HTC's U11 was one of our favourite phones from earlier this year, packing in an excellent camera, top-of-the-line specs, and cool pressure-sensitive sides – but it's been a bit forgotten since.
With the continued dominance of the Samsung Galaxy S8, and more importantly the debut of hot handsets like the OnePlus 5, Google Pixel 2 XL, and upcoming Apple iPhone X, the U11 (shown above) hasn't had much buzz of late. But HTC might be fixin' to upgrade the line with a brand new Plus edition.
Leaks and reports suggest a phone that keeps some of the original U11's DNA, but also works in elements from other recent Android flagships – like a super-tall screen and a larger battery. And we might see it next week at HTC's 2 November event. Here's what we're expecting.
When will the HTC U11 Plus be out?
HTC has already confirmed that it will reveal a new U device at an event on 2 November, and it's widely expected to be the U11 Plus. And there's really no reason to believe that HTC will wait very long to release the thing.
As such, we'd expect to see the phone out a week or two thereafter in early-to-mid November. That'll put it out in the same timeframe as the Apple iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 XL, creating an autumn battleground of top-end handsets.
On the other hand, leaker extraordinaire Evan Blass says HTC will focus on a U11 Life handset instead, so maybe it's a false alarm on a U11 Plus reveal.
We still expect to see the HTC U11 Plus next week, even if it's not the star of HTC's event. Waiting until December or later would let other new phones gain momentum, not to mention put it awfully close to the holidays.
How much will the HTC U11 Plus cost?
The ₹51,990 base price for the standard HTC U11 certainly wasn't cheap, but it also isn't on the top end of smartphone prices – especially as we've seen even more larger, screen-centric devices launch in recent months.
It's the "Plus" model, so we expect there to be some kind of price bump. Putting it in the ₹65,000-₹70,000 range would have it close to the base price of the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus, so that seems like a reasonable expectation here for HTC.
Sounds right to us. There aren't any real details out there about pricing, but that kind of price level just makes sense – unless HTC wants to aim lower and challenge the OnePlus 5 instead. Doubtful.
What will the HTC U11 Plus look like?
If these images above, from Chinese telecommunications agency TENAA, are actually of the HTC U11 Plus (they're definitely from some HTC device), then we can probably expect a phone that looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
In other words, pretty much all screen on the front with a little bit of bezel on the top and bottom. Google's Pixel 2 XL and LG's G6 are similar in that approach, and it's the going trend for top-end flagship phones at the moment. Seems like HTC's following the leader here.
We're hoping HTC brings its gorgeous Liquid Surface glass back panels along for the ride, too. The leaked image shows a black handset, but we've got our fingers crossed for a gorgeous Solar Red version come launch day.
That's what the leak shows, and it follows what rival makers have been doing so far this year. If the U11 was a standard-looking Android phone, then this Plus version looks like the new 2017 standard for Android flagships.
What about the HTC U11 Plus' screen?
As the leaked render shows, the U11 Plus seems to be heavy on screen on the front, with an extra-tall display at 18:9 resolution. And the leaks claim that it'll be a 6in panel.
That's a pretty sizable screen, although the extended dimensions mean it shouldn't feel as massive as a 16:9 phone would be at 6in. However, unlike the AMOLED screens we've seen on some other phones with these taller-than-average screens, this 2880x1440 panel is expected to be an LCD. That means you'll lose the killer contrast and deeper blacks of OLED.
The U11 also used an LCD (IPS) display, so that could show a trend at play for HTC. It'll be a shame to skip out on OLED screens since they're becoming more desired; even Apple is using one for the iPhone X. But a Quad HD LCD screen should still be pretty gorgeous.
How much power will the HTC U11 Plus pack?
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 is still the reigning chip champ of the Android world, and it's been used in an array of phones since the Galaxy S8 (in some regions) up 'til the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. And yes, it's rumoured to be used in the HTC U11 Plus, as well.
That's the same as the standard U11 (shown). And reports claim that the U11 Plus will similarly offer 4GB and 6GB RAM options, with 64GB and 128GB internal storage available alongside each. Oh, and it has a microSD slot for expandable storage. Phew!
Given that the Google Pixel 2 didn't move to a newer chip than the Snapdragon 835, that tells us that it's likely to be the standard for a little while longer. We say fact.
What kind of cameras will the HTC U11 Plus have?
Reports suggest that the HTC U11 Plus won't make any big moves with the camera: it should still have a 12-megapixel (f/1.7) single camera on the back. In other words, the same setup as the U11.
Also, it's possible that HTC has made some improvements that haven't been leaked yet. But even if not, the standard U11 setup shouldn't disappoint.
It might have less of a selfie camera, though: leaks suggest an 8MP front camera, while the regular U11 has a 16MP shooter on the a face. Huh!
We sort of expected a dual-back-camera setup, but the render only shows one and the leaked specs only suggest one as well. It was pretty great on the U11, so why fix what isn't broken?
Is there anything else I should know about the HTC U11 Plus?
Yeah! Definitely. Leaks suggest that it will have a meaty 3,930mAh battery pack, and if true, that'll be rather close to the 4,000mAh pack in the Huawei Mate 10 Pro – although the Mate runs a lower-resolution display for extra power savings. The regular U11 (shown) only has 3,000mAh to play with, so that could be a significant enhancement in uptime.
The Edge Sense pressure-sensitive sides are also expected to make a comeback, letting you squeeze your phone to take a selfie, launch Google Assistant, or something else entirely.
Otherwise, expect IP68 water and dust resistance – and no headphone port.
If true, that huge battery pack may be a big selling point for the HTC U11 Plus. Otherwise, there aren't any massive surprises throughout here: it sounds like HTC is marrying the best parts of the U11 experience with some elements inspired by other top flagships today.
It's hard to argue with that approach, but will that be enough to put HTC on top again? We should find out next week whether the rumours and reports are true.