HTC U11 Plus
Hell, Guys! Today I’m going to do a full specifications deep review of HTC U11 Plus. After a shaky start of 2017, it eventually launched the HTC U11 a great if underappreciated flagship. Now, year draws to a close there’s a new model on the horizon boasting a larger taller display, a gigantic battery and Android Oreo out of the box. So, let’s start-
Design & Build: –
With the U11 Plus, HTC joins the 18 by 9 aspect ratio with a taller display more in keeping with current flagship trends. It’s not exactly bezel-less, there’s still both the forehead and chin but the side borders have been trimmed down significantly from the older HTC offerings.
From the front, it no longer looks anywhere near as dated as some of its forerunners. Of course, this is still an HTC U phone and fittingly there’s a gorgeous liquid surface curved glass panel around the back which is every bit as eye-catching as other models in this series.
I’ve been using the black version which is really more of a reflective gunmetal finish than anything. There’s also a really unique translucent colour option that won’t be on sale anywhere for anywhere for another month or so.
There are a redesigned aluminium sidewalls too which are reminiscent of the old HTC 10 and as a result more angular and a little easier to hold on too. Also, this phone isn’t slippery mind you between the 6-inch display diagonal and the very slick finish of the glass back. You may well want to take advantage of the bundle protective case.
Incidentally, the taller screen means the fingerprint sensor now lives around the back of the phone. And HTC has reintroduced on-screen keys to its Android UI. There’s a fair amount of heft to this phone in terms of both size and weight but I really don’t mind that. The HTC U11 Plus feels solid, well-made, and a little bit more grown-up than the Regular HTC U11 which was trying a bit too hard to be curvy and playful.
The fingerprint scanner on the back which is very accurate and super fast. And it also comes with IP68 rating certified for water and dust resistant.
There is no 3.5mm headphone jack which I hate having to deal with in every phone that emits it but alongside the standard 3.5mm dongle in the box. HTC does at least include it’s pretty great HTC USonic noise cancelling earbuds which could impressively dampen background noise wherever you happen to be.
When you are not using earbuds, HTC U11 style BoomSound and HiFi setup combining the AP speaker with a bottom firing woofer provides just about the best on-device playback outside. The few phones that still offer Front-facing speakers maybe that’s little disappointing I do feel like HTC probably could have fitted front-facing speakers into this design if it really wanted to.
The front face of the HTC U11 Plus is featureless except for the earpiece and 6-inch Super LCD6 Quad HD+ panel at 2880 x 1440 resolution. I feel that we’re settling on this size as the new go-to standard for larger Android phones and that’s great. It works well in the U11 Plus just like it does the Pixel 2 XL or LG V30.
The panel itself is attractive if not spectacular. It lacks the awesome daylight visibility of the Galaxy Note 8 and the punch of OLED in general but on the whole, it looks fine. There are no glaring issues here. It’s tuned to DCI-P3 standards but you can monkey with colours in the settings if you want to.
The HTC U11 Plus’s main camera is the exact same hardware found in a standard model. A 12-megapixel Sony sensor 1.4-micron pixels and Optical Stabilization behind in F/1.7 lens. And like the Regular U11, the U11 Plus lens heavily on HTC’s HDR boost technology which helps it capture more colour detail in night shots and gather more dynamic range from most scenes.
In general, it’s the closest I’ve seen another manufacturer come to matching Google’s HDR+ camera from the Pixel 2. Google is still unchallenged when it comes to noise reduction and extreme low-light photography because of that computational edge. Nevertheless, the HTC U11 Plus is a very close competitor and for my money, it’s essentially a coin toss between this and the Huawei Mate 10 for the number 2 spot.
As a particular point of strength, HTC’s camera is superb for pulling out lots of colour detail in Night-Scenes. And unlike the early days of the U11, the camera no longer tends towards overexposing darker scenes either. HDR boost also seems a little quicker than I remember it being on the HTC U11 possibly thanks to the Software enhancement all the extra couple gigs of RAM.
In every other way, this is identical to the camera of HTC U11. The main thing you don’t get that many competing phones do offer is Portrait mode which may or may not be a big deal for you.
Around the front, an 8-megapixel camera and f/2.0 lens aim to up the HTC U11 Plus a selfie game, particularly in darker conditions. I found the results closely match the very similar setup used in the Google Pixel 2 though obviously, without that phone’s front-facing Portrait mode option.
Processor & Memory: –
Under the hood, HTC takes the core specifications of the HTC U11 Plus and layers on a few key upgrades. In the UK 6 gigabytes of 128 gigabytes of storage as the standard loadout. In some other places like Taiwan as a 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage version as well. Storage is expandable up to 2TB via microSD card. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset which clocked at Octa-Core up to 2.45GHz processor.
The HTC U11 Plus is running on Oreo which is still relatively few and far between so it’s great to see U11 Plus arriving with Android 8.0 out of the box. HTC Sense UI customizations are still around too and mostly the same as they were on the U11. As Android skins go this remains a relatively light touch. The most obvious change that hits you in the face the new style icons which honestly, I can take or leave.
Most other sense features remain unchanged Blinkfeed fills the leftmost home screen panel with news and social updates. And a Sense launcher inherits a couple of fashionable features from other phones letting you swipe up to the app drawer or down to the notification tray. Unfortunately, don’t do much to alleviate the general staleness of some passive sense. Many Sense apps haven’t changed in years whether it’s dialer or messages apps largely unchanged from 2015’s HTC M9 or the weather animations that date all the way back to 2011’s HTC Sensation.
The combination of Sense UI + Android Oreo 8.0 looks fine and is perfectly pleasant to use but this is far from the visual overhaul that I think HTC’s UI could really benefit from.
HTC’s on-device AI thing didn’t show me a single piece of useful information in a week of use and any utility it might offer is undone by occasionally crazy suggestions like telling me to wake up early for a co-worker’s doctor’s appointment on another continent. It’s tripped up way too often by travel or by shared Google Calendars and it should either be given the engineering work. It’s all he needs or should be scrapped entirely.
HTC software still has the fundamentals download, it’s insanely fast every bit as performant as Google’s Pixel phone and it doesn’t add too much cruft on top of stock Android to me that speed and clarity are worth the 1 or 2 superfluous features that I can easily disable.
HTC Edge Sense: –
HTC is at least further developed it’s squeezy Edge Sense feature, more actions and specific apps are now supported. And there’s even an admittedly slightly clumsy way to map our squeeze two areas of other apps as well. Also, new HTC’s Edge launcher this is similar to Samsung Edge panels giving you a couple of wheels of shortcuts alongside a quick calendar view. It’s neat but not exactly groundbreaking.
Personally, I found Edge Sense works pretty well as a camera shortcut. It’s really helpful so I might have to fumble around to double tap that power button. But in the end, I’ve largely ignored most the other stuff it can do. In other apps, it’s usually easy to just tap the screen as opposed to adjusting your grip and clumsily squeezing. The same time Sense companion which was useless on the HTC U Ultra and useless on the HTC U11 is just as much of waste of space on the HTC U11 Plus.
The UTC U11 Plus ships with 3930 milliamp-hours battery. HTC takes advantages of an almost 4000 milliamp-hours power cell to guarantee a full day even with heavy use. The only time I needed an evening recharge was in dual SIM mode using the phone continually for YouTube streaming of an LTE, occasional music playback and social networking.
With light use, you may still manage a day and a half with ease probably not the second day though. As for screen on time you’re looking at about 7 hours at the high end and for the low end. As always it depends on what you’re doing. It ships with quick charge 3 but there’s no wireless charging.
So, the clear takeaway for me is that the HTC U11 Plus is probably flagship HTC should have released 6 months ago. This phone looks more modern than the regular U11 and with a bigger battery, higher specs, a sharper design and more fresh Edge Sense options. It’s way more competitive in the market in general. In the UK it’s 699 pounds, In the USA it’s 940 dollars and In India, it’s 60,000 rupees. It’s comfortably more affordable than the Pixel 2 XL.
|Indian Buyers||Buy Now||Price|
|HTC U11 Plus||Coming Soon||Rs 60,000|
|HTC U11 Plus||Coming Soon||$ 940|
|Technology||GSM / LTE / HSPA|
|SIM||Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano)|
|BODY||Dimensions||158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5mm|
|DISPLAY||Type||Super LCD6, Quad HD+, 1440 x 2880p, 18:9 Ratio
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass 5
IP68 Certified water/dust resistant
|CAMERA||Rear||12-MP, f/1.7, 1.4μm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, Dual LED two-tone Flash|
|Front||8-MP, f/2.0, Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie, 1080p|
|Features||Geo-tagging, Touch Focus, Face Detection, HDR, Panorama, Hyperlapse, Slo-Mo (1080p@120fps)|
|PROCESSOR||OS||Android 8.0 Oreo, HTC Sense UI|
|Chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|CPU||Octa-Core Up to 2.45GHz Cortex-A53|
|MEMORY||Internal||64GB, 4GB RAM / 128GB, 6GB RAM|
|External||Up to 2TB (microSD)|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Ambient Light, Proximity, Compass, Motion G-Sensor, Gyro, Magnetic, Fingerprint, Sensor Hub, Edge|
|CONNECTIVITY||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual-band, DLNA, WiFi Direct, Hotspot, Airplay, Miracast Devices|
|USB||USB 3.1 Gen 1, Type-C|
|Others||Bluetooth v5.0, GPS, & NFC|
|SOUND||Speaker||Loudspeaker with Stereo Speakers|
|Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|BATTERY||Li-Ion 3930 mAh|