HTC U11 Review
by Stephen Schenck / Jun 01, 2017, 5:01 AM
Interface and Functionality
Squeezing your phone is a novel form of input, but is it really practical?
The U11's interface is mostly familiar HTC fare, with one important addition: Edge Sense. The U11's one big “gimmick,” Edge Sense consists of a series of pressure sensors built into the sides of the handset, adjacent to the screen. These strain gauges detect when you're giving the phone a squeeze, and allow you to trigger a software effect in response.
By default, HTC makes the smart choice of linking this action to quick-launching the U11's camera – and another squeeze serves to act as the shutter button. You can also configure a squeeze to take a screenshot, toggle the flashlight, or open the app of your choice. And just to add a little more flexibility to the mix, you can set up two separate actions: one for a short squeeze, and one for a longer squeeze-and-release.
Initially, we had some reservations with what HTC was shooting for here, as it seemed like a really extravagant way to implement what the Galaxy S7 Active or, more recently, the BlackBerry KEYone had done with a simple, straightforward button.
But after using Edge Sense for a while, we began to appreciate its value a little more. Say you're taking a picture at an awkward angle: there are plenty of situations where it might be a little awkward to reach around for a dedicated shutter button (much less press an on-screen button), yet it's no problem at all to give the phone a little squeeze. And while the whole squeeze interaction feels unnatural at first, the ability to customize the pressure level at which Edge Sense is triggered really does help make the feature more accessible.
Other helping-hands that ease you into familiarity with the new system include on-screen visual cues that reflect the force with which you're squeezing the phone; they're handy to have at first, but you'll probably want to toggle them off eventually.
Processor and Memory
HTC spares little expense arming the U11 with some of the best silicon around
HTC equips the U11 with what's arguably the best processor you can expect to find on an Android smartphone this season: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. That's the same chip you'll find in US variants of the Galaxy S8, and its presence here instantly puts the U11 up on a pedestal among the handful of the most powerful phones you can buy.
That's paired with a totally adequate 4GB of RAM, as well as very-nice-to-see 64GB base level for flash storage. In international markets, you might just also find an even better-equipped U11 with 6GB of RAM and a hefty 128GB of storage, but for the vast majority of users, you're looking at 4/64. And really, we can't expect many of you will be hurting for more.
In day-to-day operation, the U11 flies briskly from task to task, and in our time with the phone we never found ourselves asking more from its performance. The 64GB of internal storage is also likely to keep us satisfied for a long time to come, and even when that free space starts running out, there's always support for microSD expansion to add capacity in spades.
AnTuTu Higher is better
HTC U11 172131
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 173945
LG G6 157208
JetStream Higher is better
HTC U11 70.708
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60.931
LG G6 57.368
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 70.758
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
HTC U11 58
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60
LG G6 50
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
HTC U11 19
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 41
LG G6 14
Basemark OS II Higher is better
HTC U11 3031
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 3256
LG G6 2122
Geekbench 4 single-core Higher is better
HTC U11 1910
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 2006
LG G6 1797
Geekbench 4 multi-core Higher is better
HTC U11 6495
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 6708
LG G6 4285
Even with an exclusive carrier partner, this phone is easy to get working on the network of your choice
The U11 boasts the usual assortment of support for cellular bands, and with the right SIM shouldn't have much difficulty operating on the carrier of your choice. Here in the US, the handset's being offered as an exclusive through Sprint, so if you're looking for the path of least resistance, that's the network you'll be working with. But that said, HTC's also selling the U11 unlocked, and not only will this version of the phone work with GSM operators like T-Mobile and AT&T, but also Sprint's CDMA rival Verizon.
We spent a few days with the Sprint version of the phone, and had no problems pulling down signal in the greater Boston area, though speeds weren't always great, often topping out around 2Mbps despite a full signal gauge. That's probably more Sprint's fault than HTC's though.
We also operated a version of the U11 manufactured for the Taiwan market – so, understandably, one not optimized for US networks. Despite that setback, we were still able to maintain an LTE connection with T-Mobile, not to mention pulling down speeds north of 20Mbps. Make sure you double-check band support with HTC before thinking about importing a U11 and expecting it to work at home, but there's a good chance you'll get decent functionality out of it.
For wired connectivity, we've got a USB Type-C port, just like on other recent U-series HTC phones. And like those, this port does triple duty, serving as a data conduit, charging the phone, and letting you attach headphones – but we'll talk more about that last one in the review's Multimedia section.
Lol, these cons are laughable. I expected this to get a 9, but then again, this is phonearena.
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 5:08 AM 56
EDIT: ok, maybe not a 9, but definitely more than 8.2
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 5:17 AM 11
Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015
I agree a 8.8 would have been appropriate. This rating is ridiculous. It's Major con is that it looks dated... It has a 3000 mah battery, beating out the competition that has a 3500...that is a feat on its own. It's the phone a 9? No. For what the phone is.... Its a 8.7-8.8. Seeing the battery life. This will be my next phone. BTW PA one PRO you forgot to meantion... Is having the ability to unlock the boot loader with out voiding the warranty... People still search for phones capable of this(let alone a Flagship!) . Myself included.
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 5:37 AM 18
Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015
Wait.... You guys are using a Samsung geekbench score from a bootloader unlocked, S8+ with a custom kernel? You guys do realize this will be the first Sd835 device that will be able to take custom kernels(a full custom kernel at that). It's going to destroy the S8+ geek bench score that has a custom kernel. I expect the same to be done with the HTC and the score to be changed....
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 5:44 AM 10
Posts: 361; Member since: Oct 08, 2013
its easily a 9 phone with best audio, best camera, best battery life among 2017 flagships, with a 16:9 ratio non curved screen (I dont see 18:9 as a better aspect ratio by now, most videos are 16:9), great pixel like fast software, no USF 2.0 vs 2.1 cheating, DDR4X ram (not confrimed 100%).
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 5:52 AM 13
Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 22, 2015
I'll be honest, I do agree that it looks somewhat dated. The m9 was garbage and honestly the m10 is what the m9 should have been and the u11 is what the m10 should have been. So in my eyes, htc is basically a year behind. I'm still getting one on one of my other lines though.
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 8:20 AM 1
Posts: 89; Member since: Sep 17, 2016
I've said it before phone arena are the worst tech sure around Dated design where was that when iPhone released the same design for the years in a row Big bezels again where was that in the iPhone reviews? HTC is still smaller than the big bezels iPhone and they never once mention how badly engineered the iPhone was I'm still wondering why people don't boycott this scam of a site
posted on Jun 03, 2017, 1:17 AM 2
Posts: 457; Member since: Oct 30, 2015
I am expecting to see comments like this after seeing those cons and score given for a phone with excellent camera, audio output, excellent battery and snappy OS. almost everything needed for a phone to have.
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 10:54 AM 4
Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012
how about.. a 9 for galaxy s8 because it has an extra useless screen??oh wait..not totally useless because u got more app icon in app drawer because of that... this phone is a lot better than the s8..camera,battery,performance.
posted on Jun 02, 2017, 3:05 AM 0
Posts: 3; Member since: May 24, 2017
I agree. Phone Arena's final ratings are a joke. Great performance, great camera, great battery life = 8.2. The 3 pillars of a smartphone it nailed and phone arena gives it just a 8.2 lol. Phone Arena Grade = 7 meh of a website. lol.
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 12:18 PM 5
Posts: 96; Member since: Dec 14, 2012
ONLY iphone arena can turn edge sense into a CON....hahahaha this site and it writers is a f**king joke . "over engineering" ....Its CALLED INNOVATION if iPhone take this same s**t next year you writers will call the PHONE OF THE CENTURY ...HERE IS 9 ARTICLES TALKING ABOUT THE SAME s**t WE ALREADY COVERED...#sponsoredSheep IM DONE with this site
posted on Jun 05, 2017, 12:42 AM 0
Posts: 403; Member since: Sep 05, 2016
It deserves nothing more than what it got . Big bezels , no 3.5 mm . No resale value for sure. i sold my absolute mint condition htc 10 for 250$ after 6 months of use whereas my s7 edge with a couple of scuffs got me 450 $ after 8 months of use. HTC U is not even DOA .... Its DBA
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 6:08 AM 5
Posts: 114; Member since: Nov 29, 2012
Hahaha, so what HTC needs to do to get a 9+ rating from phonearena? Remove the noise canceling ear buds Disable the edge sense Disable 4 mics & 3d audio reording and use one or 2 normal mics like other oems :))) And why the heck have you compared it with s8+?? Isn't that phone almost 50% more expensive that u11?? Finally, go see vid comparisons of this 5.5 inch phone with a gs8 that has 5.8 inch on YouTube. You'll immidiately see that 16:9 is far better for audio and gaming, with no wasted black bars. S8 s screen looks dance only when no app is open and you are looking at wallpapers
posted on Jun 01, 2017, 6:43 AM 20
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- Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
- Camera 12 MP / 16 MP front
- Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
- Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
- Battery 3000 mAh(24.5h 3G talk time)