The HTC U11 features a 3000mAh battery, which, on a phone this size, is a little small. The dinky cell left me with serious concerns about the U11’s stamina, and following a week with the phone I’m still not convinced it will offer anything more than average battery life.
With regular use I found the U11 generally just about manages to last between a day and a day and a half. This entailed listening to music during my commute, taking and making a few calls, regularly checking my social media and email feeds, and watching a quick episode of Rick and Morty before bed.
The U11’s video playback and gaming performance was also a little middle-of-the-road by flagship standards. Looping a video with the screen brightness at 50%, the U11 discharged an average of 10-12% of its charge per hour. Most other phones I test at this price point lose less than 10% per hour in the same test.
Gaming was an even bigger drain. Playing demanding games such as Riptide GP2 and Shadowrun: Hong Kong, the U11 lost as much as 22-25% of its battery.
The USB headphone converter also proved to be a big power sap. Listening to music using the converter, the phone managed to discharge as much as 15% of its battery over an hour-long train ride, which will be a serious issue for people who travel regularly.
I’m also a little disappointed that the U11 still uses Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, not the newer 4.0 tech. However, charge speeds are far from terrible, and the U11 has never taken more than an hour to fully charge from zero during my time with it.
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Should I buy the HTC U11?
Featuring oddly useful squeeze controls, a great camera and Hi-Res Audio support, the HTC U11 is an excellent handset that won’t disappoint any buyer when it comes to functionality. Its design is Marmite, however.
Some people may like the new glass back, but I can’t help but wish HTC had stuck to using metal. Compared to the HTC 10, the U11 looks a little cheap – and is an absolute smudge magnet.
Despite the inclusion of a converter, the lack of headphone jack is a serious annoyance that will put off the audiophile market for which the U11 is otherwise tailor-made. These problems sound small, but combined they add up to make the Samsung Galaxy S8 a more appealing handset overall.