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The HTC U11 compared to its rivals: is it the king of the top-range smartphones?

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Design and build quality: The Galaxy S8 is almost untouchable

In recent years, HTC hasn’t really stood out for their originality in terms of design. The HTC U11 is no exception to this rule. However, the smartphone is far from ugly – to the contrary, in fact. Understated and made of attractive materials, the HTC U11 has a great look, even if the details aren’t perfect. For example, it lacks the bezel-less screen offered by the LG G6 and Galaxy S8. However, overall, the HTC U11 outperforms many of its competitors, particularly the Google Pixel (a little thick), the Xperia XZ (the device’s silhouette isn’t really original) and the Huawei P10 (its resemblance to the iPhone).

The Galaxy S8 shows more character and originality

Particularly flashy in its blue incarnation, the HTC U11 has a great build quality. However, the Galaxy S8, which is just as well built as the HTC flagship, shows more character and originality. An enhancement which the Samsung smartphone owes to its Infinity Display which takes up most of the front side of the device. The S8 is certainly the most attractive competitor, although the LG G6 must get an honorable mention for its choice of materials and long, slim appearance.

u11 xzp s8 g6
The HTC U11 is particularly successful in its blue color. © AndroidPIT

The other three devices fall behind the S8, HTC U11 and LG G6. The Pixel has a less sleek finish, and the P10 and XZ Premium fail to excite – unless you’re one of Sony’s loyal Omnibalance design fans. Finally, all the smartphones have one thing in common: They love fingerprints!

Camera: Google is still the king

As the months pass by, new flagships arrive on the market and yet the Pixel is still the smartphone camera king. Proof that, when a company can manage aspects of both software and hardware, the results are much better. The Google Pixel offers the most satisfying overall photo experience, and that’s without the Optical Image Stabilizer. Don’t write off the other smartphones though, as they offer satisfying performance for 2017 high-end flagships. In optimal lighting conditions, Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, Huawei P10 and Google Pixel and Xperia XZ Premium take beautiful photos.

The Xperia XZ Premium is perhaps the one that disappointed me the most this year, despite the innovative Motion Eye camera. The only redeeming quality of the XZ Premium’s camera, in my opinion, is its ability to shoot slow motion video at 960 fps.

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The Google Pixel remains the best Android phone in terms of camera quality. © AndroidPIT

The LG G6 offers a wide-angle camera, which its competitors don’t, including the Pixel. The Huawei P10 is perhaps the one that struggles the most in poor lighting conditions. And, finally, the Galaxy S8’s strong suit compared to its competitors is its software, which is incredibly fast, and the automatic focus, which has great results even in poor lighting.

Performance: the HTC U11 is in great shape

To compete in the premium smartphone arena, a sleek design, plush finishes and elitist prices aren’t enough. The smartphone must also have good performance. The HTC U11 knows this. Its specs sheet is consistent with 2017 top-range smartphones. Like many of its competitors (the LG G6, Galaxy S8 and XZ Premium), it has one of the best processors around, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, and 4 GB of RAM like the others.

The HTC U11 puts HTC back into the running for the best smartphone

The HTC U11 occupies first place in the benchmark tests. It also precedes the Galaxy S8 devices equipped with the latest Samsung processor, the Exynos 8895, and the Huawei P10, which is equipped with their house processor, the 2.4 GHz octa-core Kirin 960.

Technical specs comparison *******

HTC U11 Google
Pixel
Sony Xperia XZ Premium Samsung
Galaxy S8
Huawei
P10
LG
G6
OS Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Display Super LCD5 : 5.5 inches,
Quad-HD/2K (1440 x 2560 pixels),
~ 534 ppi
AMOLED : 5 inches,
Full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels),
~ 441 ppi
IPS LCD : 5.46 inches,
4K (3840 x 2160 pixels),
~ 807 ppi
Super AMOLED : 5.8 inches,
Quad-HD+/3K (1440 x 2960 pixels),
~ 570 ppi
IPS LCD : 5.1 inches,
Full-HD (1080 x 1920 pixels),
~ 432 ppi
IPS LCD : 5.7 inches,
Quad-HD+/3K (1440 x 2880 pixels),
~ 564 ppi,
Processor Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835

Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)

Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821

(Quad-core : 2×2.15 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)

Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835

Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)

Exynos 8895

Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz & 4×1.7 GHz)

Hisilicon Kirin 960

Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)

Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821

(Quad-core : 2×2.15 GHz Kryo & 2×1.6 GHz Kryo)

GPU Adreno 540 Adreno 530 Adreno 540 ARM Mali G71 Mali-G71 MP8 Adreno 530
RAM 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB
Internal memory 64 GB
(microSD: yes)
32 GB, 128 GB
(microSD: no)
64 GB
(microSD: yes)
64 GB
(microSD: yes)
64 GB
(microSD: yes)
32 GB
(microSD: yes)
Battery 3000 mAh
(non-removable)
2770 mAh
(non-removable)
3230 mAh
(non-removable)
3000 mAh
(non-removable)
3200 mAh
(non-removable)
3300 mAh
(removable)
Camera rear: 12 MP
(f/1.7)
front: 16 MP
rear: 12 MP
(f/2.4)
front: 8 MP
(f/2.4)
rear: 19 MP
(f/2.0)
front: 13 MP (f/2.0)
rear: 12 MP
(f/1.7)
front: 8 MP (f/1.7)
rear: dual camera with 20 and 12 MP
(f/2.2)
front: 8 MP (f/1.9)
rear: dual camera with 13 MP
(f/1.8)
front: 5 MP (f/2.2)
Connectivity Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac/ad,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.9 450 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac/ad,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.9 450 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 5.0 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Wi-Fi (Dual-Band) a/b/g/n/ac,
GPS (A-GPS) + GLONASS + Beidou,
Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE, apt-x),
LTE 4G (Tri-Band) cat.6 300 mbps
Dimensions 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 mm 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5 mm 156 x 77 x 7.9 mm 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm 145.3 x 69.3 x 7 mm 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
Weight 169 g 143 g 195 g 155 g 145 g 163 g
SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) nano-SIM (x1) Single SIM (Nano-SIM) – G8141
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) – G8142
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)  Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by) Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Price: the Galaxy S8 is easiest on the budget

The smartphone that occupies the top spot in terms of pricing is the XZ Premium, which is marketed at $799, making all the others seem affordable in comparison.

The LG G6 and Google Pixel cost a bit less, at $699 and $649 respectively, but the smartphone by the Mountain View company only offers 32GB of internal memory and no possibility of expanding it. HTC isn’t exactly giving away the HTC U11, either. It has a price tag of $649.00 like the Pixel.

The segment’s best seller, the Galaxy S8, is actually the least expensive competitor, with an entry level price tag of $624.99 (64 GB of storage). It’s absolutely the best deal, assuming you’re in the US.

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S8 1941
The most ‘affordable’ flagship. / © AndroidPIT

Conclusion

Is Samsung the king of the top-range smartphone market? It will probably keep the crown again this year. In 2017, Samsung remains one of the best on the market, but the competition is becoming more and more fierce, and the differences between the competitors are shrinking. The Korean smartphone isn’t the best in every regard, though, as you read above.

The HTC flagship proudly stands its ground because of the original Edge Sense feature, which makes the U11 a smartphone you can squeeze. Powerful and versatile, the only thing that lets the HTC U11 down is its traditional design, in spite of its attractiveness. However, the latest smartphone from the Taiwanese manufacturer is highly recommendable if you’re looking for a new smartphone.

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