HTC unveiled two new phones during an overnight event in Taiwan. Both are variations on the company’s U11 flagship — one’s is a budget version, the other’s a six-inch, premium phablet version, but only one is actually destined for the States. The $349 U11 Life is hitting T-Mobile stores in the U.S. this week. Those who want to get their hands on the premium U11 Plus, on the other hand, are out of luck.
HTC hasn’t yet offered much in the way of information in terms of availability, only that the handset will be coming to “select markets around the world.” We do know, however, that the Plus will be made available in China, where the handset with ship with Baidu’s DuerOS, the company’s Alexa like connected smart assistant.
Unlike the U11 Life, I didn’t actually get to spend any time with the bigger phone — though it certainly looks like a more premium version of the standard U11. Also unlike the Life, the company was concerned about the Plus’s potential to eat into sales of its current and future flagships here in the States, instead choosing to save some of those upgrades for its successor.
In addition to the larger six-inch 18:9 screen (up from 5.5 inches on the standard U11), the handset features a massive 3,930mAh battery (up from 3,000), which the company estimates should get an additional four hours of video playback on a charge.
Design wise, the handset looks pretty similar to the regular old U11, featuring that shiny Liquid Surface design language. Though it’s also added a new color: Translucent Black (pictured above), a semi-transparent casing that partially shows off the phone’s innards — a fun gimmick I’m surprised more phone companies haven’t tried.
Speaking of gimmicks, Edge Sense is back as well, naturally. The feature, which Google borrowed for its Pixel 2 handsets lets users trigger Google Assistant, Alexa and various other features with a squeeze of the phone’s sides.