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HTC unleash squeezable smartphone that rivals the big guns

The HTC U11 is one of the best mobile phones on the market today, and it may even be the best smartphone of 2017.

As with all HTC products, individuality is key. While the U11’s premium camera is universally appealing, additional features like squeezable sides and a USB-C port are a mix n’ match for individual tastes.

Design and display

The design of the phone is both beautiful and sturdy with a 2560×1440 pixel 16:9 Super LCD display encased in curved Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. It’s the result of a unique process using heat and pressure, as well as layering highly refractive precious minerals across the phone’s back cover.

The major downside of this design feature is that you will be forever wiping fingerprints off the phone to make it look new, and it is surprisingly slippery in the hand. We recommend getting a case for this phone, which will make it less slippery, but unfortunately will take away the squeeze gimmick.Below the power button on both sides sits the squeezable section of the phone. It’s called Edge Sense, and it’s fully customisable with the default function opening the camera app.

HTC have chosen to go down the USB type C route, sacrificing the headphone jack. But they were generous enough to include an adapter for the majority of us who use headphones with a 3.5mm jack. HTC also include a pair of USB-C earbuds which were surprisingly good quality.

Specs and sounds

The phone comes with 64 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with a micro SD card. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 quad-core processor with 4 GB of ram, which makes it one of the fastest phones on the market and makes playing games or using apps a smooth experience.

The BoomSound stereo speakers on this device are amazing, easily the best we have reviewed on Techly. The drop down prompt to switch between theatre and music mode gives the user full control of their audio experience.

The U11 comes with Android 7.1 Nougat, as most flagship phones do, and it doesn’t come with an overload of pre-installed apps. The highly accurate fingerprint scanner makes for a smooth and fast experience when unlocking the phone, and the responsiveness of the touch screen is smooth as can be.

The battery life of the U11 is good, not great with only a small 3000mAh cell powering the phone. Heavy users may have to change daily charge habits, especially if you like to have the brightness up high all the time.

Camera

Eclipsing the Google Pixel’s rating of 89, the U11’s camera is incredible. The DxO Mark of 90 is the highest in the current market, and smashes comparisons to the Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S8.

DxO Mark - U11 V. Pixel V.

There’s an all-new 12-megapixel ‘Ultra Pixel 3’ camera on the back and it has some truly amazing optical stabilisation. Photos are processed in HDR like the Google Pixel. The camera on the front featured a 16-megapixel sensor for capturing high-quality selfies and it also utilises the HDR boost.

City of Sydney

Close up of leaf

Image of a wall in low light

With a price of $999, the HTC U11 should give the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8 a run for their money. The phone is smooth, fast, sounds great, has an amazing camera and looks beautiful. And while it does have its minor drawbacks, it’s a choice that users will seriously have to consider when looking for their next flagship smartphone.

The HTC U11 will be available for purchase from Optus, Virgin Mobile, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, and Telstra.

Optus customers can purchase the HTC U11 in Amazing Silver and Brilliant Black on any 24-month Postpaid plan.

The $85 My Plan Plus plan with $0 upfront monthly handset payments and 10GB (inc. 3GB BONUS4) of data is the top pick (min cost over 24mths $2040, additional $10/1GB). On this plan, customers can also test out their cutting edge HTC USonic earbuds and stream music without using their plan’s data on Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify apps.5

Virgin Mobile customers can purchase the HTC U11 in Brilliant Black and Amazing Silver for $65 per month with 4GB (min. total cost is $1560 over 24 months, extra data costs $10/1GB), either online at www.virginmobile.com.au or by calling 13 63 69.

The HTC U11 will be available in Brilliant Black with Telstra from 4 July 2017 on a range of consumer and business plans.

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