This phone is already comeback player of the year for HTC for 2017. You already remember how poor the use of space and money the U ultra was just a couple months ago. Less than six months later we get this at a very similar price.
So from the outside you might not see that much of difference, you know same shiny body, same thick rounded design, same lack of a headphone jack. It seems at first glance really similar because it is. But as far as packing features and specs into this phone they cleaned up real nice. So it’s run right down the spec sheet you have Android 7.1.1 with the same HTC software on top. so Snapdragon 835 with the adreno 540 , 4 gigs of ram, a 3000 milliamp hour battery, a 5.5 inch quad HD display, 64 gigs of storage expandable via microSD and a 12 megapixel F 1.7 camera with OIS.
Now specs aren’t everything they, don’t tell the whole story. But here they do a pretty good job, if we head down that spec list again besides just of course the very impressive numbers. This phone gets a lot of things right. So with Android it’s already on the latest version, later than most phones it’s 7.1.1. So that’s a good sign and hopefully it gets updates plus it has all the same features HTC has decided to add on top of Android. The snapdragon 835 chipset we already know has been awesome and other phones plus four gigs of ram. So we’re expecting and getting top-notch performance here, best-in-class and it’s absolutely one of the smoothest and most responsive Android phones out there right now.
I’m just a little less confident with that full-time smoothness lasting as long as something like from a stock Android phone. But I’m still very impressed with how HTC’s animations just glide for the most part . They use really short simple animations and that’s what you want to see.
It’s got a 3000Tmilliamp hour battery. Not the biggest number in the world, but we’re seeing this thing up or form phones with bigger cells and laughs comfortably all day, and that’s super impressive considering the display. And that display is a 5.5 inch 1440p LCD display that gets pretty bright. It’s definitely not the brightest and it can struggle outdoors. But still high pixel density and great colors anytime you’re not outside is going to get a thumbs up there.
Storage is all there 64 gigs out of the box with a microSD card slot and a camera has been absolutely killing it. It’s a 12 megapixel sensor big wide-open F 1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization really matters and helps it a lot in low-light. Plus it has that same Snapdragon 835 as the 1 plus 5 ,so it’s doing auto instant HDR. So HTC could stop right there they’ve already wiped the floor with their previous phone pretty much no reason to buy the you ultra anymore , but I haven’t even gotten to the headlining feature of this phone.
Edge Sense : Lets Squeez the Phone.
The main major headlining feature of the U11 is a custom shortcut that’s mapped to squeezing the phone. It’s called edge sense. Instead of a custom button like an extra key or an edge display feature or anything like that HTC has crammed pressure sensors into the size of this phone specifically in the lower half on both sides. So you can squeeze the phone to launch any app of your choice. It can be the assistant or the camera or your Instagram or whatever you want really. Or you can have squeezed to take screenshots or toggle the flashlight or instantly start a voice recording or turn Wi-Fi hotspot on. So it’s completely custom it can do a lot of things.
Is squeezing it is that a gimmick or is that legit ?
Well I think that all really will depend on how your hands wrap around this phone and how naturally you think it feels to just squeeze the phone in the middle of using it. It can be kind of a weird thing depending on the way you hold the phone to squeeze it to launch something. maybe a bit unnatural. The phone doesn’t flex at all. it’s metal. But HTC actually does let you calibrate how hard you want to have to squeeze before it activates edge sense.
There’s 10 different pressure levels , so naturally naturally you’d think you’d want to set it as low as possible so you don’t have to grip the phone super hard just to launch something. But the thing is if you set the squeeze value to low you can actually accidentally start triggering it when you’re just taking up the phone off a table. I had it happen to me a couple of times it can be too sensitive or even sometimes. If you set the squeeze level too high then you need like a two-handed vise grip on the phone just a squeeze it hard enough to trigger it and that’s not natural at all. So you kind of have to have it somewhere in the middle, got to make sure you calibrate it right. Basically if you do squeeze just one side of the phone that will activate it too. So while it was definitely weird at first for me to squeeze the phone instead of just pressing a custom button or launching my app, it did pretty quickly get pretty easy with that mid-level squeeze pressure , the more I got into it, the more I got used to it.
You can enable advanced mode which lets you set different shortcuts to a quick squeeze versus a long squeeze. Kind of like a single press versus a long press if it was a button. And you can really dig down and customize a whole lot of functionality just in squeezing this phone. If you’re into it this phone is already a pretty complete package and then you add the squeeze feature on top of all of that and it becomes really interesting.
But this one is definitely not perfect there’s still no headphone jack, that’s still a poor use of space, it’s still super shiny and very reflective. And the fingerprint reader is still annoyingly small and the bezels are still annoyingly big.