With many affordably priced smartphones now offering top-of the line processors, cameras, and displays, flagship devices can no longer rely on specs alone to justify their hefty price tags. Here’s a round up of the best smartphones with that something extra.
The HTC U11 looks stunning thanks to HTC’s unique Liquid Surface Construction design, which sandwiches two curved Gorilla glass panels around a color-matched aluminum frame. Unlike other rear glass smartphones, the U11’s glass rear curves symmetrically around the corners, rather than just at the top and bottom. In a first for HTC, the U11 is now IP67 dust and water resistant, though still not as good as IP68.
What sets the U11 apart is Edge Sense, a unique combination of hardware and software that uses eight super-thin pressure sensitive strain gauges in the lower half of the frame (four on each side), to let you squeeze the U11 to register input. By default, a short squeeze on the frame will launch the camera app, while a long squeeze can launch a different app. Edge Sense can also be configured to work with any app, where short or long squeezes can replicate a single or double tap at any position on the screen. For example, you can set up Instagram so that every time you squeeze, Edge Sense will replicate a tap on the screen over the Instagra m shutter button to take a picture.
The U11 has a 5.5-inch QHD 2,560 x 1,440 Super LCD 5 display (~540ppi). The display is bright and vibrant with plenty of contrast, but unfortunately it does not support Mobile HDR.
The U11 has HTC’s BoomSound Hi-Fi edition design, which uses the earpiece speaker and a single downward-firing speaker on the bottom of the phone for stereo sound. The internal speaker design has also been improved, with the entire body of the phone now acting as a resonant acoustic chamber, resulting in louder sound and deeper bass. There’s no 3.5mm headphone port here, but you do get a pair of HTC’s USB-C USonic earphones and a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor in the box.
On the back of the U11 is a 12-megapixel, f/1.7 camera with 1.4μm pixel size, optical image stabilization and HTC’s UltraPixel 3 technology. It also has UltraSpeed AF and improved HDR.
The front camera is a 16-megapixel, f/2.0 shooter with UltraPixel technology.