HTC U11 review: Sleek, slim and incredibly smart

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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng

The new HTC U11 sure knows how to attract a crowd

The new flagship smartphone from Taiwanese maker HTC, the U11 boasts an excellent camera, fast Internet connection and fast performance as well as the new Edge Sense interface.

The U11, which is sold in Thailand, comes in two colours Sapphire Blue and Amazing Silver – and both are stunning. The Sapphire Blue I was given to review had a mirrorlike bright blue back cover, which HTC says is a liquid glass surface crafted with Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition, meaning layering of highly reflective minerals.

The appeal was further enhanced by a seamless curved look that harmonises well with the screen that protects its 5.5-inch display. And the phone is much better protected than the average smartphone with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the back.

HTC U11

The Super LCD5 display has 2560×1440-pixel resolution, which is great for looking at photos and watching HD video clips.

And the U11 comes with new Edge Sense interface that allows you to launch the camera or another application simply by squeezing the edges of the phone. By default, Edge Sense will launch U11’ s main camera quickly so that you won’t miss a shot.

You can also configure Edge Sense to access a wide range of functions and applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

The U11 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 64bit octacore process with clock speed of up to 2.4G GHz. Moreover, it comes with a generous 6 gigabytes of working memory and huge storage of 128 GB. The storage can be further expanded by up to 2 terabytes with a microSD, using the second SIM slot. Internal storage is the UFS 2.1 type, further enhancing the phone’s performance.

I used the AnTuTu Benchmark v6.2.7 app to measure the U11’s performance and it achieved an impressive score of 179,589.

Video clips and graphics games ran fast and smooth on the phone during the test. The U11 can process graphics about 25 per cent faster than the HTC 10. The 10-nanometer mobile processor allows the U11 to save on battery, giving it 35 per cent or 3 hours more video playback time and 30 per cent or eight hours more music playback time than its predecessor.

LTE 4G connection is fast too thanks to the Qualcomm chipset’s Gigabit-class X16 LTE modem.

I tested the data connection on TrueMove H’s LTE network and was amazed at the download speed. My snapshots were backed up to my Google Photos cloud storage in a snap.

I used Ookla Speedtest app to measure the connection speed and here again, the U11 came up trumps, achieving a download speed of 94.35 Mbps and upload speed of 42.87 Mbps.

The U11 has a very good main camera, featuring 12-megapixel UltraPixel Generation 3 BSI image sensor measuring 1/2.5-inch with a large 1.4-micron pixel. The camera has f/1.7 aperture lens. The U11 was attaining the highest DxOMark Mobile score of 90 this month, making it the highestrated smartphone in DxOMark history to date.

During the test, I found the U11 captured beautiful, sharp and clean photos in most lightning environments – even in low light conditions.

HTC U11

The U11 comes with Auto HDR Boost to give you all the benefits of HDR without the lag. This technology ensures clearer, more balanced pictures by taking multiple shots that measure the darkest shadows and brightest highlights.

The main camera has fast autofocus and it comes with optical image stabiliser so can capture fastaction shots such as sports. It’s also capable of shooting 4K video and 1080p slowmotion video at the rate of 120 fps.

The front camera has 16 MP resolution and comes with f/2.0 aperture lens. It’s fun to use for selfies, especially if you use the Live makeup function.

The U11 runs on Android 7.1 with HTC Sense interface. This includes an AI companion designed to get to know you and your daily patterns over time to offer you more convenience.

Among other things, the HTC Sense Companion can recommend points of interest and alert you of nearby restaurants as well as updating you on what the weather is doing.

The U11 has good sound quality and it supports playback of High-Resolution Audio files. The phone does not provide a 3.5mm headphone jack but it comes with the latest version of HTC USonic earphones and the lead to connect to the USB Type-C port.

HTC USonic now combines active noise cancellation with the ability to tune audio to your unique hearing. The USonic earbuds map your inner ear with an advanced sonarlike technology and then adapt the sound profile to your unique biology. This creates an incredibly personal and optimised listening experience with vibrant audio shaped specifically for you.

Active Noise Cancellation helps reduce disruptions and distractions around you, so you can stay focused on your music by continuously monitoring environmental sound levels, and quickly adjusting to any new noises or disturbances.

I tested and found that the earbuds reproduced sounds from Hi-Res Audio music files with clarity, good detail and good bass. The package also provides a USBC Digital to 3.55mm audio jack adapter, which I used it with Sony’s MDR1ABT Hi-Res Audio headphones and the music even better.

The U11 has an IP67 rating, meaning it is dust, splash and water-resistant up to 1 metre of freshwater for up to 30 minutes and tested under controlled laboratory conditions.

The U11 has 3,000 mAh battery with both power saving and extreme power saving modes and supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

HTC U11 has a suggested retail price of Bt25,990.

HTC U11 key specs

– OS: Android 7.1 with HTC Sense

– Networks: 2G/2.5G GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G UMTS: 800/900/1900/2100 , HSDPA 42, HSUPA 5.76, 4G LTE Cat 15 LTE

– CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 64 bit octacore, up to 2.45 Ghz

– Memory: 6 GB – Storage: 128 GB UFS 2.1, expandable with microSD up to 2TB

– SIM: 2 nano SIM slots – Display: 5.5-inch Super LCD 5 with 2560×1440 pixels, protected by 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5

– Cameras: Main: 12MP HTC UltraPixel 3 with 1.4micron pixel , f/1.7 aperture lens; Front: 16 MP BSI sensor with f/2.0 aperture lens

– Location technologies: GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, Beidou

– Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Motion Gsensor, Compass sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetic sensor, Fingerprint sensor, Sensor Hub, Edge Sensor

– Wireless connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Chromecast, DLNA, AirPlay, Miracast

– Port: USB 3.1 Gen 1, TypeC

– Battery: 3,000 mAh, supports Quick Charge 3.0

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