HTC Launches a Transparent Smartphone – HTC U11+ Hands On

The future I’ve been waiting for includes flying cars, robot roommates and transparent phones. I’ve seen signs that the first two are well on their way and today HTC has made my dreams come true by launching the U11+ with a color called Translucent Black.

The Htc U11+ has a Super LCD 5 display with Gorilla Glass 5 and is in an 18:9 format and a liquid surface back-cover. It has the same DNA as the U11 but it’s in line with the longer larger phones that are dominating the high-end smartphone game.

 

Speaking of gaming that’s kind of where the inspiration was drawn from for going see through. Gaming towers often have see though panels, the Nintendo switch is showing off its bits and of course and of course there was the iMac. Even if you’re not a gamer at least this is something different, everyone is playing it safe this year! In a sea of phones that look the same, the U11+’s looks combined with strong sound and camera make it serious competition.

In the style of our straight to the point reviews, I’m going to try to pack this hands on with as much information as possible

Design

The U11+ has the same design language as the flagship U11 but thinner, longer and more refined.
bezels at the top and bottom have been reduced making the phone feel more modern and high-end

Postive

  • Stunning More refined that it’s predecessor, the bezels have been pulled in making the handset feel premium.

Negative

  • Liquid Surface scratches and cases don’t do this beautiful surface justice.

Photos from the HTC U11 +

display

  • 6.0 “(15.24 cm), Quad HD + (2,880 x 1,440, 536 dpi) Super LCD 5 with 2.5D
  • Corning® Gorilla Glass 5; 18: 9 format
  • HDR10 support
  • DCI-P3
  • Smart screen function
  • Notification LED

Hardware

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core processor at 2.5GHz and 6GB of RAM
  • Massive 3930Mah battery with Quick Charge 3.0. The big display and power-hungry processor will need the extra juice, but most of the time people get big phones because their bigger battery offers more battery life. This was HTC’s intention, we’re excited for the review to find out.

HTC U 11+ Specifications

Platform Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC Sense
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 64-bit octa-core up to 2.45GHz
Display 6-inch SuperLCD 6, 2880×1440
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
RAM 4/6GB (Varies by region)
Storage 64/128GB (Varies by region)
microSD up to 2TB
Battery 3930mAh
Quick Charge 3.0
Water/dust-resistance IP68
Main Camera 12MP UltraPixel 3, 1.4-micron pixels, f/1.7
UltraSpeed Autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS, Dual LED flash
Front Camera 8MP, f/2.0, 85-degree field of view
BSI sensor, HDR Boost
Sound HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation
HTC BoomSound™ Hi-Fi edition
Hi-Res Audio stereo recording,Hi-Res audio certified
Qualcomm aptX HD, LDAC 24-bit high resolution wireless audio
Network HSPA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
FDD-LTE Band 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 20, 28, 32
TDD-LTE Band 38, 39, 40, 41
Sensors Edge Sensor, Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Motion G-sensor, Compass sensor, Gyro sensor, Magnetic sensor, Fingerprint sensor, Sensor Hub for activity tracking
Location GPS, AGPS, GLONASS
Connectivity USB 3.1, Type-C
802.11ac Wi-Fi Dual-band, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
HTC Connect, AirPlay, Chromecast, DLNA, Miracast
Additional Features Always-on voice commands, Motion Launch, Quiet ring on pick-up, Pocket mode, Flip to mute, Display color personalization
Size  158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5 mm
Weight  188 g

Sound

  • HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation
  • HTC BoomSound ™ Hi-Fi Edition
  • 3D audio recording with 4 microphones
  • Hi-Res audio certified
  • No headphone jack (adapter with integrated DAC for USB-C to 3.5 mm analog is included)
  • Qualcomm® aptX ™ HD, LDAC ™ 24-bit High Resolution, Wireless Audio via Bluetooth


We have to give it to HTC, the sound on the U11+ is brilliant, Boom Sound has yet to disappoint though what we do wish they’d given us is a headphone jack! There will be a Type C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, but we still aren’t used to phones without the jack, with all the options in the office I lean to ones with jacks since I’m always misplacing my headphones. I need 5 adapters for all my different headphones.

Other features like Bluetooth 5.0 which allows you to connect to multiple speakers and a slew of high end capabilities make it feel worthy of it’s more expensive price tag.

Camera

We loved the HTC U11 camera and the rear camera has remained the same 12MP HTC Ultrapixel 3 with OIS and EIS. However, the front is now only 8MP instead of 16MP but we’re still capable of 1080p and HTC does a great job with selfies, and with the few we tried out we think we’re going to be pleased.

main camera

  • 12.2 MP HTC UltraPixel 3 with 1.4μm pixels
  • UltraSpeed autofocus, HDR Boost, BSI sensor, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and EIS, f / 1.7 aperture with 28mm focal length, Dual LED flash, Pro mode with manual control, 32 second exposure and RAW format support, Slow motion video (1,080p at 120fps), 4K video recording with 3D audio and audio, zoom, hi-res stereo recording and acoustic focus

front camera

  • 8 MP with 85 ° field of view
  • BSI sensor, HDR Boost, f / 2.0 Aperture with 28mm focal length, Live Makeup, Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie, Timer up to 10 seconds, Live Selfie Panorama, Full HD 1.080p video recording

Software

  • Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC Sense
  • HTC Edge Sense: press the sides of the device to launch apps and more
  • HTC Sense Companion: make suggestions based on things you do
  • Google Assistant
  • Amazon Alexa

HTC has given some thought to the way that they’ve added to Android Oreo (great news it will be available at launch). Since the handset is 6 inches and has a longer 18:9 format they’ve enabled the Edge Sense squeeze gesture to open a circular launcher. If you remember swipe from the original Phablet days, it’s very similar. Move your thumb up and down to scroll through a customizable list of apps, a calendar appears at the top. It’s nice to the days of the month, but it would be great if one of the commands on the scroll wheel would change it to my schedule for that day (I couldn’t figure how to change that in my limited hands on time, fingers crossed they’ve thought of that).

The screen itself is also gesture enabled, small features we’ve seen around for years are included. Swipping down on the display to pull down the notification bar, repeat the action and it opens the settings. The navigation bar at the bottom is also two pages, slide across it to see a whole new set of actions.

It’s a reality that you’re going to use your phone with one hand sometimes, it’s nice that they’ve made it less likely that I’ll drop it when I’m trying to reach the other side or top of the phone.

We’ve also got the choice to go between Google’s assistant and Alexa voice AI with dual wake words.

Price

The HTC U11+ will start at 799EUR and be available beginning of November in Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black, the Translucent black will be available in Asia early to mid-November and in Germany sometime later that month. So since Mobile Geeks has an office in Taipei, we’re hoping to be one of the first in Germany to really spend quality time with this sexy, sexy phone.

HTC has been making great phones that have sadly been poorly received in terms of sales, I’m hoping that the Translucent Black will help to bring attention to the strong products they’ve been bringing to the market.