Edge Sense, great audio and no bloatware: The HTC U11 reviewed

Edge Sense, great audio and no bloatware: The HTC U11 reviewed [Image: shironosov via iStock]

HTC’s latest flagship smartphone, the U11, was announced in May and has since been a hot topic of discussion, thanks to its ‘Edge Sense’ squeeze controls.

The major selling point of the device, the feature allows users to control the device by squeezing its sides. More than just a gimmick, it seems that Edge Sense is actually intuitive and useful, with Lanh Nguyen from Android Authority saying it “works extremely well”.

Users can customise the feature to accomplish the tasks most useful for them. For example, it can launch the music player with a short squeeze and skip tracks with a long one, or turn the torch on and off. Alastair Stevenson from Trusted Reviews said it is “a huge time-saver” and uses it frequently.

However, it has not won everyone over. Tech Radar’s Gareth Beavis has said it is a “half-baked” idea, saying it lacks “the ability to have it work contextually in any app at all”.

Regardless of the criticism, it is still a major attraction that is going to keep catching people’s attention.

Later this summer, the U11 is set to become the first smartphone to receive built-in support for Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant. HTC said it is going to be implemented alongside Android’s own Assistant, making it easier to use your preferred option without installing an additional application.

It has followed Apple’s example and done away with the headphone jack, which has upset a few reviewers. It’s likely that this was done in order to achieve the IP67 water and dust resistant rating. Devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 have kept the jack while still staying waterproof, which is what many critics are now expecting from their smartphones.

However, the audio quality the U11 offers has gone a long way towards winning them over. It features HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation and HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi. Mr Nguyen said it offers “a rich audio experience” – something Mr Beavis has echoed. He said: “The audio performance is one of the best reasons to pick up the HTC U11, with it offering strong clarity and all the tools you could want right out of the box.”

The version of Android the U11 runs is also receiving praise, with its lack of bloatware an appealing aspect for many. Mr Stevenson said it doesn't “feature any duplicate apps; there’s only one music player, one email client, one calendar and so on”.

He went on to say that although this may sound “insignificant,” it “makes the entire UI feel less cluttered and means you won’t have to go through the laborious process of deleting unwanted clone apps – as you do with certain handsets, such as the Huawei P10.”

How successful the HTC U11 will be remains to be seen, but it certainly seems as if it has won a number of fans over already.