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HTC U11 Life vs HTC U11: In-house tussle

07 November 2017 5

The Taiwanese giant smartphone manufacturer HTC announced a couple of new U-lineup smartphones in an event. The first device is the flagship phablet U11+ whereas the second device is the pocket-friendly U11 Lie. Both the devices are the company's latest offering after the flagship U11. We already compared the flagship U11+ against a couple of its competitors.

The U11 Life is also pretty much capable to emerge as one of the best alternatives to the flagship U11. Like always whenever a new flagship is announced everyone is keen to know how well the device competes against its rivals and alternatives. Most of the aspects of both the devices are pretty much same that's why we can claim the U11 Life is the elder brother of U11 with toned down specs sheet. Today we will compare the latest U11 Life against the standard flagship U11.

We are hopeful our head to head comparison of U11 Life against U11 will certainly give our readers a pretty good idea about which smartphone is better in what aspects. Starting with the design of both the devices as it is the first thing buyers consider while grabbing a new smartphone.

72.9 x 149.09 x 8.1 mm
5.2 inches - 1920x1080 px
75.9 x 153.9 x 7.9 mm
5.5 inches - 2560x1440 px
Go to comparison page

With the flagship U11, HTC unveiled Liquid surface design which looks quite ravishing and striking. Despite the fact, the U11 has traditional thick bezels on the front-facing side but the U11 Liquid surface rear is something which makes it stand out amongst the crowd. The U11 chassis is made up of metal with shinny rear. The rear side is adorned with single camera module with dual LED flashlight. The fingerprint is placed under the physical button below the display screen. The U11 has a squeezable frame which HTC dubbed as Edge Sense feature. The power button and volume controllers on U11 are placed on the right edge side.

For connectivity, the U11 has USB Type-C connectivity port. It lacks traditional 3.5mm headphone jack but instead, it comes with USB Type-C headphones. The U11 is IP67 certified which means it can resist against water up to 1 meters deep for 30 minutes without any damage.

The newly announced mid-ranger U11 Life also has the liquid surface rear body but it has the plastic body instead of metal. The U11 Life is announced in two color variants only including Sapphire Blue and Brilliant Black. Apart from plastic, it looks pretty much similar to the flagship U11. The rear side is adorned with the single camera module and the fingerprint scanner is on the front below the screen.

The U11 Life also has squeezable frame Aka Edge Sense feature. It is customizable, you can program it to any app. It is IP67 certified device like the U11. It also lacks 3.5mm headphone jack like its elder brother. The volume and power buttons are also placed in the same position.


The flagship U11 is featuring a 5.5-inches LCD 5 display panel with Quad HD screen resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The display pixels density is 534 pixels per inch which are quite amazing considering all other premium devices announced this year have pixels density slightly above 500. The display color saturation and contrast ratio is pretty good but still not top-notch like OLEDs. The U11 display supports HDR to compete against the other flagships. The Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is protecting the display in case of accidental drops. The display is covered with thick bezels around the corner unlike bezel-less flagships announced this year.

The HTC U11 Life comes with a compact display panel of 5.2-inches LCD display panel. Being a mid-range its screen resolution is dropped to Full HD with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels instead of Quad HD like U11. The lower screen resolution also results into lower pixels density of 424 pixels per inch. The image quality of U11 Life will be slightly lower than U11 but the eye can't differentiate in most of the cases. It also lacks HDR support but the good thing is it also has Corning Gorilla Glass protection.


As expected to be the flagship the U11 is bringing better camera setup. The U11's primary rear snapper is the 12MP module with f/1.7 aperture and dual LED flashlight. The sensor comes with optical image stabilization and Autofocus is also pretty fast. The U11's primary snapper can record 4K videos. Up front, the selfie snapper is the 16MP module with f/2.0 aperture. The front-facing camera can record Full HD videos. The selfie camera with the number of extra features including Voice and Auto Selfie.

In terms of megapixels, the U11 Life has higher pixels on paper but the real-life scenario is different due to the difference in aperture and other aspects. The U11 Life comes with a 16MP module with f/2.0 aperture and dual-tone LED flashlight. It has 1µm pixels as opposed to 1.4µm pixels. The sensor has phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. However, it can record video of 1080p only instead of 4K.

The selfie-camera on the front-facing side is the 16MP module with f/2.0 aperture. It can also Full HD videos like U11. Other features like Auto selfie are same like the flagship. We can say that front-facing snappers on both the devices are similar.


Once again the U11 takes lead in this section due to being the premium smartphone from the company. The Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 835 SoC is powering the U11 with 4GB RAM and native storage is 64GB. Ther is a top of the line variant with 6GB RAM and 128GB memory. The good thing is it is further expandable using MicroSD card.

The HTC U11 Life is powered up by the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 635 SoC with 3GB RAM and built-in storage is 32GB. There is a top of the line variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB memory. It also supports memory expansion via MicroSD card. Both the U11 and U11 Life have enough power under the hood to complete hifi multi-tasking tasks. However, the U11 chipset is more future proof and also it performs tasks much rapidly as opposed to U11 Life. You won't disappoint with the performance of any smartphone and both are capable to be your daily driver.

The U11 comes with the company's iconic headphones and BoomSound Hi-Fi edition speakers for a soothing audio experience. The U11 Life also comes with USonic headphone with Active Noise Cancellation but it lacks BoomSound speakers like the U11. The audio experience on U11 Life is also amazing but not as good as U11.

Specs HTC U11 Life HTC U11
Display 5.2-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels 1440 x 2560 pixels
Chipset Qualcomm's Snapdragon 635 Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835
RAM 3/4GB 4/6GB
Storage 32/64GB Expandable via MicroSD 64/128GB Non-Expandable
Rear camera 16MP with f/2.0 aperture 12MP with f/1.7 aperture
Front camera 16MP 16MP
Battery 2,600mAh 3,000mAh
USB Type-C Type-C
IP-ratings IP67 IP67
OS Android Nougat (Oreo confirmed) Android Nougat (Oreo confirmed)

The U11 is packed with a 3,000mAh battery cell which supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0. It quickly charges the device in less than two hours. The U11 Life has a 2,600mAh battery which seems ok considering it has slightly small display panel with Full HD screen resolution.


The HTC U11 Life has two variants based on software, there is an Android One variant with stock Android OS. The Stock Android OS variant is marketed as "created by HTC and powered by Google" whereas the second variant is T-Mobile's exclusive it comes with Android Nougat 7.1 with HTC Sense layer over it.

The flagship U11 is running on Android Nougat 7.1 with HTC Sense custom layer over it. The company confirmed they will be rolling out Android Oreo for the U11 Life and U11 by the end of this year. Both the devices come with three Assistants straight out of the box including Google Assistant, Alexa, and the company own AI assistant. The pressure sensitive edges can be used to access Assistants instantly.


As expected the flagship U11 is ahead in the pricing department as well. The U11 base variant with 4GB RAM can be grabbed for £599 in the UK whereas the 128GB variant costs £649. The U11 is significantly cheaper at £349 which means it saves you around £250 than its elder brother.


Being the premium flagship the U11 has the edge due to its slightly large Quad HD display panel, BoomSound speakers, latest chipset, more RAM, metal design but we have to consider it comes with a hefty price tag. The U11 Life has slightly downgraded display with Full HD screen resolution, the chipset also belongs to the mid-range family. However we have to give due credit to U11 Life because of having same striking design despite having plastic instead of metal, the Octa-core chipset is enough to handle daily routine tasks, it is IP67 certified and also has the fingerprint scanner. It provides better value for your money as it saves you more than £200. However if you want better finishing with better hardware and budget is not your problem, the U11 is certainly a better option in that case.

Feel free to share your views regarding the U11 vs U11 Life in the comments section below. Stay tuned.

(last update 13 December 2018 @ 18:09)



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