HTC decided that if it wanted to even be talked about in the conversation of phones to purchase this year, it knew it had to go back to the kitchen and cook up something crazy. I believe HTC did just that, but will this be just a good device that stays on the shelf or have they done enough for this to turn into sales for the company? Only time will tell but let us take a look at HTC’s 2017 flagship device, the U11.
CPU: Snapdragon 835
GPU: Adreno 540
Memory: 64gb w/4gb ram or 128gb w/6gb ram and microSD up to 256gb
Sim: Dual Sim
Display: 5.5” Quad HD Super LCD 5 w/ Gorilla glass 5
O/S: Android Nougat 7.1
Camera: 12mp rear cam w/ OIS, and 16 Ultrapixel front facing cam
Battery: 3000mAh w/ Quick charge 3.0
HTC came back swinging and jam packed this device with a plethora of features. Edge sense is something we have not seen before, where a squeeze of the body will allow you quickly jump into an application that you set.
The U11 comes IP67 water/dust resistant rating, the new Snapdragon 835 monster, the rear camera has received the highest rating from DXOmark at 90, Ultraspeed autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization, an Ultrapixel front camera with HDR, Boomsound is back, U-Sonic USB type-c headphones with active noise cancellation, Quad HD display with 3D glass, 4 microphones to give you 360 sound recording and lastly the liquid glass backs.
As we said, this is feature packed.
For starters let us put something into perspective, for 2016 the general consensus was that the Google Pixel had the best camera on a smartphone and that earned a DXOmark of 89. The new HTC U11 has received…*drum roll* a DXOmark rating of 90.
Now for those who do not know who or what DXOmark is, they are an organization that reviews lenses, analyze video & image quality, and mobile phones. This data is then used by top manufacturers and media to create a rating system for cameras & video recorders. The rear camera is a 12mp shooter with electronic and multi-axis stabilization, with HDR boost and super fast autofocus, this has all the right pieces to be one of the best cameras for 2017.
For the selfie lovers, HTC has slapped in a 16 Ultrapixel sensor for the front facing camera, so we shall see how the selfies come out but on paper, it should be great.
We needed to point this out as our smartphones have all but replaced iPods, MP3 players etc. HTC has redesigned the boom sound speakers, which promises to deliver 100% more loudness and 150% improvement on the Dynamic Range Audio.
The top speaker holds the tweeter chamber while the bottom speaker holds the newly designed woofer for improved bass. They have included the U-sonic headphones with active noise cancellation built in. The headphones also use the USB type-c port, and if you haven’t listened to music from a type-c port, please do yourself a favor and check it out.
This device also has 4 microphones for what HTC calls 360 sound. They work in sync to record sound from all directions and in video editing, you are able to zoom in on a subject and amplify their specific sounds.
Now typically every year we have an idea of what to expect from top smartphones, better camera, faster processor, better screen and maybe better speakers. This year HTC has managed to concoct a feature that has not been done before and that is Edgesense. Basically, the concept is that you are now able to use squeezing the phone as a gesture to trigger a wide range of applications that you can set as a shortcut to launch from this gesture.
With the U11, we here at Droid Island truly believe that HTC checked off all the right boxes. Nice design, great camera, excellent sound package, good size and display resolution (5.5” Quad HD), IP67 water/dust resistance, latest CPU and GPU and some innovation (edge sense). Again, while all of this looks amazing on paper and great in demos, we still wonder if this will all turn into sales for HTC who is in dire need of a special device to turn around their fortunes.
Gone are the days of HTC being a top 5 company in smartphone sales. We do not think there is much room to compete in the premium price category and anybody who wants to continue to fight with the likes of Samsung in the premium Android space must do so with innovation and good price point (hi Huawei J). That said, HTC is selling this device unlocked to all carriers for $650usd/$4400ttd and $50 off from their website as a promo bringing you down to $4050ttd.
Not bad, not bad at all. If the knock on the LG G6 was that it did not come with 2017’s best CPU the Snapdragon 835, well HTC has definitely made a very compelling device to compete for one of the best phones for the year to date.
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