The absence of optical image stabilization doesn't come as a surprise given the price, but it does reduce some of the point-and-shoot flexibility that more expensive phones have come to offer.
For those who like the HTC U11 or for those looking for a solid mid-ranger, the new HTC U11 Life is definitely one to consider. The HTC U11 Plus is not a small handset, though its thin bezels definitely help to keep its footprint at bay.
All HTC's trimming, refining, and general fettling would be for naught if the U11 life was too expensive: it's certainly something which has hamstrung the company's earlier attempts at midrange phones. The cost of smartphones has gone up a lot in the past year or so.
You can also buy it unlocked directly from HTC for $349 if you prefer that route.
Do you think the price of the smartphone is justified? HTC U11 has been one of the best smartphones of 2017. To cut down on cost, the U11 Life's rear casing is made of acrylic, not glass.
But again, this phone isn't coming to the US. HTC calls it a "value flagship", a mid-range smartphone with a design as good as a flagship phone.
Water and dust-proofing have taken a slight step down too, now at IP67, though that still means you can dunk the U11 life in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
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At the front things are fairly standard with regular sized bezels which below the screen make room for navigation buttons and a fingerprint scanner that's also the home button. It is a circular app launcher that activates with a squeeze on the phone's sides, allowing you quick and one-handed access to apps, contacts, and even toggles for some settings.
The U11 Life is no slouch on the spec sheet.
It's protected by Gorilla Glass 5, which is said to be capable of surviving 1.6m drops onto "hard, rough surfaces" up to 80 per cent of the time.
During our hands-on time the screen looked bright and crisp. With its glossy blue back and low price, it is sure to attract customers. Starting with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, a mid-tier processor.
The U11+ runs Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Google's mobile software. We wouldn't recommend putting the claims to the test yourself. Wider availability hasn't yet been announced but that price converts to $927 in the United States and AU$1,207 in Australia. There's also a microSD card slot should you need to add more. There is theme support, widgets, and a few other HTC custom features, but it is mostly a stock experience. The smartphone eliminates the 3.5mm audio jack from the phone, and earbuds are USB type-c.
Also like a lot of flagships, there's no headphone jack.
For such a cheap phone, it's great to see the U11 Life supports 24-bit Hi-Res audio playback. HTC told me that on the USA version, an Oreo build is expected to be out by the end of the month, but I'd expect the skinned, USA version to regularly lag behind the Android One version.