HTC has announced two new U handsets at an event in Taipei. The two devices come in the form of the U11 Life and the U11 Plus, both following on from the U11 flagship that launched earlier this year.

The HTC U11 Life has been described as the "little brother" of the U11, but how do the two smartphones compare? Here are the differences between the HTC U11 Life and the HTC U11.

  • Both IP67 water and dust resistant
  • Both offer programmable Edge Sense feature
  • Both liquid surface but U11 Life is acrylic while U11 is glass

The HTC U11 has a liquid surface design that is available in four colours including a fabulous Solar Red option. The reflective rear features a single lens camera, dual LED flash and a HTC logo, while the glass front offers a pill-shaped capacitive fingerprint sensor below the display. 

The edges of the U11 are squeezable, a feature HTC called Edge Sense, and there is a volume rocker on the right edge, coupled with a ridged power button, while USB Type-C is present at the bottom. The HTC U11 doesn't offer a headphone jack but it is IP67 water and dust resistant.

The HTC U11 Life offers an acrylic liquid surface design, following in the path of its larger brother, though lighter because of the switch from glass to plastic and only available in Brilliant Black and Sapphire Blue colour options. It looks similar to the U11 however, with a single camera on the rear again and a fingerprint sensor on the front.

Like the U11, the U11 Life also offers Edge Sense, which can be programmable to any app and there is also IP67 water and dust resistance on board. You won't find a 3.5mm headphone jack on this device either, though you will find the volume rocker on the right edge again, as well as that ridged power button.

  • Both LCD panels
  • U11 Life is smaller and lower resolution
  • Both have Gorilla Glass protection 

The HTC U11 has a 5.5-inch Super LCD 5 display that features a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 534ppi for an excellent experience.

HTC didn't follow the same route as competitors with the U11 so there is no HDR on board, but the LCD display is protected by 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for a lovely seamless finish between the display and the edge of the device.

The HTC U11 Life meanwhile has a slightly smaller 5.2-inch display, though also opts for an LCD panel over OLED. The mid-range device drops its resolution down a little to Full HD however, resulting in a pixel density of 424ppi, meaning images and text will be a little softer on the U11 Life compared to the U11.

There is no HDR on board the U11 Life either, but Corning Gorilla Glass is on board for protection against scratches and scrapes.

  • More advanced camera on U11
  • More megapixels on U11 Life's rear camera
  • Both have 16MP front camera

The HTC U11 features a single 12-megapixel rear camera offering an aperture of f/1.7, 1.4µm pixels and a dual LED flash. There is optical image stabilisation on board, along with UltraSpeed Autofocus and the U11 is capable of up to 4K video recording. 

The front-facing camera on the U11 is made up of a 16-megapixel sensor that offers a f/2.0 aperture and up to 1080p video recording capabilities. It has features including Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie and Live Make-Up all on board.

The HTC U11 Life has a single 16-megapixel rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0, 1µm pixels and a dual-tone LED flash. It has optical image stabilisation, along with phase detection autofocus but it is only capable of up to 1080p video recording rather than 4K like the U11.

On the front of the U11 Life, you'll also find a 16-megapixel sensor, which like the U11 has a f/2.0 aperture and is capable of 1080p video recording. The Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie and Live Make-Up features are on board this device too.

  • More capable chipset on U11
  • Higher RAM and more storage options on U11
  • Smaller battery on U11 Life but both have Quick Charge 

The HTC U11 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform, coupled with either 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, both of which have microSD support on board for storage expansion.

A 3000mAh battery runs the show with support for Quick Charge 3.0, allowing for a speedy top up if you are running low. In terms of audio, the U11 has HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation along with HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition and support for Hi-Res audio.

The HTC U11 Life runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 635 platform, which is supported by either 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, or 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, depending on where you pick it up from. Like the U11, both variants have microSD support however so you can expand the storage.

Battery capacity for the U11 Life is 2600mAh, but Quick Charge 3.0 is once again supported. You'll also find USonic with Active Noise Cancellation on board again, though no Hi-Res audio support and no BoomSound Hi-Fi edition speakers are on this device.

  • U11 Life runs on Android One
  • U11 runs on full Android with HTC Sense
  • T-Mobile US exclusive variant of U11 Life will have full Android Nougat with Sense

The HTC U11 runs on Android Nougat 7.1 with HTC Sense over the top. It is expected to get an upgrade to Android Oreo before the year is out. 

The HTC U11 Life meanwhile, will launch on Android One, which has been "created by HTC and powered by Google". This software has been optimised for devices with mid-range specs and less capable processors and you'll find it running all U11 Life devices, except a T-Mobile US exclusive variant which will offer HTC Sense and Android Nougat.

  • U11 Life is £250 cheaper

The HTC U11 starts at £599 for the 64GB model, jumping up to £649 for the 128GB model.

The HTC U11 Life will start at £349, making it quite a bit cheaper than its larger brother.

The HTC U11 is the more powerful and the more premium of these two devices being compared here. It offers a more advanced camera, a more capable processor, a larger and higher resolution display, a more premium design and more RAM and storage.

The U11 is also the more expensive of these two devices however, by quite a margin, while the HTC U11 Life brings with it plenty of great features for its price tag, including Edge Sense and that lighter liquid surface-looking finish.

With a lighter build, similar look and £200 saving, the U11 Life might be the better option for some. For those that want the power, the premium finish and don't mind the premium price tag, the U11 is likely to be more suitable.