HTC U11 Review
by Stephen Schenck / Jun 01, 2017, 5:01 AM
The latest processor tech helps stretch a big battery even further
Like last year's HTC 10, the U11 is equipped with a 3,000mAh battery. That's also the same size the company went for with the 5.7-inch U Ultra. But while the U Ultra's big screen and previous-generation Snapdragon 821 chip ran down that battery in just under seven hours, the U11's smaller screen and much more power-efficient Snapdragon 835 chip (thanks in part to this being fabricated on a more modern 10nm process) are able to stretch that same-sized battery for a solid additional two hours; we clocked just north of nine hours of continual screen-on time in our custom endurance test.
That's really decent battery life, and easily outperforms both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6. Considering that the U11 is able to put on such a good showing without compromising performance or device thickness is all the more impressive.
Recharge times are also really good, and the 98 minutes it took to refill the U11's battery is faster than even the U Ultra took. That's with the phone's included Quick Charge 3.0 adapter. Maybe our only complaint is that there's not a trace of support for wireless charging, but that would have only been the icing on the cake – and in terms of battery performance, this cake is might tasty already.
Battery life (hours) Higher is better
HTC U11 9h 3 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 8h (Excellent)
LG G6 6h 9 min (Average)
Sony Xperia XZ Premium 8h 15 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
HTC U11 98
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 99
LG G6 97
The HTC U11 is somewhat of a phone unstuck in time. It's got all the processing might of any 2017 flagship, offers a modern, quite useful digital assistant, and dips its toes in high-tech features like active noise cancellations. But it's also a phone that feels – and maybe more critically, looks – a little dated.
Some of that's not directly HTC's fault, as the market's only recently moved on to super-widescreen phones with screens that utterly dominate the faces of these handsets. Was enough of the U11's design already set before HTC even got a whiff of such looks from its competition? And while it may seem like we're harping too much on the style of the GS8 and G6, this is hardly a trend that looks like it's going away anytime soon; check out the just-announced Essential Phone.
Like it or not, but the U11 looks like a phone that might have stood out in 2016 – not 2017. And all the pretty colors and shiny back panels in the world aren't going to change that; the design is stale. If HTC were already on the top of the market, maybe that wouldn't matter so much, but without a sizable contingent of fans who are going to buy this phone simply because it's the hot new HTC flagship, the U11 has its work cut out for it.
Extras like the free case are nice, as is the analog headphone adapter, but neither is a reason to buy the phone. The noise-canceling USonic earbuds very much could be, but as they stand now, the noise-suppression effect isn't supremely impressive in practice – it very much works, but you don't experience a night-and-day change in background noise levels when switching it on.
At least the pricing is right, with the U11 set to sell for just about $650. That's lower than you're likely to pay for the Galaxy S8, though the G6 may just have it beat. But for the amount of phone you're getting $650 is hard to find fault with.
The only problem there, as we've said before, is that the U11 just isn't as flashy, as modern-looking, or even as brag-worthy as its closest competition. When you buy the U11, it's almost as if you're saying “I want a phone that performs like a bleeding-edge flagship, but looks and feels like my last phone.” And you know, there totally will be shoppers who resonate with a thought like that. But if HTC wants to remain competitive, it really needs to start thinking about even bolder, even flashier design for its next big smartphone.
- Effortless, high-quality camera
- Fantastic performance
- Battery life worth writing home about
- Some really attractive color options (though the best are non-US)
- New BoomSound speakers sound nice and satisfying
- Dated look
- Noise-canceling earbuds aren't quite as impressive as they could be
- Edge Sense feels over-engineered (for what could be just a button)
- Fancy audio-recording features difficult to appreciate
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: 986; 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: 986; 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: 91; 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)