The U11+ comes preloaded with the latest Android 8.0 Oreo version of Google’s OS, overlaid with HTC Sense. I’ve never been a fan of custom Android skins, since they often unnecessarily load phones with bloatware, make useless UI changes, and delay how quickly the phone can receive software updates.
Fortunately – and for the most part – these aren’t issues on the U11+. Bloatware has been kept to a minimum and, outside of contacts and email, I didn’t spot any duplicate applications. Excluding additional settings for the U11+’s BoomSound speakers and the USB-C ANC headphones it comes with, the Settings menu is pretty close to stock Android.
My only quibble is with Sense UI’s BlinkFeed service. BlinkFeed is a news and social media aggregation page that can be accessed by swiping left from the phone’s main homescreen. When it first arrived on the original HTC One many moons ago, it was actually quite useful, offering users a one-stop shop for all their alerts and news. Over the years, however, it’s gradually become less useful.
A lack of significant UI updates, alongside improvements to Android’s native notifications system mean BlinkFeed is, for the most part, a superfluous addition to the OS;and one that increases battery drain. Most users will either ignore it, or be annoyed by it. Personally, I fall into the latter category, and I can’t help but feel HTC should either overhaul the feature or ditch it.
The U11+ runs using the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU as its predecessor, but features a slightly more robust 6GB of RAM.
Although all eyes are now on Qualcomm’s newer Snapdragon 845 CPU, which is set to run on 2018’s next-generation handsets, the 835 is still a competent bit of silicon that’s more than powerful enough.
Next to all the 835-powered phones I’ve tested, the U11+ offers great performance. Apps open in milliseconds and the phone powers through demanding tasks such as 3D gaming stutter- and chug-free.
The phone’s synthetic benchmark scores mirrored my real-world findings, with its Geekbench 4 1933 single-core and 6775 multi-core scores putting it just above the regular U11. You can see how the U11+ compares to the U11 and Galaxy S8 in the table below.