HTC has finally launched the true flagship device for this year known as HTC U11. The smartphone comes loaded with a host of some interesting features and the most striking one is the Edge Sense, which allows you to squeeze the phone in order to initiate some actions including clicking pictures in the camera app. The phone comes loaded with some top-of-the-line specs and will hit the Indian market in the second week of June with an expected price of around Rs 50,000.
At this price point, the one device that gives a head-to-head competition to the U11 is none other than Samsung Galaxy S8. So, will it be able to squeeze way Galaxy S8 charm to become the best smartphone in the world? Let’s try and argue.
Design and Display
Both the flagship devices come with a glass body and both of them gives a stunning look. However, the HTC U11 has its shares of reminiscence. The smartphone looks almost similar to the HTC U Ultra and U Play, which means it comes with a Liquid Surface, which gives a different look when put in different lighting conditions. Samsung Galaxy S8, on the other hand, manages to give a distinct look with compact design coupled with Infinity Display. The Galaxy S8 is 68.1mm tall and 8mm thick, while the HTC U11 is 75.9mm tall and 7.9mm thick. HTC U11 is slightly heavy with 169 grams as compared to 155 grams of the Galaxy S8. Overall, Galaxy S8 emerges as a clear winner in this round as it sports a compact form factor, which looks far more elegant than the HTC U11.
On the display front, both the devices sports a Quad HD display. The HTC U11 has a 5.5-inch Quad HD Super LCD 5 display with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and sports a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 5.8-inch Quad HD Infinity display which is curved on both sides and has a screen resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels. The device also boasts a strange display aspect ratio of 18.5:9. Once again, Samsung Galaxy S8 manages to win this round with a better screen-to-body ratio, pixel density, screen resolution and larger screen embedded in a compact form-factor.
Hardware and Software
This is where it gets real close. Both the devices are powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. However, the Indian variant of the Samsung Galaxy S8 sports an Exynos 8895 chipset which is an Octa-Core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz. The HTC U11 is available in two variants out of which 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage will hit the Indian stores. The Galaxy S8 packs a lesser 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Both of the devices sports an option to expand memory.
Looking at the sheer specs sheet, HTC U11 emerges as a clear winner as it comes loaded with more RAM and internal storage, as compared to the Galaxy S8.
On the software side, the Galaxy S8 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI running on top of it, while the HTC U11 runs on HTC Sense 9.0, which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Both the user interfaces have its share of hits and misses. Overall, it all boils down to the consumer’s preference as both the smartphones offers different flavours of Android.
The HTC U11 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with a 1.4μm pixel, UltraSpeed Autofocus, BSI sensor, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), f/1.7 aperture, Dual LED flash, 4K video recording with 3D Audio, Hi-Res stereo recording, and Acoustic Focus. For the front, you have a 16MP shooter with BSI sensor, Live make-up, Auto Selfie, Selfie Panorama and Full HD 1080p video recording. Samsung Galaxy S8 comes equipped with a 12-megapixel rear camera with Dual Pixel technology and aperture f/1.7, while for the front, there is an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with smart autofocus and aperture f/1.7.
On one hand, the camera performance of the Galaxy S8 is quite satisfactory and the device has a good track record to capture some good photos in low lights. On the other, HTC U11 has received the highest DxOMark score for a smartphone camera to date. Previously, Google Pixel was the phone, which scored the highest score in DxOMark testing, which brings down to an important question. Which one sports a better camera? The camera performance of the HTC U11, still not known at the moment and it would be interesting to see how well it will perform when we pit it against the Samsung Galaxy S8. But looking at the sheer specifications, HTC U11 sports a better camera, at least on papers.
Sadly, there isn’t much innovation going around in the smartphone industry in terms of providing some interesting features as everybody is busy fighting the never-ending specs war. But HTC has come up with a pretty innovative and useful feature known as Edge Sense. Through this feature, one can interact with the smartphone by squeezing the edges. So, for example, one can open a camera app or any other app for that matter with a simple squeeze. Further, Edge Sense gives you the ability to activate advanced touch and use a “short squeeze” as well as a “squeeze and hold” for even more functionality at your fingertips. Other than this, there is the latest version of HTC USonic, which now combines Active Noise Cancellation with the ability to tune audio to your unique hearing, HTC Sense Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
Samsung Galaxy S8, on the other hand, as its own virtual assistant known as Bixby. However, the voice commands functionality will be added only by the end of this year. Bixby, which is essentially Samsung’s version of Google Assistant which in itself is a pretty solid personal assistant. Other than this, Galaxy S8 has a facial recognition and iris scanners that add some extra layers of security. Both the smartphones come loaded with some interesting features, but it is HTC U11, that has the Edge (Sense) over Samsung Galaxy S8 and therefore, wins this round.
Battery and Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy S8 features a 3000mAh battery fast charging on wired and wireless. On the connectivity front, both the devices support Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB Type-C, GPS, GLONASS and 4G LTE. HTC U11 also sports a 3000mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 and support connectivity options like 4G, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, GPS/AGPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz)), NFC and HTC Connect. The latter does not come with a traditional headphone, while the former retains the 3.5mm jack.
To sum up, both the smartphones can be considered as one of the best smartphones in the premium segment. On one hand, HTC U11 sports a better camera, at least on papers, more RAM and internal storage and latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and not to forget, the Edge Sense feature. On the other, the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a gorgeous looking design and compact form factor coupled with an Exynos processor that is on par with the Snapdragon 835 and has its own virtual assistant known as Bixby. Both of them are marvels in their own rights and it would be interesting to see whether HTC U11 will give a stiff competition to Samsung Galaxy S8.