HTC U11+ could have been the Pixel 2 XL if Google hadn’t chosen LG to make the device. And indeed, the two phones have a lot in common – a 6″ widescreen, similar design, Snapdragon 835 chip, a high-end 12MP camera with big pixels and HDR Boost, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, edge squeeze sensors, Android Oreo.
But HTC has built on those feature with its own Boom Speakers, richer squeeze functionality, wider aperture for the camera and 3D audio capturing for the vids, a bigger battery, and jaw-dropping design, especially in its translucent version. The 6GB RAM and microSD slot are welcome improvements, but we are yet to see if the Super LCD6 screen has what it takes to meet the flagship needs. The 100% DCI-P3 color space coverage and HDR10-compliance should help its case, that’s without a question.
So even if it weren’t meant to become the next Pixel, the HTC U11+ is certainly no underdog, and better yet, it has the dog tags of a fighter.
HTC U11+ Key Features
Body: Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, metal frame. The “Liquid Surface” design on the rear is 3-axis curved glass and changes hues under light. It’s IP68 water-resistant.
Display: 6.0″ Super LCD6, 1,440 x 2880px resolution, 538ppi, 18:9 aspect
Rear camera: 12MP f/1.7, dual pixel autofocus, OIS, dual-LED flash, 1.4 micron pixel size, HDR Boost, 3D audio recording, Acoustic Focus, 4K @ 30fps
Front camera: 8MP, f/2.0, HDR Boost, 1080p video
Video: 2160p @ 30fps, 1080p @30/60/120fps, 720@240fps; front camera:1080p @ 30fps
OS/Software: Android 8.0 Oreo with updates directly from Google
Chipset: 10nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU – Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo); Adreno 540 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM/64GB storage in base model (6GB/128GB in select markets), expandable via microSD slot (or SIM2 slot for dual SIM model)
Battery: 3,930 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0
Connectivity: Single or Dual SIM; LTE-A Cat 15: 800/150 Mbps, USB Type-C 3.1, 3.5mm to USB-C adapter included
Audio: Boom Sound speakers, noise-cancelling U Sonic earbuds (via USB-C) included, four on-board mics for 3D audio and always listening for assistant hotword
Misc: Squeeze actions via sensors embedded into frame, rear-mounted fingerprint scanner; dual speakers (Boom Sound)
No 3.5mm headphone jack (ships with an adapter)
No dual camera or artificial bokeh modes for the camera
No wireless charging
The audio jack is gone for good at least as far as HTC is concerned and that’s plenty clear if you look at their recent phones. The U11+ is yet another smartphone to drop it from the specs list, but at least it got a water-tight IP68 body to show for it.
But there is one trendy feature the HTC U11+ omits – simulated bokeh effects for either of its cameras. Even though the U11+ has top of the line sensors, you won’t get bokeh shots. And HTC was the first to offer them on the market even before it was cool.
Despite those omissions, HTC seems to have done a fabulous job and the U11+ is shaping as one of the most beautiful smartphones this season, squeezable at that. And with the holiday shopping craziness just around the corner, we can’t wait to see if the U11+ is another gadget making it to our wish lists.