HTC’s latest mid-ranger may not break your bank, but here’s why the $349 price tag might not actually a great deal for the HTC U11 Life, and it’s all about the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
While the U Ultra and the U11 may not have been as successful as HTC had hoped, the company isn’t giving up any time soon, it seems: HTC is welcoming two new members to its U-series family, namely the U11 Plus and the U11 Life. The former, as you may have guessed, is an upgraded version of the regular U11, sporting an 18:9 aspect ratio display and Snapdragon 835. The latter is where it gets interesting for those of us looking for a reasonably-priced phone.
The HTC U11 Life is a 5.2-inch mid-ranger that’s significant for a few reasons. First, it’s a beautiful device which continues the company’s Liquid Surface design in a water-resistant acrylic body. Second, it comes in two versions: in the US, the U11 Life will feature the regular HTC Sense skin, but globally, it will be available through Google’s Android One program, featuring an adulterated version of Android. Last but not least, the U11 Life is somewhat affordable, priced at $349.
I emphatically point out that the “somewhat” was indeed intentional, because $349 probably isn’t the final amount that you’ll be spending on and for this phone. And I’m not taking about taxes. If you weren’t aware, more and more companies are unilaterally deciding that the conventional 3.5 mm headphone jack is no longer necessary. Unfortunately, HTC is one of them. The U11 Life does not come with a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Sure, HTC is including a pair of USB Type-C USonic earphones with every U11 Life, but what happens if you lose them? What if they break? What if you have your own favorite pair of headphones with a 3.5 mm jack?
This means that at least some users will end up purchasing a USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter, which could cost anywhere from $7 to $12. Most manufacturers who have decided to nix the 3.5 mm headphone jack include this adapter free of charge with their phones. In fact, HTC too provides it for free right in the box with the U11, but I suppose the U11 Life just isn’t premium enough for that.
HTC’s move to not include the headphone jack adapter is an unfortunate one, and I am of the opinion that the $350 price tag should have covered it.
At any rate, HTC’s move to not include the headphone jack adapter is an unfortunate one. The lack of an audio jack and of an adapter makes the phone a little less attractive, especially considering its specs. The U11 Life comes with a FHD screen, Snapdragon 630, 3 GB of RAM, and a 2,600 mAh battery. Compare that to the OnePlus 5 which costs only $100 or so more but sports Snapdragon 835, 6 GB of RAM, and an advanced dual-lens camera.
The U11 Life is a great-looking device, but that doesn’t excuse HTC’s decision to not include a USB Type-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. It’s a cheap move, and I am of the opinion that the $350 price tag should have covered it.