HTC has announced its flagship for 2017, the HTC U11. The new handset follows the movement started by the HTC U Ultra and U Play earlier in 2017, but brings with it flagship spec, looking to outshine its rivals.
So here's how the HTC U11 compares to the 2016 flagship HTC 10 that it replaces. Is this a handset that will see you begging to upgrade, or is this a little more incremental? You can also read how it compares to the Samsung Galaxy S8, if you're after the big rival showdown.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Design
- HTC U11: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm, 169g, IP67 water resistant
- HTC 10: 145.9 x 71.9 x 3-9mm, 161g
- HTC U11 offers pressure-sensitive frame
- 3.5mm headphone jack on HTC 10, not on HTC U11
The HTC U11 moves away from the metal unibody signature of HTC to offer the "liquid surface" finish instead. This gives you a glossy glass finish that's rich with colour and totally unique, shimmering with different hues depending on how the light catches it. It's available in blue, black, red, silver and white.
It comes with a pressure-sensitive squeezable frame, called Edge Sense, that enables a new method of interaction, meaning you can squeeze the phone to take a photo, for example. There's no 3.5mm headphone socket, but there is waterproofing.
The HTC 10 features a metal unibody measuring 145.9 x 71.9mm with a curved rear between 3mm and 9mm and a weight of 161g. There is a chamfered edge on the rear and a physical capacitive button on the front with a built-in fingerprint sensor.
At the top of the device, you'll find a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with USB Type-C. The HTC 10 comes in three colours including gold, silver and carbon grey. The HTC 10 is entirely conventional, whereas the HTC U11 is different thanks to that new glass finish.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Display
- HTC U11: 5.5-inch Super LCD 5, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 534ppi
- HTC 10: 5.2-inch Super LCD 5, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 564ppi
The HTC 10 comes with a 5.2-inch Super LCD 5 display with a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 564ppi. It is a flat screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass with a curved 2.5D edge, offering a seamless finish.
The HTC U11 comes with a slightly larger 5.5-inch display, using the same type of panel as the HTC 10 and the same resolution, meaning a slight drop to 534 ppi. Again it's topped with Gorilla Glass, with 2.5D edges.
There's very little difference, apart from the size.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Cameras
- HTC U11: 12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm, OIS; 16MP front camera, f/2.0
- HTC 10: 12MP, f/1.8, 1.55µm, OIS; 5MP front camera, f/1.8, 1.34µm
The HTC U11 sticks to the same resolution as the HTC 10, but now comes with f/1.7 aperture and 1.4µm pixels as well as optical image stabilisation. There's more power in this new camera, with the whole sensor being able to detect faces, fast 0.3 second autofocus and zero-lag HDR, which HTC is calling HDR Boost.
The HTC 10 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.55µm pixels, optical image stabilisation, laser autofocus and an aperture of f/1.8. There is a dual-tone LED flash on board and a number of features including Auto-HDR, face detection and 4K video recording.
The front facing camera of the HTC 10 has a 5-megapixel sensor with 1.34µm pixels, an aperture of f/1.8 and optical image stabilisation. On the HTC U11, this camera steps up to 16-megapixels, f/2.0, with a wide-angle to capture more.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Hardware
- HTC U11: Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage + microSD
- HTC 10: Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage +microSD
The HTC U11 comes with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, as well as microSD support. There will also be a version with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The battery is 3000mAh. The U11 should be more powerful and more battery efficient than the HTC 10.
The HTC 10 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, supported by 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. There is microSD on board for further storage expansion.
A 3000mAh battery capacity is charged via USB Type-C, with both offering Quick Charge 3. We'd expect the HTC U11 to have the power to run rings around the HTC 10.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: BoomSound showdown
- HTC U11: USB Type-C, BoomSound Hi-Fi, Hi-Res, USonic headphones with active noise cancellation, 4 mics
- HTC 10: 3.5mm, Boomsound Hi-Fi, Hi-Res, USonic headphones, 3 mics
HTC is all about music and wants to be the best music phone out there. The HTC 10 put in an impressive showing with the introduction of the self-tuning USonic headphones - also some of the best headphones you'll find bundled with a smartphone, with Hi-Res certification. That was paired with BoomSound Hi-Fi, using the phone's two speakers to deliver impressive audio.
HTC U11 takes this up a step. In terms of BoomSound it now uses the whole phone body as a resonation chamber to bring more volume and clarity, but it also bumps up the headphones, bringing active noise cancellation to the party. The headphones are still the USonic headset we've seen before, but now USB Type-C equipped.
The downside of the U11 is no 3.5mm headphone socket, but there is a DAC-equipped dongle in the box, so your old cans will sound great.
If you're into video recording, there's a jump to 4 mics, with zooming audio to match the video.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Software
- HTC U11: Android Nougat with HTC Sense, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, HTC Sense Companion
- HTC 10: Android Nougat with HTC Sense, Google Assistant
The HTC 10 launched on Android Marshmallow with a simplified version of HTC Sense that stripped back a lot of the bloatware for a more refined Android experience. This has since been updated to Nougat, along with an update that brings Google Assistant.
The HTC U11 offers a similar software experience to the HTC 10, but with a couple of additional features. There's Edge Sense as we've mentioned above, along with HTC Sense Companion. This app made its debut on the HTC U Ultra and U Play and aims to manage your device better.
The kicker is that the U11 is also getting Amazon Alexa as an additional AI service, meaning you'll be able to talk to Alexa from your phone too. Of course this is only software and there's nothing to stop HTC updating the HTC 10 to offer the same software experience as the HTC U11 - in which case only Edge Sense will be unique.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Conclusions
The HTC U11 looks to take the experience of the HTC 10 and layer on new features. The biggest is the addition of Edge Sense, something that other devices won't offer, because it's dependant on the pressure-sensitive body. In terms of software, the addition of Amazon Alexa brings more skills, but there's nothing to stop that coming to the HTC 10 too.
The U11 offering something totally unique through those deep glass colours. There's the waterproofing on top of that, but in many ways, while the materials change, from the front the HTC U11 sticks to the same design language as the HTC 10 and it's clear they are from the same family.
More screen space, more power and more storage keep the HTC flagship moving forward, but it's not a radical rethinking. The HTC U11 is expected to be available from 18 May, priced at £649.