HTC has a brand new smartphone, however in case you had been holding out hope for the U11+ flagship, reset your expectations. As a substitute, the massive information at the moment is the HTC U11 life, a trimmed-down model of the U11 that the phone-maker is hoping will give it some motion amid the midrange. Taking the very best of the full-sized cellphone, and shrinking it right down to one thing extra accessible, the U11 life might be provided as a T-Cell USA unique within the US.

In fact, HTC isn’t any stranger to creating slimmed-down variations of its telephones. The U11 life follows within the metaphorical footsteps of the A9 and One mini, although hopes to make greater than a splash than every of these gadgets.

Success, Nigel Newby-house, VP of Product Planning at HTC, says, comes down to 3 elements: pricing, design, and specs. “On a few of these early makes an attempt to that mid-tier area,” he conceded to me, “there’s been a kind of issues which haven’t hit the mark.” The U11 life is HTC’s finest try to attain in all three classes.

On the design entrance, it’s clear the place the connection lies. The 149.09 x 72.9 x eight.1 mm, 142 gram physique has the identical aesthetic as the marginally bigger U11, although the place that cellphone is aluminum the U11 life is acrylic. HTC has picked the identical Sapphire Blue as is offered on the U11 because the launch coloration for the U11 life: it’s apparently the corporate’s hottest end.

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HTC places the colour coating on the second floor, beneath the highest layer of acrylic. That makes it extra scratch-resistant, in addition to giving some fascinating reflections as you progress the cellphone within the gentle. There’s IP67 waterproofing too, whereas the squeeze-to-launch Edge Sense shortcut system (which Google borrowed for the Pixel 2) is carried over, and nonetheless works even in case you’re sporting gloves.

On the entrance, there’s a 5.2-inch Full HD Tremendous LCD display, coated in Gorilla Glass. Inside, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630 octacore is discovered, together with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. That’s within the US at the least; in Europe, there’ll be 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and it’ll run Android One. Both means, you get a microSD slot, USB-C, WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth, and NFC.

The battery is a surprisingly conservative 2,600 mAh, although Newby-house insists that, because of the Snapdragon 630 and different energy administration, the U11 life ought to final as lengthy in typical use because the U11 does. There’s 5V, 2A charging, with a 10W charger within the field, although it’s not fairly as quick as Qualcomm’s Fast Cost

As for the digital camera, there are 16-megapixel sensors entrance and rear. On the again, it’s paired with phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) and an f/ aperture lens, and helps 4K video recording and HDR Increase stills. The entrance, in the meantime, will get mounted focus and 1080p recording. On the audio facet, there’s HTC’s USonic energetic noise-cancelling USB-C headphones within the field, and the U11 life will do high-res audio recording.

HTC will launch the U11 life with Android 7.1 and its personal HTC Sense interface; an Android Oreo replace is predicted inside thirty days of launch. Together with Edge Sense there’ll be the Sense Companion, providing contextually-relevant options, and each the Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Because the Snapdragon 630 doesn’t help twin wake-words, thoughts, you’ll must set off Alexa manually because the cellphone will solely be listening out for “Okay Google”; you might, nevertheless, map Alexa to Edge Sense.

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NOW READ: HTC U11 Evaluation

In order that’s the specs and the design, however what in regards to the third issue: worth? HTC might be promoting its personal model of the U11 life, unlocked and SIM-free, by its on-line retailer from at the moment. It’ll help T-Cell USA and AT&T, and be priced at $349. T-Cell, in the meantime, might be asserting its personal pricing shortly, nevertheless it’s anticipated to be “much more aggressive” than HTC’s, Newby-house tells me.

No matter it finally ends up being precisely, it makes the U11 life a really aggressive cellphone. Pricing outdoors of the US might be too: £349 within the UK, and 379 euro in Europe. “In a customers thoughts, 100 , 200 doesn’t make a lot distinction,” Newby-house says, “they assume ‘I would as effectively simply spend the additional and get the flagship’.” This time round, HTC is doing all the pieces it may possibly to make it possible for choice isn’t fairly as straightforward.