The HTC U11.
Sample shot taken with the HTC U11.
Sample shot taken with the HTC U11.
Sample shot taken with the HTC U11.
Sample shot taken with the HTC U11.

THE HTC U11 is the new top of the line smartphone for HTC.

It replaces the all-metal HTC 10, which did not really make a big impact, despite boasting a good design and impressive audio performance. With the bigger boys like Apple and Samsung continuing to dominate, HTC has introduced some new features in the HTC U11 to make an impact.


DESIGN
The HTC U11 has some eye-catching features. Its back has a shiny liquid glass surface, which is coated with Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition. Made of various highly reflective minerals, it creates a secondary colour finish at different angles.

Unfortunately, this can leave the phone prone to messy fingerprints. To address this, the box comes equipped with a clear cover. However, this undermines the whole point of having a phone with a shiny finish.

The curved aluminium edges are smooth and easy to grip but can feel a tad slippery at times. The right side holds the power button and volume control, while the top edge is home to the SIM card and SD card slot. At the bottom is where you’ll find the USB Type-C charging socket. The rear has a large camera lens with flash, while the front has just the home button with a fingerprint scanner.

Missing though is an audio jack — and this won’t find favour with some.


SPECIFICATIONS
The phone boasts a 5.5-inch Quad HD screen (2560 x 1440 pixels) with a 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 display. It is powered by 2.45GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The screen is crisp and clear and displays beautiful, deep colours. It is paired with 4GB of RAM and there’s a decent 64GB of internal storage which is expandable to 128GB via an additional microSD card.

The HTC U11 battery has a capacity of 3000mAh, which can last a day of normal use. It comes with Quick Charge 3.0 to address most battery woes of intense users. Running on Android 7.1 Nougat, HTC has maintained the AI companion in this phone. The HTC Sense Companion will read your daily patterns over time to offer more smartphone use each day.

Did I mention that the HTC U11 is also IP67 dust and water-resistant, catching up with other high-end brands like Samsung and Sony?


AUDIO
HTC feels it can deliver audio experience through the USB Type-C port, and I have to admit it does sound incredible. The included USonic earphones not only sound pretty good but also features Active Noise Cancellation, to steer surrounding noise. HTC also bundles a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter if you still wish to use your own headphones.

The phone is equipped with an improved BoomSound HiFi edition speakers. It uses dual speakers, with one speaker at the front and the other at the bottom. The front speaker mainly takes care of the high and middle tones, and the one at the bottom is mainly for bass.


CAMERA
The HTC U11 houses a 12-megapixel rear camera and features optical image stabilisation (OIS) and ultra-fast auto focus. The HDR Boost also offers more dynamic exposure without lag and excellent detail preservation. Mind you, its macro shots are impeccable!

HTC U11 incorporates the same full sensor auto-focus technology used in dSLR cameras, making it easier to capture moving objects or live footage.

To ensure the HTC U11 makes very good photos in low light conditions, the camera has a f/1.7 aperture which means more light can pass through.

It is a big advantage taking photos at night or indoors.

Selfie game is strong with the HTC U11. The 16-megapixel front camera has an UltraPixel light sensitivity for brilliant selfies, day or night. It also utilises the same powerful HDR Boost and noise reduction as the main camera. Not forgetting the Live Make-up feature and voice selfie function.


NEW AGE INTERACTION
Probably, the phone’s highlight is its Edge Sense technology. This is a combination of hardware and software, which can be associated with gripping of the phone.

Instead of the usual gestures that can be activated in the function, HTC has come out with a simple squeezing feature, achieved by pressure sensors located at the sides of the phone.

You can set a shortcut, such as the camera, Google Assistant, or any other app. In the settings, there’s also the “Advanced Mode” which can be enabled to differentiate between short squeeze and long squeeze. The squeezing comes in handy if you like to take photos, as it allows a quicker action.


VERDICT
A phone that is made to squeeze, the HTC U11 is fast, produces excellent pictures and provides very good sound. The new design looks very stylish but also has its drawbacks. Although there’s no headphone jack, the bundled earphones are great with the active noise cancellation.

It is packed with interesting and well-designed features. If you want a glamorous looking phone, this is a recommended device. Available in four colours — Amazing Silver, Brilliant Black, Sapphire Blue, and Solar Red, the phone is priced at RM2,899 at Lazada.com.my

Verdict: 4/5

31 reads