The HTC U11 was officially introduced earlier today, May 16, as the company’s latest flagship smartphone designed to carry HTC’s mobile business forward into the remainder of 2017. Much to general expectations, HTC is attempting to win the hearts of consumers with a range of new features, one of which has been teased by the company ahead of the smartphone’s release through the “Squeeze for the brilliant U” tagline mentioned in previous teaser images and promo materials. The feature is called 'HTC Edge Sense' and it allows HTC U11 users to squeeze their smartphones in order to issue certain commands, such as firing up the camera application. The feature’s usefulness has yet to be tested in the real world, but regardless, the way HTC Edge Sense works has now been explained by the company in more detail.
While earlier speculations suggested that the HTC U11 may have a force-sensitive display able to detect pressure on the outer edges, HTC revealed today that the Edge Sense feature actually relies on a series of individual sensors fitted on the handset’s frame surrounding it. There are four pressure sensors on each side of the smartphone, and HTC claims that they are not only precise but also require very little power to operate and their performance should not degrade over time. As for usage in the real world, HTC Edge Sense allows users to assign certain actions or applications to the squeeze gesture, but these areas of the phone are not touch sensitive. The pressure-sensitive sensors can be used to launch the camera application, capture selfies, launch other apps or a virtual assistant and more. Additionally, the sensors are capable of differentiating between a short squeeze and a “squeeze & hold” action, meaning that users can assign two different shortcuts to the Edge Sense feature.
Given the nature of how HTC Edge Sense works, the feature could prove to be quite helpful in scenarios such as when the user is wearing gloves. However, due to how the HTC U11 and Edge Sense have been designed, the feature might not work properly while wrapping the smartphone in a protective case. Furthermore, while having quick access to the camera application and shutter is generally an advantage, performing a squeeze action in order to capture a photo might result in additional hand motion, which could translate into blurrier images, but we'll see what happens, as the HTC U11 has one of the best cameras out there, according to DxOMark.