As HTC’s struggles in the global smartphone market continue, the company’s upcoming new smartphone actually managed to stir up some buzz over the past few weeks. The premium HTC U11+ phablet is a brand new flagship phone that takes everything good about the U11 and moves it over to a phone with a larger display and narrower bezels. It’s a beautiful new handset that goes on sale soon in several markets around the world. Now for the bad news: the United States isn’t one of those markets. Worse still, HTC has no plans to release the U11+ in the US at any point, instead holding off until next year when it launches its next-generation flagship as a successor to the U11.
Now, for the silver lining. The U11+ isn’t the only new smartphone HTC is announcing on Thursday. The new HTC U11 life joins the company’s lineup as well, offering good specs and features as well as a sleek design at a fraction of the price of a flagship phones.
While Apple and Samsung are busy selling new $1,000 smartphones, HTC’s newest handset for the US is something entirely different. HTC calls it a “value flagship,” a mid-range smartphone with a design as good as a flagship phone. It delivers on that vision, though at $349 it is a bit pricey compared to comparable devices from other vendors. Lucky for HTC, not many of those devices are actually sold in the US market, so it won’t have much competition here… if it can manage to build awareness for the U11 life, that is.
The phone is available beginning immediately unlocked on HTC.com. HTC’s U11 life will then launch tomorrow, November 3rd, at T-Mobile, which will be the phone’s exclusive carrier partner in the US. It’ll be added to the Smart Picks portfolio at T-Mobile, but it won’t be marketed like a flagship phone, of course.
As for specs, we’re looking at a solid mid-range handset with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 chipset, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage plus microSDXC support, a 5.2-inch FHD display, a 16MP rear camera, IP67 water and dust resistance, a 2,600 mAh battery, and Android 7.1 Nougat. The phone also includes key features from the U11 like Edge Sense and HTC’s Sense software suite atop Android. It has the same beautiful color-changing blue finish as the U11, though the U11 life is made of acrylic instead of glass.
You’ll find the full HTC U11 life specs below.