HTC U11 Life review
Full HD and Qualcomm performance
The HTC U11 Life has a 5.2” Full HD Super LCD display and being a bit smaller it is an awful lot easier to hold. The resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels really gives all the definition you may want, for gaming or watching videos.
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Inside, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 octa-core 2.2GHz processor with 3GB RAM powers the experience. This processor is fast but more energy efficient, giving for example 20 hours more music playback, compared to the HTC 10.
Tough yet beautiful
The front of the phone is protected behind durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and the HTC U11 Life is IP67 certified, meaning it is truly weatherproof / water resistant. The thickness of this HTC phone is pretty average at 8.1mm but it is very light at 142g.
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The acrylic glass back makes a real statement with layers of highly refractive minerals. These transform light at every turn and you can choose a base colour of either Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black or Ice White.
Phone Set Up
Transferring content and fingerprint security
The HTC U11 Life has a healthy 32GB internal memory. This is more memory than most other phones in the same pricing bracket. Once the content from your old smartphone is transferred over, you can boost the memory through the microSD card slot, if needed. The card slot supports cards of up to 2TB.
New: HTC U11+ review
For security, there is a fingerprint sensor and this has been built into the home key.
The Edge Sense feature on the HTC U11 Life is a god send for those who want easy one-handed operation. Edge Sense knows when you squeeze the phone and the squeeze action can be programmed to open apps and perform actions within those apps.
A few examples of Edge Sense actions:
- Launch the camera
- Switch between the front and back cameras
- Take a photo
- Open Stories within Instagram
- Zoom in while viewing Google Maps
- Play or pause music with Google Play Music when the screen is off
You can set Edge Sense to open the Alexa or the Google Assistant, although this seems like a wasted choice as the HTC U11 Life supports Always on Voice Commands. This means that an ‘Okay Google’ voice command will trigger the Google Assistant, while an ‘Alexa’ will catch the attention of Alexa.
You may have already guessed that the HTC U11 Life is an Android device and in Europe this means that you will enjoy Google’s Android Oreo operating system.
The HTC U11 Life comes with the USonic Earbuds in the box. These map your inner ear, using sonar-like tech, to then adapt the sound to your own unique biology. They connect through the USB Type-C port (there is no 3.5mm audio jack) and as a Hi-Res Audio certified device, you get to enjoy 24-bit sound, which is better than CD quality.
HTC USonic comes with Active Noise Cancellation as well. This monitors environmental sound and makes adjustments so that they do not disturb your enjoyment of games, music or videos
HTC Sense Companion
The HTC Sense Companion brings AI type intuitive actions to this phone. The HTC Sense Companion can:
- Clear junk files and unused apps
- Keep you up to date on upcoming weather that may affect your calendar events
- Give fitness coaching through the weekly step count report
- Suggest nearby points of interest when travelling
- Monitor traffic conditions to tell you to leave earlier, with Google Maps interfacing giving alternative routes
Camera & Video
The 16MP camera on the HTC U11 Life has Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF), for speed and accuracy. HDR Boost is also available and this can capture a high dynamic range without the lag.
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HDR Boost captures two images at different exposures, in quick succession. It then knits these images together using the bright detail from one image and the dark detail from the other.
Other camera features include Pro Mode with RAW image format support, Hyperlapse, Slow motion video and 4K video with Hi-Res Audio. With 4K video recording the camera uses the info from the next and previous frames to remove electronic noise.
16MP vs UltraPixel selfie camera
The selfie camera can operate in one of two modes. The first captures highly detailed images at a resolution of 16MP. The second mode is UltraPixel and this lowers the resolution in order to capture more light. Basically, you will want to use the 16MP camera during the day and UltraPixel in low light.
The selfie camera app includes HDR Boost, Live make-up, Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie and Selfie Panorama.
Predicting your battery usage
The 2,600mAh battery certainly isn’t the biggest that we have seen but the energy efficient Qualcomm processor and HTC Sense Companion ensure that you don’t run into low battery issues.
The HTC Sense Companion can intuitively take actions like checking your daily appointments. If it thinks that your current charge won’t handle your day’s activities then it will remind you to charge the battery before you leave home.
The battery should be able to deliver a talk time of up to 22 hours or a standby of up to 9 days.
Next: Asus Zenfone 4 review
Written by: Michael Brown