HTC U11 Life with Android One Now In Stock: £349
One thing that is often a criticism of big-brand Android devices is the rollout of updates. Every year Google will make a big announcement about new features. They also espouse the importance of monthly security patches.
Often though, it can take many months for major OEMs to catch up. If they ever bother. The reasons usually stem from having to integrate these updates into their highly-modified Android versions. HTC, Samsung, Sony and even Motorola’s clean looking Android installs are in fact all heavily modified under the hood. The HTC U11 Life is different.
A counter to tardy manufacturer updates is Google’s Android One initiative. If a manufacturer puts their phone up for Android One they are making a commitment. Android One phones will receive a guaranteed 2 years of OS & security updates, delivered in a timely fashion. This is because Google will deliver them, not the manufacturer.
The HTC U11 Life is one of a handful of major OEM phones to offer this experience. As such this won’t feel like any other HTC phone. The HTC Sense UI is gone, replaced by the core Google Android Experience.
This doesn’t mean it’s totally stock Android though. There are still a few enhancements and features that set the HTC U11 Life apart from other handsets. This includes the Edge Sense squeezy sides seen on the bigger U11 (and since co-opted by Google into the Pixel 2 range). HTC’s USonic audio enhancements are also present. Of course the full suite of Google Apps is installed out of the box.
Elsewhere, the U11 Life provides a solid mid-range specification. The Snapdragon 630 is a proven power-efficient chip which churns along nicely with 3GB RAM. HTC’s design is also one of the best. The ‘acrylic glass’ finish captures all the gloss of a glass back without the worry of a £200+ bill if you happen to set it down on the table a smidge too hard. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 also helps protect the Full HD front panel.
Overall this is a quality product from HTC. If, like me, you remember HTC at their best before Samsung took over the Android world, then this feels like a step in the right direction for the company. Solid hardware without software bloat, plus a commitment to updates currently unmatched by other big-name competition.
The HTC U11 Life is available from Clove Technology for £349 inc VAT (£290.83 ex-VAT). Sapphire Blue and Brilliant Black models are both in stock.
HTC U11 Life Key Features
- Android 8.0 Oreo – Enjoy the latest Android features
- Android One certified – no manufacturer apps or bloat, just pure Android
- Edge Sense interaction – squeeze for control (seen on HTC U11 & Google Pixel devices)
- 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 630 processor
- HTC USonic audio enhancement
- 5.2” Full HD (1080 x 1920) Super LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 2,600 mAh battery with Quick Charge & USB Type C
- 32 / 64 GB internal storage
- MicroSDXC support up to 256 GB
- 16MP main camera with phase detection autofocus & LED flash
- 16MP selfie camera
- 149.1 x 72.9 x 8.1 mm / 142 grams