HTC U11 vs. Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Can Android champ beat Apple’s flagship?

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Software, durability, and price

Software

htc u11 google pixel front
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

This one will be a major point of difference for many people — and we’re going to be upfront and say that we won’t be awarding a winner here. After all, software largely comes down to personal preference.

We can, however, highlight some of the major differences between the two phones. While iOS is often considered the easier-to-use of the two mobile operating systems, Android is considered to be the OS that “does more.” That’s to say, if you know what you’re doing, you may get more out of Android. If you want things to “just work,” on the other hand, then iOS may be the mobile OS for you.

The HTC U11 runs pretty close to stock Android, but there are some major additions to the software. For example, HTC has included its digital assistant, called Sense Companion. Sense Companion is not a voice-based assistant, but rather an assistant that will pop up every now and then with suggestions based on your calendar and usual mobile use history. On top of Sense Companion, you’ll also be able to use Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa, where those assistants are available. The device also has Edge Sense, which gives the user the ability to touch and squeeze the edges of their phone to control different aspects of the user interface.

If you’re already plugged into either OS, then switching over to the other is going to be difficult. Still, if you think you’ll prefer one over the other, then don’t hesitate to make the switch.

Winner: Tie

Durability

iPhone 7 Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple has stepped up its game this year in making the iPhone more durable, and it has paid off. For starters, the iPhone is largely built with metal, while the HTC U11 is almost completely coated in glass. This means that if you drop these two phones, the U11 is more likely to break. The design may look good, but it’s not great for durability.

Both the HTC U11 and the iPhone 7 Plus feature IP67 waterproofing, however, which means that they’ll both be able to withstand being submerged in a meter of water for as long as 30 minutes.

Because of the fact that the iPhone’s design features more metal, it’s a more durable phone.

Winner: Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Price and availability

htc u11 hands on review handson 12
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The iPhone 7 Plus launched last year, so it’s been available for some time now. You can get it for yourself from the Apple website, or from any major carrier, both in the United States and in many countries around the world. Pricing for the device starts at $770.

The HTC U11 is a little less available, at least for now. The device will be officially available for purchase starting June 9, though you can pre-order it now. Unfortunately, in the United States, the only carrier you can get it from is Sprint, though you can get it on Amazon for the other carriers. The device costs $650 outright, or you can opt for a payment plan through Sprint, which will run you $29 a month for 24 months.

The iPhone is more expensive, however, at least for now, it’s also readily available. This one is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Overall winner: HTC U11

It’s a close battle here. The phones are relatively matched in terms of performance, but the HTC U11 edges out the iPhone when it comes to the camera, battery, and display. While the iPhone 7 Plus is more durable than the U11, it’s not enough to level the playing field.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider the iPhone 7 Plus — you should. It’s an excellent device with a great design and brilliant software. Right now, however, we think the HTC U11 is a slightly better phone.

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