HTC U11+ launched in India for Rs. 56,990 ($889), available today on Flipkart
The HTC U11 was the company’s flagship smartphone for 2017, and it represented a drastic departure from the HTC 10 in several respects. After the U11’s launch, Google opted to buy part of HTC’s smartphone division, a deal which closed recently. Then, in November, HTC launched the U11+—a mid-cycle upgrade over the U11. (We discovered that this device is likely built from the ashes of muskie, the canceled HTC-made Google Pixel 2 XL.)
The U11+ has similar specifications to the U11, with the exception of the display. While the U11 had a 5.5-inch 16:9 aspect ratio display, the U11+ switches to a 6-inch 18:9 display. At launch, HTC stated that the phone would not be sold in the U.S. It was made available in Europe and the Middle East last month, but for the most part, the phone has flown under the radar of consumers. This is more to do with its limited availability rather than its merits, though.
One key market which hadn’t received the U11+ up until now was India. HTC has traditionally struggled to do well in India, as its budget and mid-range smartphones aren’t competitive on specifications against China-based rivals. Its flagships have been priced far too high in the past as well, and this has resulted in HTC losing out in terms of market share in the country against established competitors such as Samsung. HTC launched the U11 in India in June, but for the U11+, it took the company three months to bring the phone to India. However, the Taiwan-based company officially launched the U11+ in the country.
The HTC U11+ will be a Flipkart exclusive in India, and it will be available starting today. Its price tag is Rs. 56,990 ($889), and it will initially be sold in the Amazing Silver color. A Ceramic Black color model will be available soon, but HTC didn’t state if it would launch the Translucent Black color in India.
HTC U11+ Hardware
The HTC U11+ has a 3D glass back, just like the U11. The front is mostly taken up by the 6-inch display, and HTC has switched to an onscreen navigation bar, thus removing capacitive buttons in the process. Due to the taller display, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back, in a centered layout below the camera. The phone is narrower than the U11, which should help one-handed usability.
HTC U11+ Specifications
The HTC U11+ has a premium list of specifications. It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip with four Kryo 280 “Performance” cores clocked at 2.45GHz and four Kryo 280 “Efficiency” cores clocked at 1.9GHz, paired with the Adreno 540 GPU. There are two variants of the device: 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage, and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage. Based on the smartphone’s listing on Flipkart, it seems that HTC has decided to launch only the 6GB RAM variant in India. It has a microSD card slot as well, but it’s worth noting that it’s a hybrid slot. You can either have dual SIM cards or a single SIM and a microSD card.
The phone has a 6-inch WQHD+ (2880×1440) 18:9 Super LCD 6 display, which supports the DCI-P3 color gamut. The display comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and it’s taller than the 5.5-inch 16:9 display of the U11, while having the same width—resulting in more screen area. Notably, it doesn’t have rounded corners unlike many of its competitors.
The U11+ features the same camera setup as the U11. That means it has a 12MP “UltraPixel” camera with optical image stabilization, f/1.7 aperture, and a dual LED flash. The camera has HDR+ Boost, which is meant to function similarly to Google’s acclaimed HDR+ technology. It supports 4K video recording. The U11’s camera had been acclaimed to be one of the best smartphone cameras in 2017, and it’s reasonable to expect the U11+ to perform in a similar manner. There’s an 8MP front-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture.
The phone is powered by a 3930mAh battery—one of the largest batteries on Android flagship smartphones next to Huawei’s Mate 10 and the Razer Phone, and it has Quick Charge 3.0 support. It runs HTC’s Sense UI on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. In terms of connectivity, it has USB Type-C 3.1, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, and Miracast. However, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
The U11+ measures 158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5mm, and weighs 188 grams. It also comes with IP68 certification for water and dust resistance.
In terms of software, the U11+ improves Edge Sense, which had been launched as a differentiating feature of the U11. Edge Sense lets users squeeze the phone to access apps, launch voice assistants (the U11+ comes with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa), launch the camera, and more. Compared to Google’s Active Edge implementation on the Pixel 2, Edge Sense can be customized a lot more.
The phone also has BoomSound speakers that are supposed to be 30 percent louder than the U11, and it comes with the USonic earphones with active noise cancellation.
Our view: The Indian launch of the U11+ can’t be called timely as three months have passed since the phone’s announcement, and it’s been a month since it was released in certain regions. Regarding the specifications, the U11+ competes with the LG-made Google Pixel 2 XL, which now sells for Rs. 62,000 ($967) in India (for the 4GB RAM variant).
Even though the U11+ undercuts the Pixel 2 XL in pricing, its price tag is still higher than it should be. The Indian price is also higher than the price of the device in other regions, and it’s substantially higher than the Indian prices of competitors such as the LG V30+ and the OnePlus 5T. With Snapdragon 845 flagship smartphones on the horizon, it’s certain that competition in the flagship space will only increase in the next few months. The U11+ has all the components needed to be an excellent flagship, but HTC has made the same old mistake of pricing the device too high for the Indian smartphone market.
Purchase the HTC U11+ from Flipkart