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HTC's U11+ is a more elegant reimagining of its predecessor

HTC's U11+ is a more elegant reimagining of its predecessor
From Engadget - November 2, 2017

Let's get the most obvious change out of the way. The 5.5-inch, Quad HD display of the U11 has been usurped by a 6-inch Super LCD 6 number with a Quad HD+ resolution (2,880 x 1,440). That's an 18:9 aspect ratio, if you were wondering, and HDR10 support will arrive via a software update before the end of the year. Only, listing out the specifications does not tell the whole tale. With the bigger screen comes a notably slicker design.

The U11+ measures up at 158.5 x 74.9 x 8.5mm, or roughly 6.2 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches. That makes it slightly taller and thicker than the U11, and actually a bit narrower. It's also a hair heavier at 188g (around 6.6 ounces) compared with the U11's weight of 169g (just under 6 ounces). None of these differences mean much, though, as they feel nigh identical in-hand. So how has HTC achieved this and still managed to squeeze an extra 0.5 inches of display into the thing? By jumping on the bandwagon of most manufacturers -- from Samsung to Apple to LG and more -- and eliminating as much bezel as humanly possible.

To do this, HTC had to move the fingerprint sensor from the front of the U11 to the back of the U11+, freeing up that area to accommodate more display, and then shaving millimeters of bezel wherever viable. The result is a seriously slick-looking machine that stands proudly beside the flagship devices already rocking this trend. And that's the main takeaway right there. Forget the bigger screen: The U11+ is primarily just a neater, prettier U11.

If there's one trade-off, it's that the U11+ only comes in the one color. A safe, deep black; no dynamic, light-catching blue or red options like the U11. The color's officially called "Ceramic Black," but this has nothing to do with actual ceramic. The black model still looks luxurious thanks to its "3D liquid glass" back -- though this material has proven to be quite fragile (the rear of our U11 review unit cracked after receiving the most minor of knocks). Well, it looks great until you put your hands on it anyway, after which it's more like a glass table that's been attacked by a toddler's greasy mitts that have just rifled through a bag of sticky sweets.

Truth be told there is a translucent, almost retro model that shows off the device's NFC coil and a few other internal components. But contrary to rumor, this is a prototype that HTC may or may not decide to put into production at some point next year.

Aside from a fresh design, there are a handful of other improvements the U11+ brings, including a bigger batter capacity (3,930mAh, up from 3,000mAh on the U11). Some of this extra juice will be eliminated by the larger display, of course, so do not go thinking you will get a ton of extra use out of the thing before it demands a recharge. With the U11+ being taller, the acoustics of the frame are different. HTC says this has led to a 30 percent increase in the max volume of the device's BoomSound speakers, and the company chucked in a slightly better subwoofer for good measure, too.

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