HTC U11 test – A good smartphone

HTC U11 im Test: Ein gutes Smartphone braucht keine Gimmicks

The high-end smartphone HTC U11 wants to change the interaction of the user with the phone via a pushable frame. The test shows that this is not more than a gimmick. But: He also shows that the U11 does not need such a gimmick to be very good.

HTC U11 im Test

The U11 is the next attempt by HTC to recover lost ground in the smartphone market again. Earlier this year, the manufacturer presented U U Ultra (Hands-On) and U Play (Test) its new U-series, which did not bring the necessary success. A few months later, the U11 is supposed to provide the old one series with the new series. The U flagship follows the HTC 10 (test), which in turn followed on One M9, M8 and M7.

Next to current hardware such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 (test), HTC is focusing on the U11 on the frame, which is pressure-sensitive. Based on this, apps or quick accesses can be started. The manufacturer calls the whole “Edge Sense” and would like to sell itself thereby from devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 (test), LG G6 (test) or Sony Xperia XZ Premium (test).

In the test, the functionality of EdgeSense is still limited, a “game changer” is not the feature. But because the HTC U11 also without Edge Sense convinces, it must not be synonymous. The overall package is nevertheless round.

HTC U11 Sony Xperia XZ Premium LG G6 OnePlus 5 Samsung Galaxy S8
(bei Erscheinen)
Android 7.1 Android 7.0 Android 7.1 Android 7.0
Display: 5,50 Zoll
1.440 × 2.560, 534 ppi
S-LCD, Gorilla Glass 5
5,50 Zoll
2.160 × 3.840, 801 ppi
TFT, HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
5,70 Zoll
1.440 × 2.880, 565 ppi
IPS, HDR, Gorilla Glass 3
5,50 Zoll
1.080 × 1.920, 401 ppi
AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5
5,80 Zoll
1.440 × 2.960, 568 ppi
WQHD+ Super AMOLED, HDR, Gorilla Glass 5
service: Touch
Fingerabdrucksensor, Status-LED
Fingerabdrucksensor, Iris-Scanner, Status-LED
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
4 × Kryo 280, 2,45 GHz
4 × Kryo 280, 1,90 GHz
10 nm, 64-Bit
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2 × Kryo, 2,34 GHz
2 × Kryo, 2,19 GHz
14 nm, 64-Bit
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
4 × Kryo 280, 2,45 GHz
4 × Kryo 280, 1,90 GHz
10 nm, 64-Bit
Samsung Exynos 8895
4 × Exynos M2, 2,31 GHz
4 × Cortex-A53, 1,69 GHz
10 nm, 64-Bit
GPU: Adreno 540 Adreno 530
653 MHz
Adreno 540
710 MHz
Mali-G71 MP20
546 MHz
RAM: 4.096 MB
4.096 MB
6.144 MB
8.192 MB
4.096 MB
Storage: 64 GB (+microSD) 32 GB (+microSD) 64 / 128 GB 64 GB (+microSD)
Camera: 12,2 MP, 2160p
Dual-LED, f/1,7, AF, OIS
19,0 MP, 2160p
13,0 MP, 2160p
Dual-LED, f/1,8, AF, OIS
16,0 MP, 2160p
Quad-LED, f/1,7, AF
12,0 MP, 2160p
LED, f/1,7, AF, OIS
Secondary camera: Nein 13,0 MP, f/2,4, AF 20,0 MP, f/2,6, AF Nein
front camera: 16,0 MP, 1080p
Display-Blitz, f/2,0
13,0 MP, 1080p
5,0 MP, 1080p
16,0 MP, 1080p
8,0 MP, 1440p
Display-Blitz, f/1,7, AF
↓42,2 ↑5,76 Mbit/s
LTE: Advanced Pro
↓1.000 ↑150 Mbit/s
↓600 ↑150 Mbit/s
Advanced Pro
↓1.000 ↑150 Mbit/s
WLAN: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Direct
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast
Bluetooth: 4.2 LE 5.0 4.2 LE 5.0 5.0 LE
locating: A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
more Standards: USB 3.1 Typ C, NFC USB 3.0 Typ C, NFC USB 2.0 Typ C, NFC USB 3.1 Typ C, NFC
Nano-SIM, Dual-SIM
Nano-SIM Nano-SIM, Dual-SIM Nano-SIM
Akku: 3.000 mAh
fest verbaut
3.230 mAh
fest verbaut
3.300 mAh (12,50 Wh)
fest verbaut
3.300 mAh (12,35 Wh)
fest verbaut
3.000 mAh (11,55 Wh)
fest verbaut, kabelloses Laden
size(B×H×T): 75,9 × 153,9 × 7,90 mm 77,0 × 156,0 × 7,90 mm 71,9 × 148,9 × 7,90 mm 74,1 × 154,2 × 7,25 mm 68,1 × 148,9 × 8,00 mm
protection: IP67 IP68 IP68
mass: 169 g 195 g 163 g 153 g 152 g
price: ab 666 € / 749 € 749 € ab 441 € 499 € / 559 € ab 598 €

Light games and fingerprints

When it comes to optical design, HTC continues the line introduced with the U Ultra and U Play. The “Liquid Surface” design uses a lot of glass, which has been worked on the back for an effect of depth and color play. Depending on how the HTC U11 is held in the light, the optics always change a bit. The test model, which is officially the silver version, always shimmers bluish. The mirrors are also slightly twisted thanks to the rounded glass and give the U11 a special effect.

This effect is visually interesting, but essentially only up to the first contact. The back of glass is a magnet for fingerprints. This seems synonymous HTC to know and attaches to the test copy synonymous a microfiber cloth for cleaning. Also a thin case for the back, HTC, which protects the smartphone from fingerprints, but which takes some of the optical appeal.

Almost frameless there is not yet from HTC

The black front is the same in every color scheme. The edges are different from Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 + or the LG G6 noticeably larger, so that the smartphone despite a smaller 5.5-inch display has larger dimensions. The surplus space uses HTC, among other things, for the front-side placement of the fingerprint sensor, which is also a capacitive home key as well as two capacitive buttons next to it; On-screen buttons are omitted.

The haptics of the HTC device has succeeded, the glass on the front goes clean in the frame of aluminum over. Due to the rounding of the back to the edge, the smartphone is handy in the hand, the transitions are clean and the processing quality as well as the material assumption high-quality and error-free. All connections and openings are also precisely worked out. The HTC U11 is also protected against the ingress of dust and water according to IP68. All buttons are located on the right side, the switch is ribbed and therefore easy to touch even without looking, the pressure point is full. The volume rocker also has a comparatively fixed pressure point, but is slightly flat, thus requiring a little more effort and support.

Due to the rounded back, the smartphone can not be operated without tipping on the table. Although the camera is out of the case, compared to competitors such as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (test), however, significantly less distinctive.

Successful fresh cell therapy

The shape language HTC has not changed with the U11 compared to the one series and the U Ultra, but the material selection can still be described as new. As with its predecessors, the manufacturer also demonstrates its ability at the U11. The design and the design are thought out and are not compliant with the competition, only in design, HTC can not keep up with the almost frameless housings of Samsung or LG.

Good display in “normal” format

The display of the U11 is positioned 5.5 inches in the diagonal between the U Ultra (5.7 inches) and the 10 (5.2 inches). The S-LCD panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 from scratches and damage. The resolution is 1,440 × 2,560 pixels, the aspect ratio is still 16: 9 and not the longer 18 (, 5): 9 from Samsung or LG.

Good display with rich colors

The color representation on the U11 is strong, but not saturated. The contents look almost plastic and close to the glass pane, which helps the brilliance of the display. In addition, there are stable viewing angles so that no falsifications can be perceived even when viewed from the side. Due to the high resolution, fonts and media are very sharp, single pixels can not be made out.

The measured values ​​of the screen are convincing, the brightness is not at the highest level of the competition with 526 cd / m², but is usually enough for bright summer even though the reflections are very strong depending on the angle of incidence of the light. Thanks to the low black level, the panel offers a very good contrast of 1.547: 1 in the U11. Unlike the new models of Sony, Samsung or LG, HTC’s flagship does not support HDR. However, since not all portals and providers provide HDR content, this can still be neglected at the current test time.

A lot of accomplishment meets a lot of assistants

The U Ultra appeared at the beginning of the year with the Snapdragon 821 and not Qualcomm’s top model 835. As a reason, HTC announced the lack of availability at that time. This has now changed: The HTC U11 ranks in a line with, among other things, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium (Test) and Xiaomi Mi6, which are currently operated by Qualcomm currently the most powerful System-on-a-chip.

Without interruption from A to B

The U11 is equally powerful in everyday as well as in synthetic measurements. The high performance is also promoted by the fast internal memory according to the UFS standard. Apps, games and web pages load quickly and also the change between open applications succeed without waiting. Despite some smartphones such as the OnePlus 5 with up to 8 GB of RAM, 4 GB of RAM are sufficient in 2017 as well. In everyday life, the smartphone is always responsive and reliable.

Continuously high performance

To find out if the U11 is able to get the high performance even under continuous load, ComputerBase has done 20 passes of the demanding GFXBench Manhattan 3.0. Like other highly-equipped smartphones, the U11 starts to power down under continuous load. Unlike the Xperia XZ Premium equipped with a Snapdragon 835 or the Samsung Galaxy S8 (+), the U11 throttles its performance but comparatively low.

While the two competitors lose between 30 and 40 percent of their performance, the U11 is up to 20 percent. However, anzumerken is that the larger losses in the comparison models are only late, the Galaxy S8 can usually surpass the performance level of the U11 up to and including the 15th passage. Only then do the performance drop, but clearly below that of the U11. The Xperia XZ Premium can keep the U11 at a distance from half of the runs, especially from the 17th run, so also only towards the end and after a long-lasting load.

Even if such a sustained load in everyday life apart from games is rarely to be expected, the HTC U11 at this point a positive testimonial for the performance control can be exhibited. Even over a longer period, the smartphone provides about 80 percent of its performance.

Software full with wizard

As a software base of the U11 Android 7.1.1 serves together with HTC Sense as a surface. The security patch level was updated to June 2017 during the test period, and was not quite up to date in the middle of July, but a first update was already reported. The operating system keeps HTC similar to Sony slim, apps for photos or music are taken by Google and not by their own with the basically same functionality, so that apps do not duplicate.

The operating system itself supplements HTC mainly through a variety of additional apps such as Facebook, Instagram, News Republic or an app from Under Armor. Unfortunately these apps can not be uninstalled, they can only be deactivated and still remain in the memory – even if it is 64 GByte.

Also the changes to the user interface are small, primarily the optics and the app Drawer, which does not correspond to the Google pixel. HTC has not completely moved away, for example the fast settings or the fast accesses after a long press on an app is as known from the pixel also on the U11.

What is striking is that despite the fundamentally slim software, the virtual assistant is acting according to the motto “much helps a lot”. Besides the Google Assistant from Android there is also the HTC Sense Companion and since an update also Amazon Alexa. In part, these assistants can do similar tasks, some of them complement each other. All require some information from the user, can be partly used differently or access other sources for their help.

Edge Sense is a gimmick

As a stand-alone feature, the manufacturer markets the pressure-sensitive frame called the EdgeSense. EdgeSense can be used to start one or two fast accesses. In the initial setup, the user can learn the function and determine how tight the print should be to enable EdgeSense. Afterwards, EdgeSense is “Always on” and can be started from anywhere. A possible shortcut is the start of the camera after a short press and the start of the Google Assistant after a long press. When the keyboard is activated, the long press can open the dictation function. However, depending on the situation, EdgeSense does not always save time, depending on the setting, it can also be accidentally activated.

In a video, HTC has shown more upcoming edge-sense functions, but these too difficult to go beyond the status of a gimmick. A new interaction with the smartphone allows the feature already, but the revolution remains.

Fast fingerprint sensor

On the front is a fingerprint sensor, which simultaneously functions as a capacitive home button. In the first moment irritates, that the button can not be pressed, but only pressure sensitive works. Designed as a fingerprint sensor, the button reacts reliably and quickly, even from the standby. Only with wet or dirty fingers the smartphone shows the fingerprint sensor is dirty and needs cleaning – but usually it was an interaction of fingers and the surface of the smartphone.

Photos by day

The U11 is equipped with a camera which is recessed in the upper center, but slightly protruding. Your sensor solves with almost 12.2 megapixels and offers a pixel size of 1.4μm. With an aperture of f / 1.7 it is also very light. An optical image stabilizer should continue to provide shake-free images during critical exposure times, while a dual-LED flash should help to provide better illumination for particularly low-light subjects to the left of the main camera.


Photos taken during the day are very lively and have almost an HDR-like effect. This comes because the HTC U11 the light-weighted exposure measurement very well mastered and to lighten dark image elements in a healthy degree. Additional noise is not generated. Also, the color effect of the new smartphone leaves an occasionally slightly pastel-like impression, which does not necessarily have to be negatively evaluated and gives the pictures their character.

The overall picture quality of the camera is very high and does not drop noticeably towards the edge of the picture. Due to the high sharpness, an artifact-like noise pattern can be seen in predominantly homogeneous surfaces, for example in the sky, but this only strikes the eye when the images are zoomed in or are reproduced in the 100 percent view. Otherwise there is at the picture quality on the day absolutely nothing to complain about.

If the available light is reduced, for example, in interior spaces, the sensitivity of the sensor must be increased against light in order to collect the same quantity of photons. This always results in a higher noise as well as a reduced dynamic range. At slightly elevated sensitivities as in the picture with the stairwell is however not much to be seen. Also in the photo with the toy car and a sensitivity of ISO 509 suffers the quality of the picture only slightly.

At night, the new HTC U11 but its difficulties. A high noise and the significantly reduced dynamics capture at ISO 1,600 sensitivities, but at the latest at ISO 3,200, make the recordings visible. Individual details are still recognizable, but beautiful and really useful photos like the day will not succeed the new flagship.

On the next page: Accumulation for one day



Ivy is loves technology and has been addicted to it since childhood. Apart from tech, she loves watching sci-fi / historical documentaries and traveling to new places.

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