6 things we love about the HTC U11

HTC’s squeeze-friendly smartphone is unique, and looks gorgeous

29 May 2017
by Stuff Staff

It might have been one of the last heavy hitters to make an appearance this year, but HTC didn’t disappoint with the U11: it’s a fantastic phone that is just begging to be slipped into your pocket.

With some of the most distinctive colour schemes we’ve seen on a phone since the crazy days of Nokia, and high-end hardware to match, there’s lots here to like.

Here are six things that we love about the HTC U 11.

1) THOSE EYE-CATCHING COLOURS

There’s no getting away from it – the U11 has some truly terrific colour choices. HTC’s Liquid Surface glass adds different hues and shades to give the impression of a water droplet, one that shimmers and shifts colour when you hold it at different angles. Compared to a flat black Galaxy S8, or Space Grey iPhone 7, the HTC wins every time.

At launch, Amazing Silver is the star of the show, thanks to a mix of blues, purples and silver, polished up to a mirror finish, but wait a month or two and the luxurious Solar Red should arrive. It’s curiously crimson from the front, but switches to glorious gold at the edges. It’s a real stunner.

2) IT TAKES FANTASTIC PHOTOS

A 12MP sensor doesn’t sound all that impressive, but with dual-pixel autofocus and the world’s first 5-axis optical image stabilisation in a smartphone, the U11 punches well above its weight when it comes to the camera. The detail packed into each snap is fantastic, either matching or beating major rivals such as the iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.

It’s a dab hand when it comes to low light, too, thanks to an f/1.7 aperture that lets as much light hit the sensor as possible. HTC’s image processing algorithms are delicate, too, so detail isn’t stripped away just to hide noise.

3) WE’LL NEVER GET TIRED OF THE SQUEEZY SIDES

No, they don’t do very much right now, but the U11’s Edge Sense panels soon will. As a feature it’s bags of fun, and a totally different way to get things done on your phone. You can use those squeezable sides to do all manner of things: turning on your flashlight, for instance, or take a selfie, or summon Google Assistant (without having to shout “OK Google” first).

And that’s just the start. Once other apps support it properly, the possibilities will be huge.

4) IT’S A PERFORMANCE POWERHOUSE

Any discerning 2017 flagship phone has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 inside, and the U11 is no exception. That instantly gives it an edge over the likes of LG’s G6 and the Google Pixel, which make do with last year’s silicon. It’s quick enough to run just about anything you can throw at it from the Google Play Store, and has no trouble keeping Android 7 Nougat ticking over without any stutter or slowdown.

It’s not a battery hog, either. The U11 has a 3000mAh battery, but can easily last an entire day away from the mains – even if you’re feeding a serious Clash of Clans habit.

5) SPEAKERS THAT REALLY SING

Boomsound was easily one of the best things about HTC’s last-gen phones, and now we’ve got an even better version. They might not face forward any more, but the U11’s stereo speakers are so powerful that you won’t need a Bluetooth speaker to get the party started: just crank up the volume and let the phone do all the work.

Turning the inside of the handset into an acoustic chamber doesn’t exactly create a cacophony of bass, but it sounds much, much louder than any other flagship phone. Don’t think it’ll be nothing but distortion, either – sound quality really is very good for such a small set of speakers.

7) THE NOISE-CANCELLING CANS

Previous versions of HTC’s USonic ear buds already adjusted themselves to suit your own ear drums, using sonic pulses and built-in microphones to tweak the music EQ accordingly, but now they’ve got built-in noise cancelling too. And it really works!

OK, so it’s not quite as silence-inducing as a pair of noise-cancelling ‘phones from Bose or Sony, but they get the job done on public transport, and keep your office buddies from disturbing you when you’re trying to get some work done too. Not bad at all, seeing how they’re free and all.

 

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