the spec sheet. It comes with a 5.2-inch Super LCD 1080p display, a Snapdragon 630 Mobile Platform, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of on board storage, and microSD expansion up to 2 TB. It also has 16 MP rear- and front-facing cameras as well as a 2,600 mAh battery.
For the full list of HTC U11 Life specs, head to our dedicated article right here.
There’s no 3.5 mm headphone jack.
It’s not all sunshine and roses. The U11 Life unfortunately doesn’t come with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, nor is HTC including a USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter in the box. That’s pretty annoying.
To soften the blow, HTC will however include a pair of its wonderful USonic active noise canceling earphones in the box.
It’s joining Google’s Android One program.
There are two versions of the U11 Life—the US-bound U11 Life with HTC Sense, and the global version that’ll be available through Google’s Android One program.
The Android One model runs a bare-bones version of Android (which will help HTC provide quicker software updates to the device), and will still feature Edge Sense.
It’s running Android Nougat, but not for long.
Although Android 8.0 Oreo has been out for months, the HTC U11 Life is launching with Android 7.1 Nougat in the United States. HTC says Oreo will make its way to the U11 lineup at the end of November, and the U11 Life might be the first of which to get the update.
The Android One model will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, however.
The non-Android One version has Amazon Alexa built in.
Like the HTC U11, this new mid-ranger also has Amazon Alexa built in. It doesn’t have dual wake word capabilities though, so the experience is going to be a little different. For example, you can activate Alexa on the U11 by saying “Hey Alexa”, but you can’t with the U11 Life. You can still activate Alexa by opening the app, or programming it as a shortcut with Edge Sense.
Unsurprsingly, the Android One model does not come with Alexa.
It won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
The U11 Life with HTC Sense will be available from HTC.com in Sapphire Blue starting today, November 2, for $349 ($449 CAD). It’s not compatible with CDMA networks, so your only options are AT&T and T-Mobile.
Speaking of T-Mobile, the Un-carrier is the exclusive carrier partner in the U.S., and will sell the phone in store and on T-Mobile.com beginning November 3. Pricing through T-Mo starts at $12 down with $12 per month for 24 months. That’s a total of just $300, which is a cool $50 off HTC’s unlocked price. Not bad!
The U11 Life for Android One will be available in Sapphire Blue and Brilliant Black, though we’re still waiting on exact availability details.
Thoughts on the U11 Life? Speak up in the comments!