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05 November 2017, 02:17 | Denise Dawson
The HTC U11+ in Translucent Black
Given that the U11 already had a solid battery life, the larger battery could mean "real" two days of battery life.
Mini versions of phones have all but gone away with only really Sony offering this type of device with, most recently, the Xperia XZ1 Compact.
The U11 Plus that is coming out now does have a few HTC hallmarks, such as its fancy all-glass rear shell and the same excellent camera system of the U11. On the other, there are last year's flagships: eclipsed by newer silicon, but still often packing a more than capable punch. The Android One variant of the phone goes up for pre-order in the United Kingdom today for £349, and you can get it from HTC's official website.
Do you think the price of the smartphone is justified?
The HTC U11 Life works very well with Google Assistant's hands-free launch phrase. HTC calls it a "value flagship", a mid-range smartphone with a design as good as a flagship phone. Still, it's enough of a difference to make one-handed use more practical, without sacrificing screen real-estate too considerably.
The U11+ is also IP68-rated, making it both water- and dust-resistant.
Personally, I prefer, pure, stock Android, which is Android as Google intends it to be.
Overall, this is an impressive start for a £349 phone.
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The U11 life may be acrylic rather than glass, but you might not realize when you first pick it up. That's understandable for the price tag and the screen looks perfectly acceptable for a mid-ranger. I could only have the volume set to about 70 percent maximum most of the time as audio is loud, crisp, clear, and simply stunning.
I didn't particularly notice the chipset step down from the U11's Snapdragon 835, in terms of performance at least. The HTC U11 Life is running Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box.
The price of the smartphone is going to be €799 in Europe, with the flagship being sold in "select markets" around the world. There's also a microSD card slot should you need to add more.
A lack of headphone jack is a bit of a shame but HTC includes its USonic headphones in the box which use USB-C. Also, since the life is not a Google phone, you can actually customize what the squeeze does, and even separate long squeezes and short squeezes as different gestures.
Like the HTC U Play, the U11 Life has a 16Mp camera instead of the UltraPixel 3 found on the U11. It's limited to 1080p video, though.
We won't know how good it is until we test it properly, but the signs are promising.
Inside the U11 Life is a 2600mAh battery, not too much smaller than the 3000mAh one found in the U11.
We'll test out battery life soon but for now HTC claims you'll get an extra two hours of video playback or web browsing compared to the HTC 10.
The Android One model will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, however. Unfortunately, it is not officially going to be sold in the USA which is disappointing since this is the first HTC flagship in a long time who's specifications on paper sound very impressive. We understand from a reliable source that HTC designed both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but Google only kept HTC's Pixel 2 and took the other design to LG for a cheaper production (ouch).
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