The HTC U11 Life is affordable, beautiful, and coming to Android One

Bill Rogers
November 5, 2017

That body is among the prettier around - the back carries the design language of the U11 with a glossy "Liquid Surface" back.

It's extremely glossy and eye-catching, and a little too showy for my liking, though I know that a lot of other people really like the look. There are also two capacitive buttons, one on each side of the oblong fingerprint scanner/home button, below the display.

Where HTC has changed things is on the front. Trying to escape that black hole of mediocrity is the HTC U11 life, a $300 version of the well-reviewed but niche-selling HTC U11. HTC has used the same multi-layering approach as with the U11, putting the color on the underlying layer so as to make it more scratch-resistant and give the phone's back a pleasing shimmer when it catches the light.

The screen is larger, for one (it was 5.5 inches before), and has a 2,880x1,440-pixel resolution. Lucky for HTC, not many of those devices are actually sold in the USA market, so it won't have much competition here... if it can manage to build awareness for the U11 life, that is.

The software sees a few upgrades too, with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box.

Unfortunately though, it isn't a pure version of Oreo.

The best way to think about the U11 Life is a mini version of the U11.

It's joining Google's Android One program.


It took HTC a while to get here, but it finally has a phone with a almost bezel-free front. The same goes for your apps library, which you can dive into by swiping up on any part of the screen.

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The non-Android One version has Amazon Alexa built in.

This is a far more mid-range handset, but it still packs some key features of the U range, including Edge Sense.

For the full list of HTC U11 Life specs, head to our dedicated article right here.

My favourite use-case for it, however, is taking pictures. This includes a lack of HTC duplicate apps like we have seen in the past as HTC continues to focus on providing Google apps for its users. The same can't be said for Active Edge, the Google Pixel 2's Edge Sense rip-off, which - infuriatingly - only lets you launch Google Assistant.

The U11+ now has a water-resistance rating of IP68, up from an IP68 rating on the U11. In other words, it's sort of, kind of like a cheap Pixel 2!

The HTC U11 Life has a 16MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture, a phase detection autofocus and a heap of features, including a pro mode with manual controls and RAW format support, plus the ability to film in up to 4K quality or in slow motion.

HTC has loaded the U11+ with an impressive-sounding 3,930mAh battery, which is claimed to offer up to 25 hours of talk time. The HTC U11 Plus also comes with a 3,930mAh non-removable battery, which supports Quick Charge 3.0 tech.

We need time to test the cameras properly but they seem to be decent after some hands-on time.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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