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HTC U11 is the first phone to come with a squeezable metal frame

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After being in the rumor mill for quite some time, the HTC U11 flagship was finally revealed today during a conference in Twain.

With this product, HTC finally brings out a flagship that can truly compete with the Samsung Galaxy S8. On top of boasting an appealing premium glass design and a powerful Snapdragon 835 processor, the HTC U11 also introduces the Edge Sense – a completely new way of interacting with the smartphone – which we’re going to talk about in a little bit. But first the raw specs.

Specifications

HTC’s new flagship carries a 5.5-inch Super LCD display with QuadHD resolution (1440 x 2560) with Corning Gorilla Glass. The Taiwanese is going to offer the HTC U 11 in two variants, one with 4G of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage (for US, UK markets) and another one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (for Asia). A microSD card slot which allows for memory expansion up to 2TB is also available.

In the photography department, the U11 is also pretty well endowed, packing a 12-megapixel main camera with ultra-spread autofocus, BSI sensor, optical image stabilization, dual-LED flash, slow motion and 4K video recording capabilities. The selfie camera is of 16-megapixel variety with BSI sensor and full-HD recording.

HTC has finally delivered what customers have been asking for all along, as the U11 packs HTC’s Boom Sound Hi-Fi edition technology, as well as 3D audio recording with four microphones and Hi-res audio certified. The product can be paired with HTC USonic earbuds for active noise cancellation.

The smartphone relies on a 3,000 mAh battery which according to the producing company should offer up to 24.5 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time. It also sports IP67 water and dust resistance. Like in the case of its predecessor, don’t expect to find a 3.5mm headphone jack onboard, but HTC is also offering a Type-C-3.5mm adapter (with a built-in DAC).

Standout features

The HTC U11 represents a natural progression from the previous HTC U Ultra model, both in terms of looks and functionalities. Which brings us to the U11’s main standout feature – the Edge Sense – basically a series of sensor implemented beneath the phone’s metal edges.

With their help, the phone can distinguish and interpret almost imperceptible squeezes, so users will be able to squeeze the screen to launch the camera or capture a selfie. The exact actions triggered by a squeeze can be configured by the owner to suit his/her particular set of needs.

There’s another reason why the HTC U11 is quite special. It ships not with one but three virtual assistants on board, the Google Assistant and Alexa (on top of HTC’s own Sense Companion) – although the later won’t be available at launch (it will be added via a software update by end of June – hopefully). We’re not sure why you’d need so many AI-driven helpers on one phone, but we guess it’s nice to be given such a wide range of choice.

Availability

When will you be able to purchase the phone? Well in the US the HTC U11 will be sold only by Sprint at first. Sprint has already opened up pre-orders and you can expect the device to start shipping on June 9. Interested parties can get it for $0 and $29 per month for the next 2 years (which amounts to a $696 price).

An unlocked version will also be made available on HTC’s own website and via Amazon.com which is already taking pre-orders for $649 a pop. The flagship is available in Amazing Silver, Sapphire Blue and Brilliant Black. Other markets will also see two other Ice White and Red/Orange versions.

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