HTC has been facing a downfall since 2013. However, it is back in the game with HTC U11 Life! HTC U11 Life has made a lot of promises and has lead down many of its competitors.
Let’s take a look at its features.
Network is GSM / HSPA / LTE. Launching was announced in November 2017.It was released in December 2017.
Dimensions 149.1 x 72.9 x 8.1 mm (5.87 x 2.87 x 0.32 in)
Weight 142 g (5.01 oz.)
Nano-SIM – IP67 certified
Super LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors. 5.2 inches, 74.5 cm2 (~68.6% screen-to-body ratio) 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (~424 ppi density)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Android 8.0 (Oreo); Android One, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53, Adreno 508
Memory: microSD, up to 256 GB; internal 64 GB, 4 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
Camera: 16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama, video: 2160p@30fps
Sound: Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones, loudspeaker, 24-bit/192kHz audio
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
GPS: with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass sensors
SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery, Up to 670 h (3G)
Colors: Brilliant Black, Sapphire Blue, Ice White
Price: About 400 EUR
Performance: Basemark OS II: 1461 / Basemark OS II 2.0: 1342
Basemark X: 14286
Display: Contrast ratio: 1529:1 (nominal), 3.108 (sunlight)
Endurance rating : 73h
Design Of HTC U11
You would be hard-pressed to tell the U11 Life from the U11 at first glance. It’s only when you look closely at the phones that you begin to notice where HTC saved money on the more compact handset.
The U11’s high-gloss sapphire-blue finish makes a return in the U11 Life, and it looks almost as good as it did on the original. But there’s a catch: Whereas the U11 employed glass on the rear and aluminum for the frame, the U11 Life utilizes a mix of acrylic and polycarbonate.
Rest assured; it still looks like it belongs alongside HTC’s other U Series products, but it simply doesn’t feel as premium. There’s nothing wrong with plastic in phone design when used properly. But, the U11 Life can’t help coming off hollow, tacky and a bit cheap.
The U11 featured a curved slab of Gorilla Glass 3 atop the display that steeply sloped at the edges to sit flush with the aluminum frame. The glass on the U11 Life is much flatter, but to sell the illusion of depth, HTC painted the top portion of the sides black, right where the plastic rises to meet the face of the device. It’s not very convincing, and leaves the front of the phone looking much worse than the back.
Then again, those bezels definitely don’t help the cause. To be clear, I’m not of the mind that every phone must look like a Samsung Galaxy S8 or an LG V30. Reasonably sized bezels are more than acceptable, especially on inexpensive phones. But the U11 Life commits the same sin as its premium counterpart, in that its bezels are different sizes. The one above the screen is perfectly fine, but the bottom bezel is much too chunky, and the buttons and fingerprint sensor sit just a hair too low on the chin.
No Fear For Water!
As with the HTC U11, you don’t have to fear that water will ruin your U11 Life. The phone offers IP67 water resistance. That’s the same protection offered by the iPhone 8; it’s good for 3.3 feet of submersion for a maximum of 30 minutes.
The 5.2-inch 1080p LCD display on the U11 Life is about as strong as they come at this price range. Full HD is the perfect resolution for a screen this size, and the color reproduction, viewing angles and brightness leave little to be desired.
The U11 Life set an appropriately moody scene while displaying the trailer for the second season of Stranger Things. On its standard sRGB setting, the display delivered a slightly warmer cast with more realistic tones and better contrast than what we observed from the Moto X4 Android One, which also has a pretty solid display. HTC also provides an optional vivid color mode that should satisfy users who demand more saturated hues.
The U11 Life’s display can get pretty bright, too, topping out at 515 nits on our light meter. That’s right on a par with the Moto X4’s 513-nit result. The U11 Life covers 119 percent of the sRGB spectrum and turned in a Delta-E color accuracy score of 0.33. (Numbers closer to 0 are better.) For reference, the LCD screen in the more expensive U11 covered 166 percent of the sRGB spectrum, but stood equal in terms of accuracy, at 0.34.
The camera is surprisingly pretty good in this price. HTC’s HDR processing does well in challenging light, and the f/2.0 lens gathers enough light to make shooting in darker conditions feasible. I did find that in particularly low-light environments the processing became quite muddy, but that’s par for the course on anything outside the flagship tier.
Overall, I think the camera is one of the most likable aspects of the U11 Life. It’s not without downsides, though: launches can be quite slow, and the shutter is similarly unenthusiastic at times.
Sense on the U11 Life is largely similar to Sense on the U11. Which is to say, it’s mostly a theme these days – Sense’s functional changes to Android are quite minimal.
As mentioned earlier, there’s Edge Sense, plus HTC’s small changes like motion gestures (double tap to wake, for example) and a theme store. Other than that, It’s Android 7.1.1.
The Snapdragon 630 is an eight-core processor utilizing ARM A53 CPUs. You also get 32GB of internal storage (plus microSD slot) and 3GB of RAM.
The A53 CPU design in the Snapdragon 630 is getting old, and has been in use since early 2014. And even with eight cores, the Snapdragon 61x/2x/30 have never felt like speedy chips. It has a good feature set with support for things like Always-on hotwording, Bluetooth 5.0, and a solid X12 LTE modem.
But much of Qualcomm’s newer 600-series chips opt for the A73-based Kryo cores, which are much more powerful. I’m against paying $400 for a Snapdragon 630 in the Moto X4, and I’m against paying $350 for it here. You can do much better shopping on the used market or even when looking at carrier discounts for last year’s high-end phones, and you will end up with far more capable silicon.
In the Life, we find the 630 story to be largely the same as we did in the X4: performance overall is mediocre. HTC seems to have done a decent job optimizing Android, but it feels far from “fast.” Knowing we could pay about the same money for a very gently-used Snapdragon 821 in an OnePlus 3T, we find the idea of putting up with the 630 for this price kind of ridiculous.
On the processing side, the inclusion of a Snapdragon 835 means that the HTC U11 will go head to head with the likes of Samsung’s latest Galaxy S8, Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium, and Xiaomi’s Mi 6 flagships.
The octa-core nature of the chip offers up the potential for some better power management and a performance boost to multithreaded situations, although day-to-day tasks will feel just as snappy even on last-gen hardware.
The HTC U11 is also a match for internal memory sizes that from other OEMs, with 64GB being the de facto standard. That’s more than you’ll get out of the box with some LG G6 models. However, HTC hasn’t said if it’s using UFS or eMMC memory, which might be for the best after the recent memory chip debacle.
All of the phones on the list also support microSD cards, if you want extra space for media and what not, so there’s not a lot to choose between handsets here.
The bezels around the display are a little thick, the loudspeaker isn’t designed for quality audio playback and the world still isn’t totally onboard with phones, like the U11 Life, that ditch the headphone jack.
It’s a little too easy to place the U11 Life’s hardware under pressure, particularly when gaming. Longer battery life would have been appreciated too.
HDR doesn’t offer all that much of an improvement over non-HDR shots; grain appears all too often and there’s no stabilization when shooting 4K video.
It’s an outstanding phone that is affordable and we could say it’s a mechanical version of jack of all trades! Henceforth, you could blindly buy this phone and rule out all its competitors.