The U11+ is the HTC flagship you want but can’t have

Sorry, U.S. buyers, HTC doesn't think you want one.

Credit: HTC

For many Android die-hards, the U11+ is the phone they’ve been waiting for from HTC. The company’s newest flagship improves on the U11 in every way, with a sleek, modern package that fixes many of its flaws. The only problem is, U.S. buyers won’t be able to buy one.

As the name suggests, the U11+ is something of a mid-cycle refresh of the U11. It has the same Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and the premier Edge Sense quick launch feature.

But you wouldn’t know that to look at it. HTC has dumped the home button in favor of a rear fingerprint sensor and upgraded the screen to a 6-inch, Quad HD+ 2880x1440 screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. However, unlike the Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, the display is still LCD and not AMOLED.

Around the back you’ll find an upgraded camera as well. While the specs are largely the same as the U11—12MP UltraPixel 3 with with 1.4μm pixels, an f/1.7 aperture, and optical image stabilization—HTC says the improved full-sensor phase detection autofocus and HDR Boost will make for crisper images. Additionally, the new 8MP front camera uses the same image processing tech as the main camera to capture better selfies, despite the downgrade in megapixels (the U11 has a 16MP sensor).

Also improved is the battery. While the U11 has a relatively pedestrian 3,000mAh battery, the U11+ sports a 3,930mAh one, which will be able to power those extra pixels and then some. It also features Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3 but no wireless charging. Elsewhere it has IP68 water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0, and BoomSound support with noise-canceling earbuds and aptX 24-bit high resolution wireless audio.

The U11+ features HTC’s Edge Sense technology that lets you squeeze the sides of the phone to launch various apps and actions. Similar to what Google has brought to the Pixel 2 but way more customizable, you can now use Edge Sense to launch a radial side menu similar to Air Command on the Galaxy Note 8. Powering the software enhancements will be a new version of HTC’s Sense UI based on Android Oreo.

The U11+ will be available in silver, black, and translucent black on November 20 in the UK before expanding to the rest of Europe. HTC says it has no plans to release the U11+ in the U.S.

The story behind the story: HTC kicked off 2017 with the U Ultra, a disappointing 5.7-inch phone that failed to resonate with U.S. buyers. The smaller 5.5-inch U11, on the other hand, was far better received both by reviewers and consumers. HTC has used that evidence to conclude that U.S. buyers aren’t interested in its phablets, which is why it’s releasing the mid-range U11 Life in the U.S. and the U11+ overseas. That’s a shame, because the U11+ looks like a great phone. HTC might be right in thinking that U.S. buyers care more about the Pixel 2 XL and the Galaxy Note 8 than they would about a 6-inch U11+, but I hope this doesn't mean HTC isn't done with releasing big-screened phones in the U.S.

If there’s a silver lining to this strategy, it’s that HTC has proved that it still has some serious design and engineering chops. That could mean good things for the Pixel 3, which will almost surely be made by HTC, since Google bought a large chunk of the company’s smartphone division earlier this year. So, if you want a flagship 6-inch HTC phone in the U.S., you might only have to wait another 11 months.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags htc

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?