HTC U11 announced with squeeze interface, Amazon Alexa voice and DxOMark score of 90

By | 16th May 2017

HTC unveils its 2017 flagship at a special event in Taipei.

Note: This post is being constantly updated.

We're live from Taipei, Taiwan, where HTC has just taken the wraps off its latest flagship smartphone, the U11. The phone lands at the top end of the HTC U series, and makes important improvements in its features and specs while also being a smaller size than the U Ultra. It's launching next week in some places around the world, with a full launch worldwide in early June.

In terms of hardware, the U11 is very much in the same line as the rest of the U series. It uses the same "liquid surface" glass on the back with colors embedded in the glass, giving it a unique look from various angles. There are five different colors (black, silver, blue, red and white), though only three will be available at launch (black, blue, silver). Around the front you'll see the same capacitive navigation keys and front-mounted fingerprint sensor as the U Ultra.

Internally, the U11 is running on the Snapdragon 835 processor, which is an important improvement to match the competition.

Details are slowly emerging as HTC's launch event progresses, but the initial interface talk is all about its "Edge Sense" technology that lets you squeeze the phone to perform actions. With the U11, you can just squeeze the phone to open the camera, and simply squeeze it again to capture a photo. At the same time, you could have a longer/harder squeeze to launch a different app.

HTC is going beyond squeezing though, touting the U11's ability to seamlessly integrate with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (in the U.S., UK and Germany). You can simply choose to use the one that fits your needs. The voice assistants piggyback on HTC's inclusion of four high-quality microphones, which can also be used for 3D audio recording when taking a video.

Continuing on the audio front, HTC is continuing its BoomSound Hi-Fi setup of using two speakers to give you louder audio levels but also higher quality audio. As for more private listening, the 3.5 mm headset jack is gone just like on the U Ultra. To compensate, HTC is making enhancements to its USonic headphones — the in-box earbuds now offer active noise cancellation, powered by the phone over USB-C.

HTC is also including its USB-C to 3.5 mm headset adapter in the box, rather than charging extra as it did with the U Ultra. Also in the box is a simple frosted rubber case for the phone.

Moving onto the camera, HTC has announced that the U11's rear camera has received the highest ever DxOMark Mobile score of 90, one point higher than the Google Pixel. The UltraPixel 3 camera has five-axis image stabilization, and dual pixel auto focus (dropping laser auto focus in the process). HTC says that the U11 has its "best ever" HDR processing as well.

On the front, there's a new 16MP sensor with a 150-degree wide-angle lens and an f/2.0 aperture.