Published on May 16th, 2017 | by Varuna Singh


Why the HTC U11 is the best phone HTC has made

The HTC U11 is out. Its official and we got our hands on it for some time. Even if you are a skeptic of the squeeze functionality, I have reasons to believe that the U11 is by far the best phone HTC has made and one to definitely consider as your next.

  1. HTC BoomSound has come a long way

Since the introduction in 2013, HTC BoomSound has been a benchmark in smartphone audio experience. In the U11, the whole phone is an acoustic chamber. HTC has managed to create both highs and lows with their set up. Sound radiates from within and is pointed towards you giving you  a more balanced and loud sound without many distortions.

In addition to external sound, HTC’s bundled in USB C to 3.5mm adapter has a built in DAC. It offers a lot of the benefit of the internal DAC. Its even been bend tested over 10,000 times.

  1. HTC U11’s camera is one of its best

The Camera on the U11 is much improved. It has a higher DXOMark score than the previous HTC 10 device that got 88 (just a little shy of 89 that the Google Pixel has -also made by HTC). While that looks good on paper, HTC hasn’t just worked on the final image. It has aligned every Android Camera API with the camera to give the most native camera experience that takes full advantage of Android Camera in a way that should allow you to capture pictures quicker. When you press the shutter button, it takes the picture instantly and what you see in the viewfinder is what you get in the image. This level of integration was much appreciated on iOS and the U11 matches that.

The camera also takes 4K videos as well as 120fps videos. It has 4 microphones that allow you to take a much wider “3D sound” along with the ability to zoom the microphone to focus at the point where you have zoomed in.

  1. Squeezing the phone feels natural

It makes sense to be skeptic of the squeeze feature but in my usage of the U11, it actually works. What makes more sense to me is the usage of pressure and ultrasound to grab feedback on the sensors. That should enable you to squeeze the phone even under water and while wearing gloves. HTC calls this Edge Sense.

HTC will slowly reveal more of the capability of the squeeze hardware as time comes. For now, it is limited to single press and long press (err, squeeze).

  1. Voice Unlock

Voice recognition is accurate if done well. This cognitive service does authentication on the device and doesn’t rely on a server. Which means its secure and would work even without internet. On top of all, you can get contextual responses using Google Assistant by just your voice.

  1. Amazon Alexa

HTC’s bet on Amazon Alexa sounds better than investing in their own (eg: Bixby). There are a lot of Echo enabled devices that are coming to market soon, and I feel the Amazon Echo integration will be in our benefit.

The downside for this region is were not really sure if this will be available in the Middle-East.

  1. Its better than the U ultra

We’ve almost lost hope when the overpriced HTC U Ultra launched. Apart from the U Ultra having a lot of wasted space, it really didn’t move anyone and offered very less with a lot more gimmicks and compromises than actual improvements. A lot of the mistakes in the Ultra have been addressed and the U11 feels like a phone well thought of.

I feel the last point is important as it symbolizes that HTC still wants to be relevant and is doing its best with their latest U11 flagship. It doesn’t have a curved screen or even a near bezel-less screen. In addition the design and colors might be too flashy for you. At the end of the day, that’s a personal preference and the design team at HTC decided to go this way. However, as a phone I think HTC has done their homework and are focused on making their phone perform really well and do best in what they do – make good phones.

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About the Author

I work with technology in Education. I also write stuff. I love design and people. @varunasingh

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