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HTC U11 life Review

HTC U11 life

Posted: , by Stephen S. Stephen S.

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Call Quality

When did it become so hard to deliver high-quality voice calls?

HTC U11 life Review

Voice calls on the U11 life generally sound pretty good. After some recent upset with voice calls on other phones, we've been paying closer attention to sound quality, and here we did indeed notice some interference: a repeating series of quiet clicks coming from the phone's earpiece. While they continued even after our calls were completed, they're so quiet that you don't hear them unless your ear is right up against the the phone. Compared to the iPhone 8 or Pixel 2, they're barely noticeable, but if you plan to spend a lot of time making voice calls, it's something you might want to keep in mind.

Battery Life

Day-long endurance despite a smaller-than-usual battery

HTC U11 life Review
HTC U11 life Review

The U11 life has one really good thing going for it when it comes to battery life, and one that's working against it. While HTC chose to build the phone around the Snapdragon 630 processor, which comes from the same power-conservative lineage as the 625, which has been at the heart of some of the longest-lasting smartphones we've evaluated, the handset also has just a 2,600mAh battery, which is a bit on the small side of things; even the smaller-screened Pixel 2 scored a larger battery.

What's the end result of that push-pull balance? It's actually not too bad, with the U11 life enduring for just under eight hours of screen-on time in our custom test. While that's fine, phones in this mid-range space have the potential to be among the best-performing in battery life, and times of 10 hours and up aren't uncommon. So while the U11 life doesn't embarrass itself, nor is it an exceptionally long-lasting phone, either.

Recharge times are thankfully on the lower end of the spectrum, with the U11 life powering back to full in just over 100 minutes.

Conclusion


HTC U11 life Review

Our first impression of the U11 life wasn't great: the phone felt too light and plasticky, and it seemed to be trying too hard to convey the gravitas of its flagship cousin. But performance didn't leave us with any complaints, battery life was totally adequate, and the camera pulled off some nice shots despite having meager-sounding hardware.

There are still a lot of little issues we have with the phone, from a mushy speaker to the absence of an analog headphone adapter. But while there's a fair amount of strong competition in the mid-range space, and some very nice lower-end flagship options if you're willing to spend a little more, the U11 life is ultimately an alright phone for its price point.

Just how much will this hardware run you? Direct sales through HTC will only set you back about $350, and picking the phone up through T-Mobile will run you even less. If you like colorful handsets, and think squeezing your phone to control it sounds like a neat idea, the U11 life is right up your alley. It's not a phone we'd automatically recommend to mid-range shoppers, but there's enough to like here that it's definitely worth considering.



Pros

  • Versatile camera
  • Edge Sense fully intact
  • Nice-sounding earbuds
  • Day-long battery life

Cons

  • Lightweight and plastic-feeling
  • No analog headphone (jack nor adapter)
PhoneArena rating:
7.7Good
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Not rated
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HTC U11 life

HTC U11 life

OS: Android 7.1
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
7.7Good
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 ppi) S-LCD
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Octa-core, 2200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
Size5.87 x 2.87 x 0.32 inches
(149.09 x 72.9 x 8.1 mm)
5.01 oz  (142 g)

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