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HUAWEI P11 and P11 Plus: 5 things we want to see

Here's what HUAWEI's P11 smartphones have to bring to the table to grab more attention than their predecessors.

Published onDecember 14, 2017

The HUAWEI P10 and P10 Plus are great devices. They sport high-end specs,  Leica-branded dual cameras, and lower prices than the Galaxy S8 and many other rivals. But they’ve still got faults.

To grab more attention, the P11 and P11 Plus need to bring something new and exciting to the table. Here’s what we’d like to see.

1. A revamped design

HUAWEI didn’t follow the latest design trends with the P10 series, there’s no 18:9 aspect ratio or edge to edge screen. The top and bottom bezels, while not the largest, make the design feel a little dated compared to other flagships. Worse, they contribute to the P10 series looking very similar to its predecessors, as you can see below.

HUAWEI P10 and P9

We hope HUAWEI will make a notable step forward in the design department with the P11 series. The upcoming smartphones would stand out a little more with thinner bezels and a redesigned look to the back panel. In my opinion, the company should opt for a simple design with the addition of an eye-catching feature to make the handsets instantly recognizable.

A good example is the Mate 10, which made our sexiest smartphones of the year list. It has a clean design but stands out thanks to the reflective stripe that runs horizontally across the cameras.

The HUAWEI Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

Personally, I think the fingerprint scanner should remain on the front. It’s easier to check notifications while the device is on a table; you don’t have to pick it up first. This is possible even if the P11 and P11 Plus will come with so-called bezel-less designs. The Mate 10 also sports thin bezels and still has a front-mounted fingerprint scanner.

Don’t forget about colors, either. HUAWEI should launch the P11 and P11 Plus in at least eight color options, just like their predecessors. In addition to black, white, and silver, we want to see a few lively colors like green or blue.

2. Larger displays with 18:9 aspect ratio

At 5.1 and 5.5 inches, the HUAWEI P10 and P10 Plus have small displays for flagship tier phones. The Galaxy S8 smartphones have 5.8- and 6.2-inch panels, while the LG G6 measures 5.7 inches.

The P11 handsets should offer larger displays to keep up with the competition. Powerful flagships are best utilized with lots of screen space for multitasking and video. However, the P11 shouldn’t compete with HUAWEI’s gargantuan Mate 10 series. Screen sizes of around 5.4 inches for the smaller and 5.8 inches for the larger model would be a good way to go.

Larger displays offer a better experience when browsing the web, playing games, and watching videos. But they also make smartphones harder to use with one hand and carry around. However, the P11 handsets could offer larger screens and still have the same footprint as their predecessors if they came with thinner bezels.

It also might help to switch to a 18:9 aspect ratio, like most flagships these days. This has its advantages in terms of what you can fit on the screen, but a few drawbacks to consider too. 18:9 panels are narrower, so it’s easier to reach across the screen to open an app. But it also makes them taller, which means pulling down the notification bar can be a pain. Nevertheless, it looks like the 18:9 format is here to stay, especially when it comes to high-end smartphones.

3. Water resistance

Unlike the Galaxy S8, LG G6, and many other flagships, the HUAWEI P10 smartphones are not water resistant. We want that to change with their successors.

The P11 and P11 Plus should come with an IP67 or IP68 rating, as this is pretty much the standard these days. This would allow the phones to survive in up to one or 1.5 meters (3.3/5 feet) of water for 30 minutes.

No one wants to get their smartphone wet, but accidents happen. Having a waterproof device gives you peace of mind if something like this occurs. It also allows you to pick it up with wet hands without worrying about consequences.

4. A US release date

Despite initial rumors, the P10 series wasn’t released in the U.S.. HUAWEI has been focusing on European markets, where business is booming. But to boost sales and achieve its goal of becoming the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, the company has to increase its presence in the US.

To capitalize on the launch momentum, HUAWEI should launch the P11 series stateside at the same time as in Europe. The devices will likely make their debut ahead of the Galaxy S9, giving them a chance to grab consumers’ attention before their biggest rival goes on sale.

To get the P11 series in front of as many consumers as possible, HUAWEI should try to ink deals with U.S. carriers. Selling unlocked versions of the devices via its website, Amazon, and retailers like Best Buy is also a good way to go. The best strategy would be to combine both options.

5. Hardware and software improvements

Like the Mate 10 series, the P11 and P11 Plus will surely focus more on artificial intelligence (AI). This means they must be powered by the latest Kirin 970 chipset that features a dedicated Neural Processing Unit for faster on-board AI processing.

It offers a limited set of features including scene recognition in the camera app, photo-based translations, and smart tips like suggesting to enable Eye Comfort mode when reading in a dark environment. However, we also want to see a few new AI-related features make their debut on the P11 series.

The HUAWEI P10 series.

The EMUI interface could probably use some work too. It imitates iOS in too many ways. Ideally the software should be lighter and closer to stock Android, but with a few little unique features that would make it different than the competition. Additionally, we want to see HUAWEI eliminate or minimize the number of apps (bloatware) it pre-installs on the P11 series.

Speakers are next on the list. The one on the P10 is far from exceptional and HUAWEI should fix that. The best case scenario would be to equip the handsets with dual front-facing speakers, although this might not be possible if they come with thin bezels. Then again, the Pixel 2 XL also sports a so-called bezel-less design and features two speakers up front.

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These are the main things we want to see on the HUAWEI P11 series, although a few other ideas come to mind.

We hope HUAWEI will keep the headphone jack, as it’s still an essential part of a smartphone for many. The company should also avoid increasing prices, especially if it plans on bringing the P11 handsets to the US.

A “wow factor,” a unique feature or two that sets the devices apart, would also be a welcome addition.

Do you have any other ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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