HTC unveiled its new flagship smartphone, U11, as it looks to reassert itself as an important player in the premium device market.
The stand-out feature of the device is a feature named Edge Sense, which uses eight sensors incorporated into the side of the device to enable user input by squeezing. Two inputs are available – short squeeze and longer press – which can be used to launch applications, with HTC focusing on the ability to use Edge Sense to control the U11’s camera.
HTC is also on the voice assistant bandwagon, with the new smartphone responding to “OK Google” requests and also running Amazon’s Alexa service in Germany, the UK, and US.
In terms of design, the device uses HTC’s “Liquid Surface” concept, which Nigel Newby-House, the company’s portfolio planning head, said is intended to: “breathe new life into our unibody, and blend the durability of aluminium with the purity and elegance of glass”.
HTC U11 features a 5.5-inch quad-HD (2560×1440 pixel) screen. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, with 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage, both of which offer a microSD expansion slot.
The main camera uses HTC’s UltraPixel technology, with 12MP resolution. HTC said it: “achieved an incredible DxOMark 90 score, making it the highest rated smartphone ever in DxOMark history”. Google previously claimed this with its Pixel smartphone, which had a score of 89.
On the front of the U11 is a standard 16MP camera.
As with the earlier U-branded devices, U11 omits a 3.5-inch headphone jack. The device is instead compatible with HTC’s USonic headphones, which use on-board microphones to tailor the audio to specific users, and have now been upgraded to include active noise cancellation.
The on-board BoomSound speakers have also been updated “to deliver 100 per cent more loudness and 150 per cent improvement in dynamic range audio”.
HTC plans to launch the U11 next week in select regions, but did not specify which. It did reveal the global rollout will occur in June, and the device can be ordered in the UK for £649.