Celebrating 20 years since they began, HTC isn’t slowing down in 2017, today announcing their next flagship smartphone, the U11 in Taipei.
Not really known by the public as HTC in their early days – the company was making devices for others, like the trusty Compaq IPAQ (which I owned), or smartphones with telco brands on them. However a shift to a public focus has led HTC to make a huge number of successful phones over the last decade, and in 2017 there’s a shift in design which started with the U Play and U Ultra.
The U11 carries on the counting HTC have been doing with their flagship phones since the M7, but as with previous years moves the branding to align with the overall company strategy of the U phone branding.
There are a few core features of the U11 worth noting.
Having spoken to the HTC design team here in Taipei, take it from me, they are very proud of their new designs. First seen in the U Play and U Ultra, these new liquid design comes in five colours (though as usual we’ll just get black and white in Australia no doubt).
Rather than just being a gloss colour, HTC have used a glass look with tinting throughout. If you’ve ever seen the spectrum of light shine on a oily puddle, or through a prism, imagine those colours combined with a gloss coloured finish and you get quite a stunning look from this phone in the light.
It’s a point of difference, and one well worth playing out when you’re in a tough market like smartphones.
With HiRes Audio certification you’re going to be able to enjoy some great music here, but additionally, thanks to four microphones, you can record in what HTC call 3D degree audio.
The microphones all record in various directions and with a feature called Acoustic Focus you can even select a subject in your video to enhance the audio from.
Hard to imagine this would be noticeable to the average ear – but we’ll give it a crack!
Oh, and built-in with the headphones – Active Noise cancelling (ANC). Yep, top quality sound on your next flight right out of the box.
There is no battery or control for ANC on the cables of the headphone, all the hard work is done in the actual phone. This is pure genius and is frankly the standout feature of the device. Saving you hundreds of dollars for Noise Cancelling headphones.
Remember HTC manufactured the Google Pixel right? Now while Google may claim the tech lead on that phone, you have to imagine HTC had a hand in it and learned a lot too.
Which is why HTC are claiming the U11 as the highest rated smartphone cameras by DXO mark – the same measure Google used for the Pixel.
DXO Mark scored it a 90 one point higher than Google Pixel, two points higher than the HTC 10 from last year.
Regardless, it’s a cracking camera by all accounts.
A 12 megapixel rear camera with “ultraspeed” Auto Focus, an Optical Image stabilisation which if the demonstrations are anything to go by is world class, face detection and RAW format support – plus 4K recording of video.
The front camera is 16 megapixel with auto and voice activated selfie shots, a new selfie-panorama feature, full 1080p video recording and snapchat like live make-up features.
Judging by what the camera team told us on the ground here in Taiwan, low light should be a great place to test the HTC U11.
Innovative Edge Sensors – Squeeze (Edge Sense)
While sound, design and photography are outstanding features – HTC need a hook, they need something innovative to set themselves apart in the market. For the U11 – that’s the edge sensors – HTC Edge Sense.
Like the force touch concept Apple has on its screens, HTC wants you to use an all new way to interact with your phone.
Holding your phone wondering what the weather will be like? Squeeze your phone tight to launch Google Assistant – and ask.
Trying to take a selfie – struggling to get your thumb around onto the shutter button on screen? Easy – just squeeze the phone.
The squeeze is customisable with different levels of pressure able to perform different functions, but, as innovative as it is – it’s best use will be for selfies I’m guessing.
HTC U11 Specifications:
SIZE: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm1
WEIGHT: 169g 1
DISPLAY: 5.5 inch, Quad HD (2560 x 1440) Super LCD 5, 3D Corning® Gorilla™ Glass 5
WATER- & DUST-PROOF (IP LEVEL): IP67
- Android™ 7.1.1 with HTC Sense™
- HTC Edge Sense: squeeze phone to launch features and more
- HTC Sense Companion: suggestions based on things you do
- Google Assistant
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 Mobile Platform, 64-bit octa-core, up to 2.45GHz
Configuration varies by region and operator
- 4GB RAM / 64GB storage
- Expandable: microSD™ expansion supports additional memory cards up to 2TB with Flex Storage (optional cards not included)
CAMERA Main Camera
- 12MP HTC UltraPixel 3 with 1.4μm pixel
- UltraSpeed Autofocus
- BSI sensor
- Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
- f/1.7 aperture
- Dual LED flash
- Self timer up to 10 seconds
- Face detection
- Pro mode with manual control, 32-second long exposure, and RAW format support
- HDR Boost
- Slow motion video (1080p at 120fps)
- 4K video recording with 3D Audio, Hi-Res stereo recording, and Acoustic Focus
- Video Pic
- BSI sensor
- Live make-up
- Auto Selfie
- Voice Selfie
- Self timer up to 10 seconds
- HDR Boost
- Selfie Panorama
- Full HD 1080p video recording
- HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation
- HTC BoomSound™ Hi-Fi edition
- 3D Audio recording with 4 microphones
- Hi-Res audio certified
- 2G/2.5G GSM/GPRS/EDGE
- 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
- 3G UMTS
- 850/900/1900/2100 MHz HSDPA 42, HSUPA 5.76
- 4G LTE™ (up to 1Gbps, service dependent)
- FDD: Bands 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32
- TDD: Bands 38, 39, 40, 41 with 2CA, 3CA, and 4CA
- Support Cat 16 LTE: downloads up to 1Gbps, uploads up to 75Mbps
- VoLTE and WiFi calling (where supported)
- Nano SIM
- Edge Sensor
- Ambient light sensor
- Proximity sensor
- Motion G-sensor
- Compass sensor
- Gyro sensor
- Magnetic sensor
- Fingerprint sensor
- Sensor Hub for activity tracking
- GPS + AGPS
- USB 3.1 Gen 1, Type-C
- Bluetooth® 4.2
- Wi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz)
- HTC Connect™ for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to compatible multiroom audio systems, TVs, portable speakers and home entertainment systems
- Streaming media from the phone to compatible Chromecast, DLNA™, and Miracast™ devices
- Capacity: 3000mAh
- Talk time on 3G/4G: up to 24.5 hours
- Standby time on 3G/4G: up to 14 days
- Power saving mode
- Extreme power saving mode
- Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0
- Always-on voice commands
- Motion Launch
- Quiet ring on pick-up
- Pocket mode
- Flip to mute
- Display color personalisation
Trevor Long traveled to Taiwan as a guest of HTC – for full details of our commercial agreements and disclosures click here