HTC's latest phone is coming to Canada for nearly a grand, but it could be a good deal.
The HTC U11 is, as we've learned, shiny and squeezy, and it's also reasonably priced — at least down in the U.S. — at around $650 U.S. And while it's not going to burn the barn doors down with a single carrier partner, Sprint, it's certainly better than nothing.
That nothing is exactly what Canadians get when looking for carrier options; the HTC U11 will only be available unlocked directly from the company's e-commerce site, for the spendy price of $899 CAD. It will be shipping in early June according to the company.
While that's not quite as expensive as the HTC U Ultra, which debuted in Canada earlier this year to little fanfare, it's still not cheap, and without carrier support may damper its appeal to the average Canadian.
That said, the unlocked price is still in line with current US - CAD exchange rates, and is considerably lower than the equivalent unlocked Galaxy S8, which goes for $1,035 CAD.
Here are a few things to note about the unlocked Canadian version:
- It is compatible with Freedom Mobile's Band 66.
- It comes with support for Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Eastlink, SaskTel, BellMTS, Freedom Mobile, and practically every other Canadian network, out of the box.
- It technically supports VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, though it's unclear whether that will translate to real-world capabilities given that none of the carriers have explicitly optimized the phone. The same is true of the theoretical support for 3x Carrier Aggregation which, despite technical support by the phone's Snapdragon 835 chip, needs to be carrier-optimized in the software.
- Unlike the U.S. version, there is no mention of Alexa support — for obvious reasons.
- The phone will be available in dark blue, light blue, and black — for now.
Obviously, the value proposition of the HTC U11 is untested right now, but its pedigree is excellent, and HTC has a very good track record of keeping its unlocked devices updated in Canada. The phone is also shipping with Android 7.1, so it's ahead of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6 from the start. It's unclear whether the Edge Sense gimmick — the ability to squeeze the phone to initiate actions — will turn into anything worth using on a consistent basis, but the hardware is otherwise quite sound.
The Snapdragon 835 and UltraPixel 3 camera alone should make for a great shooter, while the inclusion of water resistance and a pair of high-fidelity headphones (at the expense of a headphone jack, natch) increases the value of the phone, too.
Are you interested in the HTC U11 in Canada? Give us a shout in the comments!