Following the successful launch of the HTC U11, HTC has been through something of a rocky patch. Even producing a great phone like the U11 is over-shadowed by ongoing financial difficulties and the swooping in of Google to gobble up some of the HTC staffers who worked on the Pixel.
It's not giving up just yet though, announcing two devices at a launch event in Taipei on 2 November in the form of the HTC U11 Life and the HTC U11+.
HTC U11 Life design
- Based on HTC U Play
- 145.99 x 72.9 x 3.5-7.99mm, 145g
- Acrylic Liquid Surface rear
- IP67 certification
For those who remember back to the beginning of 2017, HTC launched the U family with the U Ultra and the U Play. The U11 Life looks similar to the U Play, but the side buttons are in slightly a different position and there's less detail around the USB Type-C connection on the bottom. There's also the Android One branding on the rear at the bottom.
Unlike the U11+ with its 18:9 aspect ratio display, the U11 Life has larger bezels surrounding its screen with the lower bezel housing the capacitive fingerprint sensor button, like the U Play.
The U11 Life also has squeezable edges and a single camera lens on the rear, as well as that Liquid Surface finish, though the U11 Life opts for acrylic over glass, making for a lighter device than the more premium U11+.
The U11 Life measures 149.09 x 72.9 x 8.1mm and weighs 142g, making it marginally larger than the U Play but around the same weight. It offers an IP67 water and dust resistance and it comes with no 3.5mm headphone jack.
HTC U11 Life display
- 5.2-inch display
- 1920 x 1080 pixels, 423ppi
- LCD panel
The HTC U11 Life comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD display which is the same size and resolution as the U Play offers. It's a Super LCD panel with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio and it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, though HTC hasn't specified the grade.
We were impressed with the U Play's display even though it didn't look as potent as the Super LCD display that HTC was using in the HTC 10 at the time, so we expect good things from the U11 Life.
It won't be as striking as the big 6-inch Super LCD 6 display on the U11+ and there won't be any fancy extras like mobile HDR, but HTC is good at displays so this mid-ranger should still deliver a good screen experience.
HTC U11 Life hardware and specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, 3/4GB RAM
- 32/64GB storage with microSD
- 2600mAh battery with Quick Charge
Many of the specs for this the HTC U11 Life appeared long before the official announcement was made so they might not come as too much of a surprise to those who were following the rumours.
If you weren't, the U11 Life runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 platform and it will be available in two variants, region dependent. There will be a 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage model, as well as a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage model, both of which offer microSD support for storage expansion.
Its battery capacity is 2600mAh with Quick Charge 3.0 supported and although there is no BoomSound on board the U11 Life, it does offer HTC's USonic with Active Noise Cancellation and it is also Hi-Res audio certified and capable of Hi-Res audio recording.
HTC U11 Life cameras
- 16MP rear camera
- 16MP front camera
- 4K video recording on rear / 1080p on front
There aren't many changes in terms of the U11 Life's cameras compared to the HTC U Play. You'll therefore find a 16-megapixel main camera on the rear with an aperture of f/2.0. Phase detection autofocus is on board, alongside HDR Boost, slow motion video and Pro mode that offers manual controls, as well as RAW format support.
On the front, there is another 16-megapixel sensor, also with an f/2.0 aperture and HDR Boost. It offers features including Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie and Selfie Panorama.
The rear camera offers up to 4K video recording capabilities, while the front camera offers up to 1080p.
HTC U11 Life software
- Android One device worldwide
- T-Mobile US will offer Android Nougat with HTC Sense exclusive
Android One is designed as a programme where manufacturers can build devices that then run a pure Android experience - as you'd find on the the old Nexus devices, for example. The idea was first pitched as a way to assist those in less well-off areas to get their hands on Android phones.
The HTC U11 Life is an Android One handset, meaning it gets all of HTC's great design, but without the software bloat that might come with it. It also gets Edge Sense and all the features that come with that.
An exclusive model running Android Nougat with HTC Sense will also be available through T-Mobile in the US.
HTC U11 Life release date and price
- 2 November announcement
- Will cost £349
The HTC U11 Life was announced on 2 November, alongside the larger and more premium HTC U11+.
HTC has said it will cost £349 though availability details have yet to be announced.