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HTC U11
manilashaker

HTC recently made its comeback in the Philippines by launching several new phones, one of which includes its flagship phone, the HTC U11.

But now that there are other Android phones in the market today such as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Google’s Pixel, it remains to be seen if HTC’s latest release would live up to its name.

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Design

The Sapphire Blue HTC U11 could only be described in one word: gorgeous. Thanks to the liquid glass surface that covers the body of the U11, the HTC U11 really looks beautiful. It feels so nice to hold in your hand and it makes you feel like you’re holding something worth its expensive cost. It truly feels nice to hold in your hand and thanks to the liquid glass surface that covers the phone, whatever color you get the HTC U11 in makes the phone pop on its own.

However, this very same glass covering also leaves the HTC U11 extremely susceptible to fingerprints. Personally, I found myself compulsively wiping my fingerprints off the back casing more often. And because of its glassy frame and curvy shape, the HTC U11 feels slippery when you try to hold it, especially with sweaty hands.

Thankfully, the HTC U11 also comes with a clear plastic case that might have probably been included for this purpose, which does help you gather up less dirt or hide lesser fingerprints.

The one thing I’m worried about is the missing headphone jack. Included with the HTC U11 are USonic earbuds, but if you lose them or broke them, using other earphones nearby wouldn’t be an option.

Sound

Despite the reliance on the USonic earbuds, listening to music in the HTC U11 with these earphones actually feels good. The HTC U11 even has an active noise cancellation feature which makes whatever you’re listening to sound even better.

Taking off the earphones sounds just as better. I tried playing Youtube videos and listening to the audio at maximum volume and it works really well with the HTC U11.

Display

HTC U11

The HTC U11 looks really good on a 5.5-inch display – a size that feels just right for a phone.

The borders are covered in black bezels, which seem thicker but aren’t as distracting as I first thought they would be. They mesh well with the overall aesthetic.

Taking the HTC U11 outside in maximum brightness level also feels great – it’s nice to see how clear the details in the screen are.

Camera

Having a 12MP rear camera is a pretty high number for any phone, and it really delivers on taking high quality photos, with or without HDR on. Taking pictures with it in low-light conditions also works well.

Meanwhile, selfie lovers might find the 16MP front camera appealing, which means you can take better, higher quality photos with your friends. Using this in conjunction with the Edge Sense (we’ll talk about that in a while) will also give you the ability to take those highly coveted selfies on the go.

Both cameras also utilize a new feature called HDR Boost, which automatically gives you the option to take HD photos for the best possible images.

Performance

Performance-wise, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835-powered HTC U11 works flawlessly, with no visible lags. Its home button, which you can’t physically press, is sensitive that it reacts almost immediately when I touch it, and I sometimes end up making the frequent mistake of going back to the Home page by exerting force out of habit.

Numerous tests taken using a variety of benchmarking tools revealed the following results:

  • AnTuTu 6 – 177,343
  • 3DMark SlingShot Extreme – 3,631
  • GeekBench 4 – Single-core: 1,993; Multi-core: 6,125

Perhaps one of the HTC U11’s biggest features is the Edge Sense. It involves squeezing (yes, you read that right) your phone to activate any function you want it to do. Through the Settings, you can set your phone to do a task upon squeeze, which makes it a quick, handy ability that you can use without having to open your phone. For instance, you can make your phone turn the Camera on or use it as a quick Flashlight by setting either one of them as an Edge Sense function, so you can switch either of them on with a mere squeeze of the phone without having to open up the phone itself.

You even have the ability to set how much pressure you want for the Edge Sense to activate. But you might have to gage this carefully as setting your phone to activate after “squeezing” it too softly makes it extremely sensitive to simple grips, while setting it to respond to harder “squeezes” will make it harder to turn the Edge Sense on. I found that setting the “squeezing” sensitivity to the “middle” balances the sensitivity out, so you might want to work around that.

If you want to experiment with Edge Sense a bit further, you can even assign two separate functions for a short and a long squeeze. For example, you can set the Flashlight action to open after a short squeeze and assign the Camera action to a task that requires a longer squeeze, which can come in handy when you need to look for something and you have your phone with you.

What’s even better is that you can still use the HTC U11 while the phone is submerged.

Yes, the UTC U11 is certified IP67 water and dust resistant, meaning it has a degree of protection when it gets accidentally submerged underwater. This means you can still use it while you’re taking a shower, but it doesn’t mean it’s completely immune to water, so you might have to reconsider diving in the swimming pool with it.

The HTC U11 also comes with Google Assistant and HTC’s Sense Companion, both of which provide information based on your phone usage habit such as mall or restaurant recommendations and the type of weather for the day. However, the Sense Companion doesn’t have a voice component so if you want to pick between the two, you have Google Assistant to help you out with that.

Updating the HTC U11 also grants you a third virtual assistant: Amazon’s Alexa to help you with daily tasks, which you can use to provide information AND activate products such as lights and TVs that are compatible with it through your phone, all of which can be accessed just by “asking” it.

Battery Life

The HTC U11 uses a 3000mAh battery also supports Quick Charge 3.0, so it charges pretty well. It took me two hours to get the charge to 100% at first, but charging the phone in-between is relatively fast.

Using our ManilaShaker Battery Rating, we could confirm that the HTC U11 lasted a total of 33 hours. We tried using the HTC U11 with the Wifi and Bluetooth on and I was surprised it reached up to eight hours before its battery life was completely depleted, which is quite a good battery life for a phone.

Capacity

The HTC U11 comes in 64GB and 128GB, which can be adjusted up to 256GB through microSD cards. There’s a version of the HTC U11 that also supports dual-sim; in this case, there’s a designated microSD slot for the single-sim version, while the dual-sim version uses its SIM 2 slot to keep its microSD card.

Verdict

Hands down, HTC fans would love this. If you were to pick a really nice HTC phone, the HTC U11 acts and feels like a great choice. You get a water-resistant phone with great cameras, a fast processing time, and a useful feature that may sound odd at first (since when have you heard of a phone that you can “squeeze”?) but works well if you’d like to focus on having a functional phone that can help you out in your daily tasks.

If you’re looking for an Android phone that sports HTC’s pretty designs and meets whatever needs you’re looking for in a phone, the HTC U11 is a good choice.

HTC U11

HTC U11 Full specs, Philippines pricing

SpecsHTC U11
Display[2960×1440]
5.5-inch Quad HD, 534ppi
Size153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm, 169g
Designaluminum frame, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, IP67 water and dust resistant
ColorsAmazing Silver, Sapphire Blue, Solar Red, Ice White, and Brilliant Black
ChipsetQualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835, 64-bit octa-core
Processor4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo
GraphicsAdreno 540 GPU
Memory64GB, 128GB; microSD card up to 256GB (dedicated slot for single-SIM model) or microSD card up to 256GB (uses SIM 2 slot for dual-SIM model)
Main Camera12 MP, f/1.7, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash (dual tone)
Multimedia2160p@30fps, 1080@30.120fps, HDR, 24-bit/192kHz stereo sound rec.
Front camera16MP, f/2.0 aperture, auto selfie, 1080p
Connectivity4G LTE-A, WiFi 802.11, hotspot, Bt 4.2
SecurityHTC Sense UI, Fingerprint sensor
OSAndroid 7.1 Nougat
Battery3000mAh
PortsUSB 3.1 Type-C reversible connector
Official PricePhp 36,990
Availability dateAugust 2017 (Philippines)
Where to buyAuthorized retailers, online stores

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