HTC U 11 Preview: What To Expect From HTC's Next Flagship

The HTC U 11 is about as official as it can get without HTC having announced the phone. HTC has essentially confirmed its existence though and they have confirmed the name as well, so all that's really left is for them to unveil the device at their upcoming event on May 16th along with the specifications and features, the price point, and the availability, though the last two will likely be announced by carriers individually when it comes to models that are meant for specific networks. All that said, there is actually quite a lot to expect from the HTC U 11 at this point thanks to the numerous amount of leaks, many of which were covered in our exclusive post about the phone. So while none of the features, save for the biggest one of course, have not been confirmed by HTC, most of them are pretty well-known at this point. Here's what to expect from the upcoming device.

Edge Sensor

This is the biggest feature of the upcoming HTC U 11 and you can expect HTC to focus on it a lot both before and after the official announcement of the phone. To start, this is the only feature of the device that HTC has officially confirmed will be present. The Edge Sensor was also initially rumored towards the end of last year so our exclusive post wasn't the first time the feature had popped up. It did however unofficially confirm the feature's existence as that particular post contained screenshots of a tester manual for the phone, which described and depicted the Edge Sensor and many of the phone's specifications and other features.

The Edge Sensor is going to be an easy way for users to access certain functions of the HTC U 11 by simply squeezing the sides of the phone where the sensors are located. HTC has made things pretty granular here and given customers quite a bit of control over how the Edge Sensor works, from the pressure you give your squeeze to how long you squeeze it, and what apps or functions open or initiate based on those factors. This might not end up being the single most used feature for every user who buys the device, but it's sure to be a useful one and is likely to receive at least some praise, as it should, because it will make using the phone easier and it will make it quicker to do certain things once configured by the user.

Specs

The specifications may not be confirmed yet but they were another section of detailed information that surfaced in our exclusive post which more or less unofficially confirms what they will be. Of course, an unofficial confirmation is not really a true confirmation so anything could change, though it probably isn't likely given that HTC's event is just around the corner. That said, the HTC U 11 is expected to launch with a 5.5-inch WQHD display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor on the inside, paired with an Adreno 540 GPU for the graphics processing, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. According to the leaked specs HTC will also be offering a 6GB RAM model which comes with 128GB of storage as well, though if they do launch this version of the phone it isn't immediately clear if it will be available globally or if it will be limited to certain markets. On the inside the phone will have a 3000 mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 3.0, and run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat software which will be layered with HTC's latest version of the Sense Home UI. 3D Gorilla Glass 5 will cover the display to protect it from damage, and the phone will also support things like Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. HTC will also continue to use an integrated fingerprint sensor that's located in the physical home button of the device that sits on the front. For the cameras, the current rumors and leaks place a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 16-megapixel selfie camera on the phone using HTC's Ultrapixel design, and the phone will also likely be IP57 rated against dust and water.

Sense Companion

HTC's Sense Companion is already available in a couple of devices which includes the HTC U Play and the HTC U Ultra, both of which have already launched a little bit earlier this year. That being said there is nothing really new about the feature that isn't already known since it's already usable in a couple phones. It is still worthy of being mentioned here though as the HTC U 11 has yet to launch, and Sense Companion is a big part of the new HTC experience from the software side of things as it's meant to help assist users in completing tasks or remembering certain stuff. You can compare Sense Companion to something like Google Now, which serves up reminders, suggestions, and more to the user based on what the feature has learned about you.

As Sense Companion learns about you overtime the more that you use the device, reminders and suggestions are going to be better later on in the device life cycle during ownership, but it will still be useful to have at the start too. Sense Companion also works by location and using this kind of data it can offer up things like restaurant recommendations or even things to do in the area that it thinks you might find interesting. It can also send you reminders about the weather as well as how long it will take to get to destinations that you frequent, such as work, and over time as you use the device Sense Companion can learn how long of a day you have and then use that to recommend bringing a charger just in case you need to give your phone some more battery life. Overall it's designed to be a digital assistant of sorts, but not in the same sense as Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa.

Design

When it comes to the design of the HTC U 11 the phone has leaked quite a few times leading up to now, so although this is yet another area of the device which hasn't received any confirmation from HTC, leaks this close to the unveiling would suggest that what has been seen so far is the final device design that HTC has decided to go with. There's also the matter of HTC putting out a couple of teasers which don't show the entire design of the phone but you can make out some design details, such as part of the sides of the device, along with the bottom edge and part of the front face in a teaser tweet they sent out when the initially announced the unveiling. From the design leaks so far there are some things that are clear. The HTC U 11 will continue using the mirrored finish that can be seen on the HTC U Play and U Ultra, and it will have a fingerprint sensor on the front integrated with the physical home button. There's also the leaked image above which shows the front and back of the phone, so you get a clear view of the front-facing camera, the rear-facing camera, the home button, and the mirrored finish. The phone is also black, while the ones shown in HTC's teasers are blue, so this suggests that HTC will have at least these two colors to sell to consumers when the phone launches later on this year. Lastly, a new set of leaked renders for the HTC U 11 surfaced on the internet today which show the phone from all angles and in a new red color to accompany the black and blue models. It's important to keep in mind that these are just renders and not real life images of the phone, but the design in the renders does match up with what's been seen in other leaked images. In addition to the leaked renders of the red model, there is also a 360-degree video which shows off the design as well.

Cases

While the cases don't provide much depth to the phone release as they aren't really part of the phone, they do add some credence to the phone design should everything match up with what's already been seen so far, and that's precisely what we're seeing with the case leak that surfaced back in the middle of April as it shows the phone's ports openings, as well as the openings for the rear camera and the LED flash module. While in the case images it looks like the HTC U 11 will have a 3.5mm audio port on the bottom, this round port hole is actually a hole for the mic, while the one in the middle is for the USB Type-C charging port that also acts as the port for data transfer, and the analog port for digital music and any other headphone audio. The last opening is the hole for the bottom-facing speaker, though the phone will have dual stereo speakers, with the other one being above the display that doubles as the earpiece for phone calls.

Features

Thanks to our exclusive leak last month there are quite a few features of the device that are known. Things like the USB Type-C analog audio port which is simply using the charging port, as well as things like Sense Link, and the enhanced multimedia camera features. Speaking of which, the HTC U 11 will feature some pretty cool-sounding camera and multimedia features like HDR+ for better and more vivid photos. This is further improved by the HDR Scene Detection technology that's being integrated with the HDR+ mode for pictures, which helps to showcase how images will look once the HDR+ changes are applied to an image before users actually take the shot. This should greatly help ensure that users are always getting the best possible photo. For the multimedia folk who love to record video with their mobile devices, the HTC U 11 will be coming with 3D audio which is also the default sound profile. The phone has four mics to record audio so that any audio that is recorded is in surround sound, and audio is also recorded with Hi-Res audio technology which allows it to be lossless, at least according to the leaked materials. How well it actually works is unclear since there has been no way to test it out. Another feature that will be included will be HTC USonic, which will allow the phone to detect the ambient sound levels in the area that you're listening to music or other audio so that it can play the audio back with the appropriate amount of noise reduction. There are sure to be other great features of the phone too, and those details could possibly surface before the unveiling.

HTC Edge Sense App

On May 12th HTC briefly published an app to the Play Store called HTC Edge Sense. It was promptly removed but there were some screenshots taken that show what the app will be used for. Judging by the screenshots it will be a way for users of the HTC U 11 to test how to use the Edge Sensors of the phone and perhaps configure them to how the user wants them. You can see from the screenshots below that the app will run users through a tutorial that lets them test the squeezing motion, and that it opens the camera and Google Assistant, both of which were covered details from the test manual images that leaked back in April.

Pricing and Availability

For now there isn't much to know in these particular areas of the device as no rumors have really been popping up about when the phone will be available, nor about how much it will cost. HTC is scheduled to announce the phone officially on May 16th which is coming up rather quickly, so it won't be long before we find out when the phone can be purchased as they could announce the launch dates at the event. In regards to price, HTC could very well announce the cost of an unlocked model, but if this is going to be picked up by any carriers, availability and pricing that is specific to those carriers is probably going to be announced by the carriers individually at a later date, as this is what usually happens with any big smartphone launch.

Wrap Up

For the most part, everything is pretty much known about the HTC U 11 save for how much it will cost and where it will launch first, meaning where customers will be able to buy one. This is in addition to the unknown launch date. Everything else though is more or less out in the open, from the specs, to the hardware design, to even the features and colors of the phone, which at this point seems to be red, blue, and black colors. More will undoubtedly pop up before the unveiling, and i it doesn't HTC will officially be announcing whatever isn't known about the device before long as the 16th is just around the corner.

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