The HTC U11 was announced earlier this morning and we will soon be putting it through all of its paces. Based on the specs and preliminary hands-on articles, it is clear there are several compelling reasons to consider this new HTC flagship instead of a Google Pixel.
The HTC 10, see our full review, is an outstanding device that didn't get all the attention it deserved. HTC has been struggling after years of innovation and success, but the HTC U11 might be the start of a comeback for the Taiwanese smartphone maker.
Here are eight reasons to consider the HTC U11 instead of the Google Pixel XL.
- Price: The Google Pixel/Pixel XL is priced the same as the Apple iPhone 7/7 Plus, which means it is the highest-priced smartphone available. The HTC U11 is a bargain at $649. A comparable Google Pixel XL with 128GB is $869, $220 more than the HTC U11.
- Water resistance: I live, work, and play in a region where rain doesn't slow you down, but lack of water resistance in the Google Pixel XL is one reason I sold mine. HTC started to implement water resistance late last year with the HTC Bolt, so it's great to see IP67 water and dust resistance on the U11. I can now run with my phone and not worry about destroying it in the rain.
- Advanced audio capability: HTC is known for its audio prowess and the HTC U11 continues that tradition with HTC USonic support and included active noise-cancelling earbuds. The U11 also has improved dual BoomSound speakers, while the Google Pixel has a weak single mono speaker.
- MicroSD expansion: HTC maintained its commitment to providing an inexpensive way to extend your storage capacity to massive levels at low prices. The Pixel XL is only available in 32GB and 128GB sizes, with the 128GB model still very difficult to acquire. The HTC U11 comes with 64GB internal storage and a microSD card slot.
- Availability: The Google Pixel XL is only available directly from Google and Verizon. It remains low in stock, which is frustrating for potential buyers. The HTC U11 is available now for pre-order with Sprint, Verizon, and GSM-unlocked versions in the US.
- AI options: The Google Pixel and HTC U11 both come with Google Assistant. The U11 supports HTC Sense Companion, which offers additional intelligence over Google Assistant. In addition, the HTC U11 will soon get Amazon Alexa support.
- Edge Sense: One unique new feature offered by the HTC U11 is the squeezable Edge Sense technology that lets you squeeze the sides of the device to perform common actions. It's an interesting approach to interaction and we look forward to further testing it out.
- Processor: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor is excellent, but the latest Snapdragon 835 is the one to beat. The Samsung Galaxy S8 was the first to launch with it, and we now see it in the HTC U11. The Google Pixel was released last year and had the best processor at the time, but if you are buying a phone today, then the U11 is the better option.
It is also possible that the HTC U11 may best the Google Pixel when it comes to the camera, but I need to test this out myself before I am convinced. I would love for the performance in testing to live up to this rating in real life.
At first we thought the HTC U Ultra might be the 2017 flagship to challenge the Google Pixel, but it is now clear that was not the case. I'm still not sure why HTC released the U Ultra with the U11 following so shortly on its heels.
Stay tuned for some hands-on experiences with the HTC U11 in the next few weeks. Let us know if you have any questions about the device or specific features you want tested.