The idea of a squeezable smartphone has been around in concept form for a few years, so we were excited to try it out when HTC made it a reality in the form of Edge Sense for its flagship U11. Though some have written it off as a gimmick, in our HTC U11 review we found Edge Sense refreshingly different and quite useful at times. By squeezing the sides of the phone, you can quick launch the camera and snap a shot, bring Google Assistant to life, or turn on the flashlight. But HTC has just opened up a new world of possibilities with an Edge Sense update that allows you to trigger different actions within any app or game with short and long squeezes.
It’s easy to set up. Simply head into Settings > Edge Sense and, if you have the update, you’ll get a pop-up message informing you. There are a few new possibilities listed that you can tick to try, such as short squeeze to zoom in Google Maps or take a photo in Facebook. Scroll to the bottom and you can tap Add more in-app options. This creates a wee floating button on screen and you can pick the app you want to set a trigger for from the list. Choose Short squeeze or Squeeze & hold, then the app or game will load up and you can tap the finger icon, then tap on screen to add the action.
Before you get too excited, there are some limitations here. Your basic choice of triggers is tap or double-tap anywhere on screen. Our initial thought of using squeeze to scroll down in Twitter was quickly shot down, but we were able to map a short squeeze to home, making it easy to get back to the top and see new tweets after scrolling. It also works very well as a zoom function. Instead of double tap in Photos or Google Maps, you can squeeze and zoom in without having to touch the screen and cover what you’re looking at.
We’re in the habit of turning off Edge Sense when playing games like Super Mario Run, because we quickly found out that any tricky sections were prompting us to squeeze the sides of our phone and, since we had Edge Sense set to launch the camera, that proved to be a problem. Could this update overcome the issue? Sadly, the answer is no. We set the Edge Sense to trigger Mario to jump with a squeeze, but there’s a slight delay and it doesn’t allow for the variation in lengths of tap which dictate how high you jump in the game. The result was several quick deaths for our favorite Italian plumber.
The idea is solid, though. If you have a game where a simple tap or double tap performs a consistent action, then you can use the squeeze to trigger it — a simpler endless runner, like Canabalt, for example. Although, we must point out that there is a slight delay, which means you’ll need to tweak your timing.
Overall, the new Edge Sense functionality is a welcome addition to an innovative feature and it introduces lots of new possibilities to make better use of those squeezable sides. It’s only available on the HTC U11 right now, and the Edge Sense update will start rolling out for free from midnight ET on Friday. Check out our HTC U11 tips and tricks to find out what else you can do with HTC’s flagship phone.