Gadgets

HTC U11 HANDS-ON : a phone that struggles to stand up to flashier competition

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HTC U11 HANDS-ON

HTC U11 release date: June 2017

HTC U11 price: £649




The HTC U11 is the follow-as much as the HTC 10, a smartphone I appreciated however that struggled to virtually get up to flashier opposition, and that had the equal layout DNA first delivered with the frankly terrible HTC U extremely and U Play.

While flagships from Samsung and LG are seeking to stand out by reducing the bezel width and consequently providing greater display in a smaller frame, as well as by the use of HDR-geared up shows, HTC goes in a exceptional route. you could say a much greater gimmicky route.

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As the rumours had recommended, the key ‘innovation’ (that’s HTC’s word, no longer mine) right here is ‘area feel’, a brand new way of interacting with the smartphone through literally squeezing the sides. A mild squeeze opens Google Assistant, and a harder squeeze takes you to the digital camera app. once you’re inside the digital camera, pressing down on the decrease portion of the rim acts like pushing a shutter button.

It’s an exciting idea, however the sensation of pressing down – hard – on the sides of the cellphone is quite bizarre, and that i continuously felt like i used to be going to drop it. Later in the yr HTC says 1/3-birthday celebration apps can be able to take advantage of those squeezy functions – i was proven a clever example of it working in Google Maps, wherein urgent harder zoomed in – but it’s a disgrace this isn’t coming at launch.

Every other of the U11’s largest functions isn’t coming at launch both, and that’s Amazon’s Alexa. The digital assistant has been a hit whilst baked into merchandise together with the Echo, however this is the first time it’ll simply be a local part of a cellphone. (Sorry, Huawei, but your garbage Alexa app doesn’t be counted.)

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Just like the Echo, Alexa will burst into lifestyles while it hears a wake-phrase, and thanks to the four microphones dotted across the phone it ought to listen you from quite a distance. Alexa will paintings with its normal ability set, so that you’ll be capable of control your smart domestic, and many others, but we’ll ought to wait and see if any greater telephone-precise actions are added. HTC says that Alexa will are available in July inside the united kingdom, united states of america and Germany.

The front-firing BoomSound audio system are again, and HTC says they’re seemingly better than ever. Sound is pumped from in the back of the screen. In my brief demo, YouTube films sounded particularly better than thru the Galaxy S8+ i was the use of as a evaluation.

There’s no headphone jack on the HTC U11, and while I don’t accept as true with this at the whole, as a minimum HTC is doing it for a motive. in the field you get a pair of HTC’s USonic in-ear buds that feature active noise-cancelling, and there is also a three.5mm dongle (finally, HTC) which homes a built-in DAC that HTC claims should improve the sonics even while you’re using other manufacturers’ headphones. Audio has been one in all HTC’s strengths for years, and that appears to be persevering with here.

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HTC is likewise claiming the digicam will focus in zero.3 seconds thanks to the updated segment-detection autofocus, however that is something that’s hard to check after slightly an hour with the cellphone.

I was a huge fan of the metallic-clad layout HTC utilised for the majority of the one series. It have become nearly iconic, and copied on many occasions. I’m less enamoured of this new all-glass appearance. From a distance it appears sleek, with the slightly curved 3D glass on both the the front and the lower back, however up close it’s no longer the prettiest. The glass feels almost caught on, and the polished lower back is perhaps the largest fingerprint magnet on any phone i have ever used. definitely, preserve the telephone for some seconds and the again turns into jammed with smudges. HTC has even included a case inside the box, and i am pretty certain that’s because of the fingerprint trouble.

On the internal you’ve got what i am certain may be the standard 2017 set-up: 4GB of RAM, Snapdragon 835, 64GB of garage and a microSD card slot. a few territories gets a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but now not the United Kingdom.

It’ll be a fast smartphone, even greater so because of HTC’s light skin that feels lots like Android 7.0. other than the ropy AI capabilities ripped from the U extremely, the software is nearly precisely similar to that of the HTC 10.

The HTC U11 isn’t as right now beautiful because the LG G6 or Samsung Galaxy S8, however it seems to have plenty going for it. It’s now not the maximum exciting telephone of 2017, however the addition of Alexa, progressed BoomSound speakers, and bundled ANC headphones shows HTC is trying tough to preserve on pinnacle of the matters it does nice.

I’m now not convinced through the threshold feel gestures yet – maybe they’ll grow on me with prolonged use, even though – and i’d have liked to peer a larger display improvement, particularly for the £649 rate.



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