Why i bought the HTC U11 (Now dead!)

Hitanshu Gandhi    Updated
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[Jun 2020 Update: The phone is now a dead paperweight. It stopped charging and since then a handful of Delhi and Gurgaon mobile repair shops tried hard but could not source the charging sub-board. Please do not buy devices from companies that are shaky because after sales parts may not be available for monds on end]

This is a quick post that summarizes the rationale for my decision and should hopefully help others decide because HTC U11 is the flagship no one’s buying in India. That’s a shame:

  1. The camera is truly outstanding. I will attach some sample shots at the end of the post. I think if there’s one camera (besides the i8) that probably beats it, is the S8. But it’s really really close. My decision criteria is focusing in low light, on the fly, not beautiful landscapes. That’s just the kind of photos I shoot, especially of my 6 year old son. I found S8 > i7 ~ Pixel >> S7 > G6. This is as good if not better. It truly deserves the 90 rating by DxoMark.
  2. The specifications are outstanding. This phone at 43.5k gave me the specs (6 GB RAM, 128 GB ROM) at par with S8+. S8 at 54 had 4/64!! This has Quick Charge 3 vs 2 for S8. QC3 really works.
  3. Edge Sense is brilliant for me as a biker and even otherwise when you want to shoot in a cinch. Just squeeze the lower half of the phone and the camera opens up. Another squeeze and you’ve shot a photo! That’s super quick and thoughtful product design.
  4. The speakers are fairly good either for conference calls or especially for music.
  5. The uSonic headphones are a miss of sorts. They’re pretty good but they don’t fit as nicely in your ear as many IEMs hence whatever noise cancellation it achieves is lost when the ear sealing is lost to if one is walking. They should’ve simply aped the Bose earbud design to the extent possible.
  6. The back is truly beautiful. I think it’s unbreakable but like all my phones, I used it only after a case was put.

Where it misses out but doesn’t matter to me:

  1. Edge screen: S8 screen is beautiful, no doubt. But as a forever kludge, I am worried it’ll be easier to break due to the exposed edges.
  2. Bezel less screen. That’s a miss I’m willing to live without, given the savings.
  3. IP68: that’s fine. I don’t intend to expose my phone to water ever. It’s good knowing it has IP67, same as my 2011 Motorola Defy.

My photography comparison across phones:

Sample photos:

Crop from a photo I took in a moving cab

Another couple of low light photos