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Everything you need to know about the HTC U11 Life and HTC U11 Plus

HTC U11 Life and U11 Plus bring different price points to HTC's smartphone roster

HTC won plenty of praise for the HTC U11, a capable smartphone with unusual squeezable edges. But the Taiwan-based company isn’t finished yet. In fact, it just took the wraps off two new U11 spinoffs: The U11 Life and U11 Plus.

Neither of the two phones are groundbreaking, but they do bring some of the U11’s most-loved features to different price points and form factors. Interested in the phones for yourself? Here’s everything you need to know about the HTC U11 Life and U11 Plus.

HTC U11 Life

HTC U11 Life review back full
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

HTC is launching two U11 Life phones — a North American version and a global version. The phones are pretty similar, but there are a few key differences.

Let’s start with the North American version, which features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, plus a MicroSD card slot in case you need more space. It has a 5.2-inch screen with a standard 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, and the design is IP67 water- and dust-resistant. Both the rear- and front-facing cameras are 16 megapixels, and they offer features like HDR Boost and an f/2.0 aperture. While the phone runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat, HTC told Digital Trends it will get an update to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of the month.

It also offers some other cool features you might not expect from a mid-range phone. There’s Edge Sense, which lets you squeeze the phone to trigger certain actions, and a fingerprint sensor on the front, which is flanked by two capacitive buttons. The design is looks very similar to the standard U11, though instead of a glass back, you’ll find acrylic. The battery capacity is 2,600mAh, and there’s Quick Charge on board, so you can juice it back up quickly with a USB Type-C charger.

So what about the global version? Internationally, HTC will also offer a 4GB of RAM with 64GB storage version of the phone, but perhaps the biggest difference is the phone will be a part of the Android One program. What that means is that it comes with a stock Android experience and gets version and security updates from Google as soon as they’re available. It’ll ship with Android 8.0 Oreo.

HTC U11 Plus

The HTC U11 Plus is a bigger and better version of the original U11, but don’t expect to be able to get your hands on it if you live in the U.S. Instead of the 5.5-inch display on the U11, it offers an even larger 6-inch LCD display, with a 2,880 x 1,440 pixel resolution and a 18:9 aspect ratio.

It’s essentially a “bezel-less” version of the original U11, with skimpy edges around the screen. The design otherwise looks pretty similar to the standard U11, with a camera and fingerprint sensor on the back. There is a neat “translucent black” color option, which showcases the phone’s internals (pictured above).

Under the hood, things are pretty similar to the original U11. The phone sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and like the original device, it boasts 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Storage can be expanded with the MicroSD card slot. HTC said the 3,930mAh battery should offer up to 25 hours of talk time, and the U11 Plus supports Qualcomm‘s Quick Charge 3.0.

It also has the same rear-facing camera as the U11, which we liked in our review. It packs 12 megapixels with an f/1.7 aperture and dual LED flash. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera may seem like a downgrade compared to the 16-megapixel front-facing camera on the original HTC U11, but it may prove to be even better given the fact that HTC has given it the same processing and software as the rear camera.

Other features on the HTC U11 Plus include IP68 water-resistance, which allows for the phone to be submerged in more than a meter of water for as long as 30 minutes. You definitely won’t want to take the phone swimming, but if you drop it in the pool, it’ll survive. BoomSound speakers are back, and they can go 30 percent louder than the cans on the U11. You get Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and of course, Edge Sense allows you to squeeze the phone to activate functions like toggling the flashlight. Like the U11 Life and U11, both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are on board.

Price and availability

So how much will the phones set you back, and when can you get your hands on them? We know the North American model of the HTC U11 Life costs $350, and it’s available for pre-order now from HTC’s website. You’ll also be able to order it from T-Mobile on November 3, at an even lower price that has yet to be disclosed. Unfortunately, the U11 Plus will only be available in select markets, and it won’t be coming to North America. The U11 Plus will cost you £699 in the U.K. and 799 euros across Europe.

Update: The HTC U11 Life and U11 Plus have been announced by HTC.

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