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First impressions: The 'squeezable' HTC U11 is a winner flagship smartphone

Before the pre-orders for the HTC U11 begin, here are the first impressions of the smartphone

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

The HTC U11 smartphone
The HTC U11 smartphone. Photo: Khalid Anzar

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, which began pre-orders for the flagship U11 from June 17 on its e-store platform, is giving away free Rs 1,999 flip covers on pre-orders of the much-touted ‘squeezable’ handset. Also, if you pre-order the smartphone using a Standard Chartered Bank debit or credit card, you get a 10 per cent cashback. 

The U11 smartphone, it appears, has all the making of the flagship breed. That puts it ahead in the premium smartphone race, so far dominated primarily by Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and S8+, and Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium. In the premium segment, the U11 not only offers top-of-the line specifications but also innovative features. What makes the deal even sweeter is that the smartphone is offering top-notch features and specification at a decent price tag of Rs 51,990.

Business Standard ran the U11 smartphone to see how it measures against the claims, and here are our first impressions of the device:

Boasting robust innards and some of the new features exclusive to it, the U11 smartphone appears to be cruising ahead in the race among the recent flagship devices launched by top

The smartphone features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor, ample 6 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage expandable up to 2 TB using microSD card. With these innards, the U11 competes with the premium models of other flagship devices.

Complementing the specifications are innovative features like the Edge Sense, three digital assistants, premium BoomSound speakers, immersive USonic headphones, spectacular rear and front-facing cameras with 4 microphones for superior audio recording, and 3D audio recording in videos to boot. 

Edge Sense

The U11 is the first smartphone yet to come with an array of pressure-sensitive sensors embedded on both sides of the device. These sensors recognise pressure actions of the user and allow performing basic tasks like opening the camera, clicking a picture or opening an app. The squeeze feature appears to works exactly how the company advertised – it recognises squeeze easily and you can set the squeeze pressure based on your preference. What we liked about this feature is how the company has tuned it to understand and follow user action. For example, if you click a picture using the squeeze feature, the frame shakes naturally as you squeeze the rim of the phone. The smartphone functions with a minor lag to neutralize the wobble before it clicks.

Sense Companion, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

The U11 offers not one but three different digital assistants, and leaves it to you to choose the best for your requirement. The Sense Companion by is an improved version, and that is visible when you use it. Though not yet on a par with other digital assistants, the digital assistant is decent. But you have the choice to use any of the other two if you are not impressed.

BoomSound Speakers and USonic Headphones

has brought in the latest smartphone its much-appreciated BoomSound speakers, and the new set-up of front-facing tweeter and bottom-firing woofer is an improved version of what we saw in previous smartphones. The speakers offer crisp audio output but are marred by average loudness. For watching a video or listening to music using BoomSound speakers is a good experience, nonetheless.

The USonic headphones that come bundled with the smartphone incorporate Active Noise Cancellation, which reduces disruptions and distractions around you. The headphones look premium and do offer an immersive experience. You can feel it.


The company has incorporated the best 12-megapixel (MP) primary camera and 16 MP front-facing camera in the U11. The camera performs well under all lighting conditions, and features like acoustic recording seems to be much more than a marketing gimmick. The performance of the camera seems quite good we would like to use more and give a more exhaustive analysis in our final review.

With better than expected features, superior build quality, top-tier specifications and a perfect price tag for a flagship device, the U11 appears to be a strong competition to others in the league. Going by the early signs, this device is clearly ahead, given that most features work as intend and live up to their marketing pitch.

First Published: Sat, June 17 2017. 16:23 IST