HTC has been
squeezing teasing their 2017 flagship for a few weeks now, and today’s the day they take the wraps off and show us what it’s all about. Many of the rumors were spot on, but HTC still managed to sneak a few surprises in.
HTC is touting the first-ever squeeze interaction of its smartphone, which is easily the most unique and intriguing part of the U11. The feature, called Edge Sense, will allow you to set shortcuts to the frame of the device. You can use either a short squeeze or a long squeeze, and it’s totally customizable, so if you want a long squeeze to kick on the flashlight and a short squeeze to open Google Assistant, you can do that. It’s a really novel idea, and while it probably won’t drastically redefine what phones are capable of, it’s certainly much more flexible than Samsung’s single-function Bixby button.
Aside from the squeeze feature, the U11 continues HTC’s trend for 2017 smartphones. It looks similar to the U Ultra, including a metal and glass design, but it’s a little more refined, too. It still includes courage, so don’t expect a 3.5mm headphone jack, but hopefully the USB type-C port can hold you over. Plus they’re including a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box.
Hardware is top notch, and you’ll get a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, a 12-megapixel rear camera that HTC is really talking up, and a 3,000mAh battery, plus IP67 water resistance. There’s an interesting choice of four microphones on the HTC U11 that helps with virtual assistants, and that’s a pretty big deal because HTC is shipping three of them here.
Yep, you can pick Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or HTC’s own Sense Companion, all of which should work totally hands-free. That’s not a big deal for Google Assistant, but this makes the U11 really compelling for anyone that wants a totally unrestricted Alexa experience.
HTC is exclusively selling the U11 through Sprint in the US, although they will be offering an unlocked model for everyone else that ships in June.
Is the U11 going to be enough to finally shake the trees and give Samsung some serious competition? Probably not, but it looks like a solid phone, anyway.