The latest flagship phone from Taiwan’s tech giant HTC has officially been released to the market. The HTC U11 is poised to become the company’s most powerful smartphone to date. It recently moved its launch to June to equip the phone with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. If you feel like you’ve heard that before, that’s because it’s the same hardware found in the Samsung Galaxy S8 phones.
HTC is hoping to edge out from its main competitor, the Galaxy S8, by introducing the world’s first-ever squeezable phone. The U11’s Edge Sense feature allows users to squeeze the phone’s interactive structure to initiate commands. So is this enough for the U11 to dethrone the Galaxy S8 as Android of the year? A lot of people certainly see the potential.
HTC U11 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Flagship Phones Duke it Out in the Android Market
Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the HTC U11 are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, allowing the devices to be more powerful and less energy consuming. Other than its processor, take an in-depth on how these two smartphones compare to each other.
- HTC U11: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.9mm and weighs 169g
- Galaxy S8: 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0mm and weighs 155g
The HTC U11’s design closely resembles two early 2017 models, the HTC U Ultra and Play. Like the S8, it uses glass at the front and back. Both models are also water and dust resistant. The main difference from the design of the two is that the U11 uses the glass interface to reflect colors on the back of the phone.
The HTC U11’s squeezable frame is the main highlight of the phone. It serves by supporting a feature called Edge Sense, which as mentioned above is used to control multiple apps. Overall, the U11’s design takes a step forward over the Samsung Galaxy Edge, especially since it comes in five color variants. However, don’t expect a regular headphone jack as the U11 managed to replace this with a USB Type-C port.
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On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S8 features a slimmer design and an 18.6:9 aspect ratio, meaning it has a much larger display but smaller body. Unlike the U11, it has very slim bezels thanks to its curved edges. A button for activating the Bixby voice assistant can be found on the left-hand side while a 3.5 mm headphone jack and USB Type-C are present at the bottom of the device.
HTC U11 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Display
- HTC U11: 5.5-inch 16:9 Super LCD 5, 2560 x 1440, 534ppi
- Galaxy S8: 5.8-inch 18.5:9 Super AMOLED, dual curved, 2960 x 1440 pixels, 570ppi, HDR capable
The 5.5-inch panel’s quad-HD resolution of the HTC U11 ensures text and icons appear sharp onscreen. It is capable of showing up to 2560 x 1440 pixels. The Super LCD 5 panel also offers a visually pleasing colour temperature, although it may not be as vibrant as the Samsung Galaxy 8’s Infinity display.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display with a 2960 x 1440 resolution. One thing that is most noticeable about this phone is that it does not have any sharp edges, just curves all around. The device’s wow factor mostly relies on its stunning Super AMOLED display. It also comes with a Mobile HDR premium which is compatible with video streaming sites like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc.
- HTC U11: 12MP rear, f/1.7, OIS, 1.4µm pixels; 16MP front, f/2.0
- Galaxy S8: 12MP rear, f/1.7, OIS, 1.4µm pixels; 8MP front, f/1.7, 1.22µm pixels
The HTC U11 and Galaxy S8 have nearly the same camera specs. On the back of the HTC U11, you can find a 12-megapixel camera while its front cam sports a 16-megapixel sensor. The camera was recently given an admirable 90 point score by website DxOMark, the highest score ever attained by a smartphone.
Like the U11, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has a 12-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilisation. The front camera is 8 megapixels with f/1.7 and autofocus.
- HTC U11: Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD
- Galaxy S8: Exynos 8895 or Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD
The HTC U11 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are both powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and a 3000mAh battery. The U11 comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB expandable storage. A 6GB RAM and 128GB storage are currently in the works but will only be available in certain regions.
Along with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with the Exynos 8895 chip for users in certain regions. You may also find that it is equipped with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal memory and a microSD slot for storage expansion. Aside from a fingerprint scanner, it also sports an iris scanner.
HTC U11 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: Audio
- HTC U11: BoomSound HI-Fi, Hi-Res headphones, no 3.5mm
- Samsung: Hi-Res capable, Dual Bluetooth, mono speaker, 3.5mm
HTC puts a lot of attention to audio and that tradition continues with the U11. It can handle 24-but Hi-res audio files, and Boomsound speakers, turning the phone into a resonating chamber that increases sound quality. You can now enjoy real bass tunes and crank the volume up to feel the sound vibrations.
Moreover, the Samsung Galaxy S8 sticks to a tradition 3.5mm headphone socket and a pair of AKG headphones to match. Many have noted that HTC’s bundled phones are of better quality despite the USB-C port. However, if you want to use a pair of Bluetooth headphones, you can always do so for both phones.
- HTC U11: Android Nougat with HTC Sense, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
- Samsung Galaxy S8: Android Nougat with TouchWiz, Google Assistant, Bixby
The HTC U11 has one of the best implementations of Android Nougat 7.1. Aside from the basic applications, it removes any duplicate apps, meaning there is only one music player, email client, calendar, and so on. One thing that makes the device stand out the most is its Edge Sense function. This allows you to squeeze the handset to launch applications and trigger other actions like taking photos and sending messages, making the HTC U11 live up to its title as the “world’s first squeezable phone”.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 runs on Android Nougat as well. It also offers Google Assistant, and Samsung’s new AI system, Bixby. The only complaint is that Samsung’s personal answer to Siri keeps popping up everywhere and it’s dedicated home screen is not exactly that inspiring. Bixby has one redeeming factor though. Using the camera app, you may take a photo and ask Bixby for links to find similar items.
Price and Verdict
- HTC U11: £649 (64GB)
- Samsung Galaxy S8: £689 (64GB)
Samsung and HTC have gone all out when it came to creating their 2017 flagship phones, both offering power, eye-catching features and a close specifications sheet. But with a device that has nearly the same features and is being sold a whole £40 ($50) less, the HTC seems like a more reasonable choice.