HTC has been rather quiet in 2017. We all know that the company has been struggling since its domineering days of 2012, most recently resulting a chunk of HTC's phone team being snapped up by Google.
With that, the next smartphone from HTC is the U11+. That's right, a plus size U11. Here's everything you need to know.
HTC U11+ design
- Liquid surface glass rear
- 18:9 design
- Only slightly larger than HTC U11
- IP68 waterproofing
HTC's designs tend to be fairly predictable as it evolves its industrial design. With the U11 being one of the most unique and beautiful phones of 2017, it will surprise no one to hear that the U11 Plus offers that same Liquid Surface back.
This unique glass formation offers colours and depth that goes beyond all other phones. It's more exciting than the glass finishes that Apple or Samsung have used on their most recent phones. The U11's Solar Red had people pumped in 2017, but the Plus takes things one step further with a Translucent option. Yes really.
Likely to be an online exclusive, the Translucent model isn't entirely see through but does show off some of the device's internals for a more interesting finish. There is also a standard black model though, in case translucent isn't your thing.
The shift in display to an 18:9 aspect is the biggest real-world change for the U11+, following the likes of Samsung, LG and Google. That means it's almost bezel free - something that was reported as far as leaks in July 2017 - but it also means that this phone with its larger display is only slightly bigger in footprint than the existing HTC U11.
The U11+ measures 158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5mm and weighs 188g, while the HTC U11 measures 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm so you're talking a matter of millimetres here for an extra 0.5-inches of display. The fingerprint sensor has been moved from the front to the rear of the device to allow for this, but it's in an ergonomic position in the centre of the rear towards the top.
There is IP68 waterproofing on board the U11+ too, along with the new BoomSound HiFi Edition arrangement of speakers. It also offers that squeezable frame, Edge Sense, to launch Google Assistant or other features and like the U11, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
HTC U11+ specs and hardware
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4/6GB RAM
- 64/128GB storage + microSD
- 3930mAh battery with Quick Charge support
The HTC U11+ has the kind of specs you would expect from a flagship device, rivalling others of 2017, although this device is launching 6-months later in the year than the likes of Samsung.
Nevertheless, it runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 platform, which is supported by either 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with support for microSD in both variants.
There is also a 3930mAh battery running the show with support for Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 technology for a fast top up if you're running low, though at that size, we'd hope it would at least get you through the day and night.
In terms of audio, the U11+ offers BoomSound speakers, which HTC claims are 30 per cent louder than those found on the U11, while HTC's USonic with Active Noise Cancellation is also on board. The U11+ is also capable of Hi-Res Audio stereo recording and it is Hi-Res Audio certified, whilst also supporting Qualcomm's aptX HD and LDAC 24-bit high resolution wireless audio via Bluetooth.
HTC U11+ display
- 6-inch LCD display
- 2880 x 1440 pixels
- 18:9 aspect
- HDR10 will come with an update
Ever since the first U11+ Plus rumour, the suggestion has been that the device would offer a bezel free design. That's basically code for a shift to the 18:9 aspect that we've seen appearing across a range of phones in 2017 and what do you know, that's exactly what happened. For once, the rumour mill didn't disappoint.
The specifics here are a 6-inch display with a 2880 x 1440 resolution. If that sounds familiar, that's because it's the same as the LG V30 and the Google Pixel 2 XL. Both those have an OLED panel from LG in it however, while the U11+ opts for a Super LCD 6 panel, taking things up a notch from the Super LCD 5 panel found in the U11. HTC has long favoured LCD panels, with only a few models choosing OLED in the past so it won't come as a huge surprise to fans.
The shift in aspect of the display means you get more space in a handset that doesn't grow very much in physical size. There's an opportunity with this device for HTC to create another large screen device and tune the display well. We really liked the U11 and with the Pixel 2 XL display being dull and rather lifeless in appearance, it's an opening for an HTC alternative, for HTC to show its experience.
The HTC U11+ will also offer HDR10 compatibility in the future, following an update. Mobile HDR is another technology we have seen on most flagship smartphones in 2017, including Samsung, LG, Apple and Google, allowing users to make the most of their new big screens and HDR-compatible content from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video.
HTC U11+ cameras
- 12MP, f/1.7, 1.4µm rear
- 8MP, f/2.0 front camera
- 4K video recording from rear, 1080p from front
HTC sticks to a single camera arrangement with the U11+. It's done dual cameras before - remember 2014? - and the single camera of the U11 is really good so it's not too surprising it doesn't stray away from what worked for it earlier this year.
You'll therefore find a 12-megapixel HTC UltraPixel 3 rear camera with 1.4µm pixels and an aperture of f/1.7. There is UltraSpeed Autofocus on board, along wit optical image stabilisation, a dual-LED flash and numerous features including HDR Boost, Face Detection and Panorama. HTC also offers a Pro mode with manual controls, 32-second long exposure and RAW format support.
For the front camera of the U11, HTC went with a 16-megapixel sensor, a decision that seemed to run counter to all logic applied to its previous phones. For the HTC U11+ however, it drops things back to an 8-megapixel sensor with an 85-degree field of view and a f/2.0 aperture.
There is no sign of optical image stabilisation or autofocus on the front camera, as there was on the HTC 10, but you will get Auto Selfie and Voice Selfie features, as well as HDR Boost and Selfie Panorama.
HTC U11+ release date and price
- 2 November launch in Taipei
- Pre-orders start on 20 November
HTC announced the U11+ on 2 November at an event in Taipei. It will come in Ceramic Black and Translucent Black colour options.
The Ceramic Black option will be available in Europe, while the Translucent Black variant's availability has yet to be confirmed. It is thought it will be a HTC online exclusive.
The 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage model will cost £699. Pre-orders begin on 20 November.