HTC U11 Review – The First Squeezable Smartphone


Last year we all witnessed the arrival of the HTC 10 which is a decent phone. However, it was not good enough to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, or the Apple iPhone 7 which was also released last year. HTC is back with the HTC U11, this phone has a completely different look and feel to it than that of its predecessor.

HTC U11 Review

Pros Cons
  • Very attractive design
  • Great display screen
  • Excellent camera
  • Edge Sense is great
  • Great audio experience
  • No headphone port
  • This phone is only available on the Sprint network
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HTC U11 Introduction:


The U11 is being billed as an innovative smartphone with squeezable side panels which is extremely fast and responsive and provides a great overall user experience.


Does the U11 live up to these standards? Is it worth the money? I will answer all these questions and more in this in-depth review of the U11.




HTC has always had a reputation for building nicely designed phones, and that trend continues with the U11. If you’re familiar with the HTC brand you’ll know that their premium phones are made primarily of metal.


However, HTC decided to change things up a bit with this phone, the U11 is made of glass and metal and it’s IP67 dust and water resistant.


The front panel of the phone is made of Corning Gorilla Glass. HTC refers to the glass on the back panel as liquid metal. Both surfaces were designed to withstand scrapes and scratches.


However, if you drop the phone on a hard surface the glass will probably break. The liquid metal is an attractive, reflective, glass that has a smooth liquid-like appearance.


The phone has an aluminum chassis, curved edges on the front and the back, as well as rounded corners. The U11 is easy to hold in one hand, however, it can be a bit slippery.


The liquid metal surface on the back panel of the phone looks absolutely stunning, but it collects quite a bit of fingerprints.


Luckily HTC provides a clear plastic case that comes in the box with the phone. The plastic case gives a bit more traction when holding and handling the phone and it will also protect the back panel from collecting fingerprints.


Display Screen:


In 2017 Samsung and LG decided to change the typical 16:9 aspect ratio. This resulted in a longer, narrower phone the size of the bezels are extremely thin on the LG G6 and Galaxy S8. As a result of this, these phones have a bigger display screen in a smaller chassis.


I thought that was brilliant on the part of Samsung and LG, I thought HTC may have done something similar with the U11. However, they decided to stay with the typical 16:9 aspect ratio. But never the less, the U11 features a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super LCD 5 display screen.


The bezels are a bit thick, I think it would have been better to have thinner bezels with a bigger display screen. The colors are extremely vibrant and the picture quality is great when viewing the display screen in direct sunlight.


Located in the typical position directly below the display screen you will find the home button which is also a fingerprint sensor.


The sensor on this phone is extremely responsive, it unlocks the phone immediately after scanning your finger. Next to the home button, you will find the back and recent buttons which are capacitive buttons.


Edge Sense Squeezeable Side Panels:


As I mentioned earlier, the U11 has built-in squeezable side panels that can do certain things when squeezed. HTC calls this feature Edge Sense.


There are two different gestures, there’s the quick squeeze and the squeeze and hold. You have the ability to configure what gets launched upon performing these gestures.


By squeezing the phone you will have the ability to access your favorite app, turn on the flashlight, take a picture, or wake your virtual assistant. This feature is convenient because it will work when the screen is off and it will also work when you’re wearing gloves.


By default, the U11 only recognizes one kind of squeeze and you have to squeeze really hard to get it to work.


However, you have the ability to configure the amount of force required to trigger an action. And you have the ability to configure this feature to get the long squeeze and short squeeze working side by side.


 The squeezable size panels are located in the bottom half of the phone. When taking a photo by squeezing the phone there’s a delay. HTC thought it would be better to have this delay to prevent your hand from shaking when you squeeze the phone to take a photo.




The software on the U11 is very similar to that of its predecessor. The U11 runs on the Android 7.1.1 Nougat operating system with HTC’s Sense which includes some familiar features and functionalities that are present on other HTC phones.


Some of these features include the vertical scrolling app drawer, HTC’s theme store, and BlinkFeed.


The HTC Sense does not have most of the pre-installed bloatware that you’ll find on some of the other phones on the market. It’s clean, it’s almost stock Android.


However, if you would like to get the U11 with the least amount of pre-installed bloatware, I would recommend getting the unlocked version.


Artificial intelligence has become an important part of smartphone technology. Samsung phones have Bixby, iPhones have Siri, and quite a few of the other phones on the market have the Google Assistant or the Amazon Alexa. The U11 comes equipped with the Google assistant.


However, it also has the HTC Sense Companion which we saw earlier this year when the U Ultra was released. When you use the Sense Companion regularly it will learn your usage habits and it will provide relevant information that it thinks you may be interested in.


The Sense Companion will also give you information based on the time of the day and your location. For example, it can remind you to charge your phone when the battery is low, give you recommendations for various restaurants for lunch or dinner.


The Google Assistant and the Sense Companion are similar but the main difference is that there is no voice dictation component for the Sense Companion.



  1. Really good information here. I am due for an upgrade soon and this may be in the running now. Part of me wants to go back to the iPhone and part of me doesn’t. I have the Samsung Note 4 now and I don’t love it (don’t hate it either). The camera is very important to me and you covered that information quite well. Thanks!

  2. Hello friend,

    I’m must admit that I’m beginning to love this phone. Even though I’m a fun of Samsung Phone, I really like how this phone looks like.

    In fact I like the design, the fact that it comes with a glass and metal and even the IP67 dust and water resistance. In fact I can’t wait to get mine personal copy and see just how this wonderful phone might work.

    I also like the display and the fact that it comes with vibrant and great picture quality. In fact when I want to buy a phone, one of the things I look out to is it picture quality and I think this HTC U11 leaves up to that standard.

    The fact that the primary camera on the U11 comes with a 12MP Ultrapixel camera and a f/1.7 aperture, ultra speed autofocus, OIS, EIS, and dual LED flash alone makes it so elegant and fantastic to me. In fact I will go and get mine very soon.

    Thanks for sharing this post with me

  3. Hi Marvin, this is a great review and very thorough too. I am not in the market for a phone right now, but this would certainly go on my short list for consideration. I can see the value in the squeeze function when your hands are full and you want to launch an App, as frequently seems to happen. It will be interesting to see how it becomes available in the UK or China, the 2 countries I use a phone. Thanks for the review.

  4. I have always been an Apple person and this review actually made me give this phone a second thought! That’s saying a lot. I like how you really went into detail about this product and gave all the information needed to make a well educated decision. Thanks for the great article!

  5. Hello Marvin, This info about the HTC U11 is very detailed considering I was showing a friend something on my Samsung phone and someone bumped into her and my phone fell and broke. Now I am in the market of purchasing a new phone myself. This may actually be my next phone. thanks for the details.

  6. Great information Marvin.
    Honestly, I’m not so familiar with HTC because my attention are only on Samsung and iPhone. Well … Nokia too because it was the first phone I owned. But I think I’m beginning to like HTC. I like the design, the features especially the Edge Sense, fast charging and the camera is 12 mp. I always like phones with a megapixel of 8 and above because it will give better quality photos.

    I’m not looking to buy a new phone right now but HTC U11 is definitely on my list when I decide to upgrade.


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