HTC U11+ Might be Based on the Original "Muskie" Pixel 2 XL

HTC U11 Plus review: HTC is back, but is this slight upgrade worth the wait?

The U11+ runs Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest version of Google's mobile software. Noise-canceling headphones are usually pricey, and not free with the purchase of a $349 smartphone (they cost $39.99 if you choose to buy them separately).

HTC recently held a hardware launch event at what was speculated to only be for one device, the HTC U11 Life. The handset is fashioned from metal and glasss, and the body is IP68 water and dust proof too.

With a different name, display, battery, materials, and design from what Google likely wanted from the Pixel 2 XL, the HTC U11 Plus isn't likely so much of an exact replica as an alternate-reality Pixel 2 XL.

As with the U11, HTC also bundles the USonic in-ear earphones, which creates a custom sound profile after mapping the user's inner ear.

With the launch of U11 Plus, HTC has joined the bezel-less smartphone trend. The phone is available on pre-orders in the United Kingdom starting from today with a pricing of £349 through the official site of HTC.

We like the look and feel of the U11 Life, it's an attractive mid-range phone. Not in its original Google-approved form, of course, but the core design and engineering that we see presented under the HTC brand today was essentially done to build the next Google Pixel XL.

At the front things are fairly standard with regular sized bezels which below the screen make room for navigation buttons and a fingerprint scanner that's also the home button. Numerous features of the new U11 Life are similar to original U11.

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Although we're impressed with the design of the U11 Life, it's the specs on offer that really show why it's a lot cheaper.

For computing horsepower, you get a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 630 and 3GB of RAM. Either option nets you microSD support as well. Now, in terms of its cameras, you'll find a 12.2-megapixel UltraPixel 3 camera (f/1.7 aperture) on the back of the HTC U11 Plus, while a single 8-megapixel snapper (f/2.0 aperture) is included on the front side of this phone. For example, you can activate Alexa on the U11 by saying "Hey Alexa", but you can't with the U11 Life. It can do 1080p video capture at 120fps, and 4K recording with Hi-Res audio.

Thoughts on the U11 Life?

All of this is powered by an impressive 3,930mAh battery with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.

We'll test out battery life soon but for now HTC claims you'll get an extra two hours of video playback or web browsing compared to the HTC 10.

Europe and the rest of the world will be receiving the Android One edition of U11 Life that comes pre-installed with stock version of Android 8.0 Oreo from day one. Well, unless you live outside of the States - the phone will be launching under the Android One program internationally, which means it will bear a vanilla Android software experience. A source speaking with the Verge said that the larger of the two new U11 devices revealed today was originally meant to be released with the Pixel 2, but was "rejected in favor of the LG alternative".

You also get monthly security patches for up to three years and guaranteed OS updates for two years.

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