HTC U11 vs. LG G6: Android heavyweights go head-to-head

best htc u11 cases handson 15
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

After months of rumors and speculation, HTC has finally made its new flagship official. It’s called the U11, and rather than simply a sleeker, faster version of last year’s HTC 10, the U11 boasts a more distinctive and bold design, as well as a few quirky features that set it apart from the competition.

Among that competition is LG’s G6, which we praised as the best Android smartphone on the market when it launched in April. The release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 in subsequent weeks has complicated that assessment a bit, however, the fact remains that LG’s latest offering is still one of the finest on the market, with a cohesive blend of premium hardware, slick software, and a processor that’s plenty powerful.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a spec comparison to illustrate how HTC’s best matches up against the LG G6. Could Android have a new frontrunner? Read on to find out.

Specs

HTC U11

htc u11 google pixel thumb

LG G6

Size 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9 millimeters (6.05 x 2.99 x 0.31 in) 148.9 × 71.9 × 7.9 millimeters (5.86 × 2.83 × 0.31 inches)
Weight 5.96 ounces (169 grams) 5.75 ounces (163 grams)
Screen 5.5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen 5.7-inch IPS LCD touchscreen
Resolution 2,560 x 1,440 pixels 2,880 × 1,440 pixels
OS Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Storage 64GB (128GB in select markets) 32 (64GB in select markets)
MicroSD Card Slot Yes Yes
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM 4GB (6GB in select markets) 4GB
Connectivity  4G LTE, HSPA+, 802.11ac/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, HSPA+, 802.11ac/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12MP rear with OIS, 16MP front 13MP rear dual with OIS and wide-angle lens, 5MP front
Video 4K 4K
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Edge Sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor, iris scanner Barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Water Resistant Yes, IP67 Yes, IP68
Battery 3,000mAh 3,200mAh
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick Charging Yes Yes
Wireless Charging No Yes, Qi and PMA (United States only)
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Blue, black, silver White, black, platinum
Availability Sprint, Unlocked AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price Starting at $650 Starting at $650
DT Review Hands-on 4.5 out of 5 stars

Most of the time, spec comparisons between top-tier Android smartphones don’t answer a whole lot. They’re usually running the same processor and filled with similar hardware components, so it really comes down to software and optimization to determine the real winner.

Of course, straight numbers don’t always provide the full story of user experience. However, this is one of the rare instances where a new flagship is noticeably more powerful than its rival, even if the latter launched just a few weeks prior. The LG G6 packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 system-on-chip, while the HTC U11 is driven by the newer, superior Snapdragon 835.

What does this mean when it comes to everyday use? Well, Qualcomm says the 835 can deliver 27-percent better performance across the board compared to its predecessor, which is also found in the Google Pixel and OnePlus 3T.

The 835 first debuted in the Galaxy S8, and benchmarks and real-world testing so far have shown it to be snappier than the outgoing silicon. Qualcomm has also pledged improved energy efficiency, thanks to the 835’s smaller, 10-nanometer construction.

That generational gap is the primary difference between the two phones. The U11 also comes with 64GB of stock storage, which is double what you’ll find in the G6, though both phones allow MicroSD card expansion. In terms of memory, both have 4GB to work with.

It’s also important to point out that audio is a pretty important factor in both phones, though, for different reasons. The U11 benefits from HTC’s BoomSound speakers and Hi-Fi audio certification, along with four microphones designed to record three-dimensional sound. The G6 can’t claim parity with any of those features, however, it does have one thing U11 owners will undoubtedly miss: A 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.

On paper, there’s no contest here. The U11 comes with Qualcomm’s latest-and-greatest chipset, and although the 821 was certainly no slouch, the numbers indicate HTC’s product will be better equipped to keep up with anything you could throw at it.

Winner: HTC U11

Design

htc u11 google pixel front
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The U11 and G6 feel similar to hold, thanks to all-glass construction and glossy finishes that easily pick up fingerprints. In just about every other respect, however, these phones look very different.

The LG G6 resembles little else on the market, thanks to its minimal bezels, rounded corners, and 18:9 aspect ratio. In many respects, it’s the direction smartphones appear to be headed in the future. The G6 makes maximal use of its surface area by filling it almost entirely with screen, forcing the fingerprint sensor to the back.

HTC’s flagship, on the other hand, is less forward-thinking in its design. The bezels at the top and bottom are pretty thick, and exceptionally chunky along the sides, too. The display is of the conventional 16:9 variety, which will look and feel even narrower thanks to the surrounding real estate. With the front-facing home button and fingerprint sensor, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at an iPhone 7 at first glance.

Around the back, however, the story is a little different. HTC’s U series is marked by vibrant, loud colors and a deep metallic finish that blankets the rear. It looked nice on the U Ultra, if not for the fact that it made the phone one of the worst fingerprint magnets on the market. The G6 is just as clean, but certainly not as striking. Here’s where your sense of style will make all the difference.

Overall, however, we have to give the nod to the G6. There’s no disputing the value of that wider screen dominating the chassis, and with companies such as LG and Samsung cutting down on bezels as much as they have, the U11 simply feels dated. So long as you don’t mind using your index finger to unlock your phone, the G6 wins this round.

Winner: LG G6

Display

Lg G6
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

Although the U11 and G6 are similar in size, the G6’s screen is noticeably larger at 5.7 inches. The U11’s is 5.5 inches. Both are Quad HD LCD panels, though, thanks to the LG’s wider aspect ratio, you’ll get more pixels on the G6 (2,880 x 1,440 on the G6 vs. 2,560 x 1,440 on the U11).

We came away very impressed with the G6’s display when we reviewed the device in April, and found it to be as excellent an LCD screen as we’ve ever seen in a smartphone. LG also outfitted the panel with support for Dolby Vision and HDR 10, allowing for more vibrant colors, improved contrast, and expanded viewing angles. The company also optimized all its apps for the 18:9 form factor.

The U11’s display, though perfectly fine, doesn’t boast either of those enhancements, nor is its display as roomy. Although 18:9 content isn’t commonplace by any means, watching videos that are appropriately sized for the G6’s screen is a sight to behold, and U11 owners will miss out on that experience. For that reason, the G6 wins this bout.

Winner: LG G6

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