HTC U11 Life review

Orlin Milinov, 04 December 2017.

Telephony

The HTC U11 Life has the generic phonebook/dialer app with the list of favorites, the call log and the contacts are all tabs within the same app. The dialer is summoned with a tap on a button. Smart dial is supported too.

Favorites - HTC U11 Life review Call log - HTC U11 Life review Contacts - HTC U11 Life review Dialer - HTC U11 Life review
Favorites Call log Contacts Dialer

Loudspeaker test

The HTC U11 Life, unlike the rest of the U11 phones, has just one speaker positioned at the bottom. It scored an Excellent mark in our loudness test, though, which shows HTC's dedication to the entire U11 series. Its sound quality is very good, but not as impressive as on the U11+. The sound is a bit shallow, but we've heard a lot worse, so for the mid-range class we'd say the U11 Life does just great.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
HTC One A9 65.0 64.9 67.2 Below Average
Oppo F5 63.5 70.8 71.5 Average
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 66.4 66.2 78.0 Good
Motorola Moto X4 67.2 71.1 80.7 Good
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625) 67.3 70.3 81.5 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro 68.0 69.9 82.3 Very Good
HTC U11 (Music) 68.7 73.0 79.1 Very Good
HTC U11 Life 70.9 75.3 88.0 Excellent
Xiaomi Mi A1 74.0 73.9 90.4 Excellent
Sony Xperia XA1 Plus 88.9 77.8 84.6 Excellent
HTC U11+ 91.5 75.4 90.5 Excellent

Apps

HTC has retired its app suite and now it's up to Google's default apps to handle everything. Those are more than capable, of course. You get Photos for pictures and videos, Play Music for your audio files, YouTube for online streaming, and Chrome for web browsing.

Photos - HTC U11 Life review Photos - HTC U11 Life review Play Music - HTC U11 Life review Play Music Equalizers - HTC U11 Life review
Photos Photos Play Music Play Music Equalizers

USonic earbuds

HTC first introduced its USonic headphones on the HTC 10 evo (a.k.a. Bolt), which was coincidentally the first HTC device without a headphone jack. With the U11 series, HTC is debuting a new feature to its USonic earbuds: active noise cancellation. The included earbuds can actively cancel background noise thanks to all the processing of extraneous noise taking place on the phone rather than in the earbuds.

Toggling active noise cancellation - HTC U11 Life review Toggling active noise cancellation - HTC U11 Life review
Toggling active noise cancellation

In addition to ANC, the USonic earbuds can be tailored to any person wearing them. Sonar sensors in the earbuds detect the echo in your ear canals and create an optimal profile. The calibration process involves a short static noise emitted through the earbuds. The whole process takes about 5 seconds.

Creating a custom audio profile - HTC U11 Life review Creating a custom audio profile - HTC U11 Life review Creating a custom audio profile - HTC U11 Life review Creating a custom audio profile - HTC U11 Life review
Creating a custom audio profile

The sound quality coming from these earbuds is stellar.

Audio quality

Unfortunately, our review unit did not come bundled with a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. This means we couldn't test the audio quality properly because it very much depends on what kind of headphones or adapter you have - each has its own DAC and has to be tested individually.

Reader comments

  • Androiduser

What is the "Auto forward" app used for ?

  • Kelthuz

As for the selfie camera, the sensor is actually 4 MPix (AnTuTu says it's 4mpix, HD Kamera app does a 4mpix picture with it), so the native HTC app does some fancy super-res upscaling from several shots taken in the buffer, effectively quadrupling th...

  • Bob

Anyone know what the rear camera sensor is on the U11 Life? There just doesn't seem to be any info on it. HTC's HDR Boost algorithms are extremely impressive if it's a tiny 1.0 micron pixel sensor like the IMX351 used on the U Play (that's my guess) ...