HTC U11 Unveiled with 5.5-inch Quad HD Display, Snapdragon 835, and Pressure-sensitive Edges

HTC today unveiled its latest flagship handset: the HTC U11. While others OEMs are launching phones with bezel-less front, HTC has taken a different approach with the U11.

The U11 features a liquid surface rear that gives it a very premium and glossy look. This is the same design language that HTC first debuted earlier this year with the U Ultra earlier in the year. Unlike the U Ultra though, the U11 an IP67 certification that makes it dust and water resistant.

The front of the phone features a 5.5-inch Quad HD SLCD5 display that is protected by Corning’s 3D curved Gorilla Glass 5. Inside the HTC U11 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset clocked at 2.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and a microSD card slot.

The rear of the phone houses a f/1.7 aperture 12.3MP Sony shooter with 1.44u pixels, OIS, and PDAF with LaserAF. At the front, there is a 16MP selfie shooter with a 150-degree wide angle lens. Surprisingly, it only features EIS this time around and not OIS. HTC was the first OEM to introduce OIS to the selfie camera with the HTC 10 last year, so its omission this year is a bit surprising. The usual connectivity options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi ac, NFC, GPS, USB-C, gigabit LTE are also onboard. All this is powered by a 3000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support.

A BoomSound Hi-Fi setup similar to the U Ultra is also found on the U11. This means that the primary speaker is downward firing, with the earpiece at the top of the phone acting as a tweeter to enhance frequencies. Similar to the U Ultra, the U11 lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack. To make up for it, HTC is bundling a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter in the box along with its USonic earbuds and a clear case. The handset also features 4 strategically placed microphones that allow it to capture 360-degree 3D sound.

Additionally, the HTC U11 will be among the very few non-Google devices to support Always-On ‘OK Google’ voice command. Additionally, making use of the Snapdragon 835 chipset’s dual wake word feature, the HTC U11 will also feature Alexa integration and hotword detection. The feature will go live in the US, UK, and Germany 30 days after the handset goes live. In China, the U11 will feature Baidu’s DuerOS.

What sets the U11 apart from any other smartphone in the market right now is HTC’s Edge Sense. The handset’s edges feature pressure sensors that can be linked to certain actions. The amount of pressure to be applied to the sensors is completely customisable and various apps or actions can be set to different levels of force applied. One can also squeeze the phone to take selfies and record videos, which does sound like a useful feature to have. HTC notes that Edge Sense works even with wet hands or when you are wearing gloves which will definitely make it useful in certain scenarios.

HTC did not provide any information on the price of the phone, but it did note that the U11 will go on sale in certain regions from next week with a global launch slated for June. The handset will be available in a bunch of colors — white, black, blue, and red — though availability will vary depending on the region.