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HTC 11 release date, news and rumors

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Update: The HTC 11 will probably be called the HTC U, while a full specs list has leaked and evidence of a futuristic feature known as Sense Touch or Edge Sense continues to grow. Could this be the HTC 11’s USP?

The HTC 10 was something of a reinvention for the brand, sporting a new design, new features and upgraded specs. But in some ways it was still not enough of a change, and still lacking.

The HTC U Ultra wasn’t quite the flagship HTC needed either, but the good news is another high-end phone is thought to be on the way. It looks increasingly unlikely that it will be called the HTC 11, with the HTC U being the current front runner, but whatever it’s called it’s probably going to be HTC’s main 2017 flagship.

We’ve heard a lot about it too, all of which you can read below, along with a wish list of what we want from it.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? HTC’s next flagship, successor to the HTC 10
  • When’s it out? Possibly April or May
  • What will it cost? It will have a high-end price

HTC 11 release date

Hottest leaks:

  • May be announced in mid to late April
  • Could hit stores in early May

HTC normally launches its flagships early in the year and 2016 was no exception, though it skipped MWC (Mobile World Congress – a major exhibition for the mobile industry).

And it’s skipped MWC this year too, with the company suggesting a new flagship is on the way, but not until after the event.

That’s apparently down to the availability – or lack thereof – of the next flagship chip, which we now know is the Snapdragon 835. But waiting until after MWC could make sense either way, as otherwise the HTC 11 would be competing with the recently announced HTC U Ultra.

Our best guess for the announcement date is mid to late April, as reliable leaker Evan Blass claims that’s when we’ll see it, with the phone hitting stores globally in early May.

It also looks like the HTC 11 may launch under a different name, as HTC’s President of Smartphone and Connected Devices Business, Chialin Chang, confirmed there won’t be a phone called the HTC 11, but wouldn’t say what it will actually be called. Current rumors suggest the new name will be the HTC U.

TechRadar’s take: Our best guess for the HTC U’s launch is the first half of 2017, so an April launch is believable, but with the HTC U Ultra already filling a flagship-shaped hole a later launch is possible.

HTC 11 design

Hottest leaks:

  • A metal shell or possibly a glass back instead
  • An edge-to-edge screen

And what have we here? Is this the HTC U in all its glory? Considering the source of the image was serial tipster Evan Blass, it’s likely that this is indeed our first proper look at HTC’s 2017 flagship, with a glass back and a fingerprint sensor on the front, with the home button.

Previously our best look at a phone that might be the HTC U showed an edge-to-edge screen with sizeable black bezels above and below it, one of which houses an oblong home button. It looks a lot like the HTC U Ultra in fact.

We can’t see the back here, but previously a Chinese source on Weibo shared an image which shows both the front and back. 

The social media account hasn’t been clear on the exact source of the leaked design, but it’s an interesting concept, taking elements from the HTC Bolt/10 Evo.

As you can see, the back appears to be metal, the edges slope off sharply and the front has an edge-to-edge screen. It’s a striking look and a leaked video shows a similar design.

Notably it doesn’t have the shiny glass back of the HTC U Ultra, and nor does it have the front-facing home button of that phone and more recent leaks, so it’s unclear which – if either – of these are accurate.

And we’ve also seen leaked shots of a phone believed to be the HTC One X10 – so probably not the HTC U then, but it’s possible that the HTC 11 will have a similar design, in which case you can look forward to a metal unibody with a fingerprint scanner on the back.

TechRadar’s take: HTC’s stuck with metal on its main flagship line in recent years and to generally impressive effect, so we’d guess metal will be back again for the HTC 11, though if it switches to ‘U’ branding a glass back is possible.

HTC 11 display

Hottest leaks:

  • It looks like a 5.5-inch QHD display, which may also be curved
  • An unusual resolution

Several rumors suggest the HTC U will feature a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 display – an upgrade on the 5.2-inch HTC 10 screen – so this is likely going to be a slightly bigger phone.

One Weibo leaker even suggested the phone will come with a curved display. If that sounds familiar it’s because the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has exactly the same setup.

However, not all sources agree with that resolution, with a recent leak suggesting it will actually have a 1556 x 2550 screen – that’s an odd resolution and would suggest an unusual aspect ratio if it’s right, although we’ve seen odd aspect ratios rolled out on the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8, so it’s possible.

There’s also a chance that the HTC 11 will have a tiny secondary display above the main one, like we’ve seen on the LG V20, given that the HTC U Ultra has been launched with exactly that feature.

But then again HTC is likely to want to differentiate the two ranges, and for that reason a jump in screen size to 5.5 inches also may not happen, as that would leave it only slightly smaller than the 5.7-inch HTC U Ultra.

TechRadar’s take: A flat 5.5-inch QHD screen is currently looking most likely. Don’t count on a second screen as that hasn’t specifically been attached to the HTC 11, but we wouldn’t count it out either.

HTC 11 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • Brand new Snapdragon 835 chipset, the latest from Qualcomm
  • A huge 8GB of RAM onboard
  • May see lots of storage with one rumor suggesting 256GB

HTC itself has hinted at the use of the Snapdragon 835 in the HTC 11, while one Chinese source has revealed some additional apparent HTC 11 details. The leak suggests the phone will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset under the hood as well as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Those would certainly be flagship specs, as the Snapdragon 835 is likely to be the top-end chip of choice in 2017, and 8GB of RAM is almost unheard of in any current handsets.

We’ve heard similar but slightly more muted specs from another source, with a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage put forward.

Meanwhile another source claims either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of storage along with the Snapdragon 835.

As for the operating system, we’d expect the HTC 11 to come with the latest version of Android Nougat and HTC’s own overlay on top. Indeed, both Android Nougat 7.1 and HTC Sense 9.0 have been attached to the phone in leaks.

TechRadar’s take: A Snapdragon 835 chip is likely, but 8GB of RAM would be a huge upgrade given the HTC 10 and HTC U Ultra only have 4GB. We’d expect either 4 or 6GB of RAM and a maximum of 128GB of storage.

HTC 11 camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A rear 12MP shooter, 16MP selfie camera
  • HDR+ to show you the effects of HDR in real time
  • 3,700mAh battery, which is larger than the HTC 10

The most recent camera rumors come from Evan Blass – a leaker with a strong track record. He claims that the HTC U will have a 12MP rear camera and a 16MP front-facing one.

But previously a Weibo source stated that the HTC 11 will have a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing one. Either way it doesn’t sound like we’ll be getting a dual-lens camera.

If the rear camera is 12MP it will be the same basic spec as the HTC 10’s, but it’s likely to be improved in some ways. For example, one rumor points to an ‘HDR+ Scene Detection’ feature, which could show you the effects of HDR in real time, before you take a picture.

As for the battery, one source claims a 3,700mAh battery will be powering the handset. That’s up from just 3,000mAh in the HTC 10, so the HTC 11 could be a long-lasting phone, though more recently we’ve heard there will be a return of the 3,000mAh juice pack.

The same source claims it will charge via USB Type-C and support fast charging.

TechRadar’s take: HTC often does its own thing with cameras, so it’s no surprise that it’s apparently not jumping on the dual-lens bandwagon. We’re less sure about the battery jump rumors, as even the 5.7-inch HTC U Ultra only has a 3,000mAh unit.

HTC 11 other features

Hottest leaks:

  • A futuristic ‘Sense Touch’ feature
  • Serious audio skills
  • No headphone port, like the iPhone 7

The single biggest feature of the HTC U is likely to be a pressure-sensitive frame, which would launch apps and features – for example Google Assistant or the camera – with a short or long squeeze of the phone.

You can see the setup screens for the feature – which might be called Edge Sense or Sense Touch – in the leaked image below.

That image matches a recent explanation of the feature from leaker Evan Blass, who’s also shared videos of it in action.

As unlikely as the feature might still seem, evidence of it continues to roll in, including a screenshot tweeted by @evleaks, showing an HTC phone settings screen with an ‘Edge Sense’ toggle. 

So it looks like it’s probably the real deal, though it was first shown off as a concept phone known as the HTC Ocean, seemingly dreamt up by one of HTC’s concept artists.

The HTC U might also have some interesting audio abilities, with a leaked image suggesting it will have 4 microphones, allowing you to either record audio in 3D, for a surround sound effect, or in Hi-Res, for lossless quality.

The same source claims the phone will have BoomSound audio through two speakers, and that there will be an HTC USonic feature which will tailor the sound to your hearing and the shape of your ear canal. However, the phone supposedly won’t have a 3.5mm headphone port.

It’s also rumored that – unsurprisingly – the HTC U will have a fingerprint scanner.

But more surprisingly a leaked video shows an HTC phone with Vive branding. Could this be the HTC 11/HTC U? We’re skeptical, but it’s possible that HTC is re-branding the phone, and maybe even making a major mobile VR push, much like Samsung has been doing with Gear VR

TechRadar’s take: Sense Touch/Edge Sense is looking increasingly likely, while BoomSound paired with 4 mics and 2 speakers is believable, as is the absence of a 3.5mm headphone port, given that the HTC U Ultra doesn’t have one. A move to Vive branding would seem a little unlikely though – and if it was going to happen we’d expect to have heard more about it by now.

HTC 11 price

Hottest leaks:

  • We think it may cost around £570 or $699 (about AU$960)
  • No solid rumors for the HTC 11 price so far though

We don’t know exact pricing details for the HTC U yet, but expect it to be an expensive phone with a price tag that rivals the other flagship phones out there.

TechRadar’s take: Our best guess is to go on the pricing of the HTC 10, which cost £570 or $699 (about AU$960) at launch.

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