HTC U11 Review

Design & Build Quality

When the U11 was first unveiled, I was intrigued by HTC’s decision to abandon its widely-acclaimed metal unibody design for a glass back, especially after the not-so-positive reception of the similarly-designed HTC U Ultra just months before.

“The liquid glass surface is crafted to impress using Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition. By layering highly-refractive precious minerals across the phone’s back cover, we’ve created stunningly vivid new colours that transforms light with every movement you make,” reads HTC’s website.

And it is indeed stunning. My Amazing Silver review unit has a back which is so reflective it can literally be used as a mirror. Despite its name, Amazing Silver isn’t actually silver, but rather a sky blue. The metal rim of the phone has the same shade of blue, which is a really nice touch. While this colour option doesn’t provide much in the realm of colour-shifting, the Solar Red option varies drastically between red and orange depending on the angle you look at it.

Unfortunately, the stunning shine of the U11 quickly becomes muddled when you pick it up, thanks to its glossy glass surface being one of the best fingerprint magnets I’ve seen to date. It doesn’t bother me, because I spend the most of my time looking at the front of the phone anyway, but clean freaks out there be warned.

My daily driver is a OnePlus 3, a device that I have been using every day for exactly one year now, and who arguably has HTC to thank for its metal unibody construction. It is ironic then, when I picked up my HTC U11 review unit, that the difference couldn’t have been starker.

TL;DR: metal is more slippery, but glass is a fingerprint super magnet, and it shatters upon impact. Pick your poison.

The best way I can think of describing it is this: while the OnePlus 3 feels like a solid slate of metal, the U11 feels like a slab of marble. Both are equally as premium, and which is better is purely up to personal preference. I won’t go into the whole glass vs metal debate, but TL;DR: metal is more slippery, but glass is a fingerprint super magnet, and it shatters upon impact. Pick your poison.

On the bright side, the U11 feels solid in the hand and is extremely well-built. The 3D front glass seamlessly fuses with the metal rim, but the glass back doesn’t do so as seamlessly, so you’ll be able to feel an edge where the back meets the rim.

The U11 is the first conventional HTC flagship which is IP67 rated, meaning it can withstand 1m of water for up to 30 minutes.

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