HTC U11

SmartHouse - - CONTENTS - Writ­ten by David Richards

HTC is one of those Com­pa­nies, that seems to have been around the smart­phone scene for­ever, they are the phone Com­pany that big brands such as Google turn to, make their de­vices, the big ques­tion now is does their own, all new HTC U11 pre­mium smart­phone stack up?

Com­ing into the mar­ket right off the back of Sam­sung's launch of the S8 is a tough gig, for any smart­phone com­pany and at HTC, the com­pany knew that they had to de­liver a prod­uct that stacked up if they had any chance of grow­ing their share of the pre­mium smart­phone mar­ket.

This is a Com­pany that is more about en­gi­neer­ing a prod­uct than mar­ket­ing a prod­uct which many a re­viewer has dis­cov­ered af­ter hand­ing out praise for past de­vices only to see them strug­gle to get trac­tion in the mar­ket.

Un­like Sam­sung, LG or Sony smart­phones are

the lifeblood at HTC, it's what they do best.

Af­ter spend­ing four days in Tai­wan the home of HTC I be­lieve that what they've de­liv­ered with their HTC U 11 is as good as any smart­phone out there to­day es­pe­cially as it comes in un­der $1,000.

They have not only hit the mar­ket with a new look and feel that is de­signed from tough­ened glass, they have un­der the bon­net de­liv­ered core func­tion­al­ity whether it be an all new cam­era or their 24-bit au­dio or the per­for­mance that this mo­bile de­liver's when pro­cess­ing apps that se­ri­ously im­pres­sive.

The fin­ger­print scan­ner is on the front bot­tom of the de­vice and not on the back like the S8+, this makes it eas­ier to reach and when com­bin­ing new Google An­droid fea­tures with the fin­ger­print scan­ner one can eas­ily re­trieve in­for­ma­tion via this de­vice us­ing ‘Okay Google' voice com­mands.

The fin­ger­print scan­ner sits in the U11's front home but­ton and is con­sis­tently re­li­able when un­lock­ing the phone.

Adding to the look and feel of this de­vice is the 5.5-inch panel's quad-HD (2560 x 1440 pix­els) res­o­lu­tion dis­play screen which is crisp and sharp and de­spite its bright­ness does not suck bat­tery juice.

The Su­per LCD 5 panel is also up there with the more ex­pen­sive AMOLED dis­play screens.

One el­e­ment of the HTC U11 that se­ri­ously ap­pealed to me was HTC's au­dio and voice recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy.

In­side the box the U11 comes with a pair of head­phones that are noise cancelling, the de­vice it­self sup­ports 24-bit Hi-Res au­dio files, and the hand­set is one of only a se­lect few hand­sets that ac­tu­ally al­low users to play­back 24bit Hi Res tracks.

As for the USonic head­phones, which fea­ture a built-in DAC (dig­i­tal-to-ana­logue con­verter), these are the best we have ever seen out of the box.

Plug them in and the U11 au­to­mat­i­cally scans your ears to build an op­ti­mised au­dio pro­file of your ears. Un­der the bon­net HTC has im­proved the U11's Boom-Sound speak­ers.

The rad­i­cal im­prove­ments are no­tice­able with im­proved au­dio vol­ume and acous­tic cham­ber that al­lows the highs and mid ranges to sound richer and clearer, though I am yet to find some­one who lis­tens to mu­sic from a smart­phones speaker. The noise cancelling is good enough to block out back­ground of­fice noise and peo­ple talk­ing such as in a busy pub or rail­way sta­tion.

Also in the box is a USB-C-to-3.5mm con­verter that fea­tures its own pow­ered am­pli­fier, which fur­ther im­proves the U11's au­dio ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The U11 also comes with four om­ni­di­rec­tional mi­cro­phones that are great for pick­ing up voice com­mands such as OK Google and when ask­ing for a phone num­ber or di­rec­tions.

What is miss­ing is a head­phone jack which I found an­noy­ing es­pe­cially when I wanted to at­tach a more ex­pen­sive pair of head­phones. I also had prob­lems re­mem­ber­ing the adapter which added to my frus­tra­tion

Be­cause the cam­era on this de­vice is so good I in­stalled an ad­di­tional 64GB mi­croSD card, the U11 al­ready fea­tures ei­ther 64GB (tested) or 128GB of in­ter­nal stor­age. I did this be­cause I am con­stantly shoot­ing or down­load­ing video.

An­other plus for this de­vice, un­like the new G6 is that it can im­mersed in wa­ter up to depths of 1m and below for 30 min­utes.

One area where I be­lieve that HTC ex­cels is in the de­vel­op­ment of every day soft­ware, phone, con­tacts, mes­sag­ing. Un­like sev­eral other brands HTC ap­pears to work on the ba­sis that evo­lu­tion is bet­ter than revo­lu­tion re­sult­ing in the func­tions on this de­vice be­ing taken to yet an­other level.

Not only has HTC de­liv­ered the best im­ple­men­ta­tions of An­droid 7.1 Nougat that I have seen this year, they have also lay­ered around this OS ca­pa­bil­i­ties that de­liver ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity.

One of the first things I do when switch­ing to a new smart­phone is go to Apps in set­tings and delete the apps that you don't want.

With the U11 you will find that it is free of bloat­ware and du­pli­cate apps.

The HTC U11 is one of the first smart­phones to run us­ing Qual­comm's lat­est Snap­dragon 835 CPU. It's fast and re­spon­sive.

With a clock speed of 2.45GHz and heaps of RAM this de­vice de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent gam­ing and video play­back.

As for the HTC cam­era, I was se­ri­ously im­pressed in a shootout with the new LG G6, and the all new Sam­sung S8+ the U11 out­per­formed both these com­peti­tors though I do like the wide-an­gle ca­pa­bil­ity of the G6.

What HTC has is their cus­tom Ul­traPixel im­age tech­nol­ogy, which dur­ing a visit to their pic­ture/cam­era lab re­vealed that these guys take shoot­ing images se­ri­ously.

Their new sta­bil­i­sa­tion soft­ware left the iPhone 7 look­ing like yes­ter­day tech­nol­ogy when it came to shoot­ing video.

This cam­era is not only bet­ter than the Huawei P10 and the over­priced Google Pixel it's sig­nif­i­cantly ahead when it comes to shoot­ing images with the G6 and S8+ this is es­pe­cially no­tice­able when one en­larges an im­age.

What HTC has de­vel­oped are al­go­rithms that im­prove pro­cess­ing speeds and low-light per­for­mance by cap­tur­ing light on larger pix­els than what they have been able to de­liver in the past.

Colour bal­ance is solid and images don't look over­ex­posed or over­sat­u­rated.

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