HTC U11 Plus announced: tiny bezels and huge battery improve on an already great phone

From The Verge: The HTC U11 has been one of the best flagship Android phones of 2017, and now it has been upgraded and enhanced as a new U11 Plus model, freshly announced by HTC today. What are the big differences? The display is the most obvious one, moving from 5.5 inches up to 6 inches, though HTC has shrunk the bezels to fit the new phone into a physical footprint that’s only slightly larger. A new, substantially bigger battery has also been added, and the two changes together have led to a subtle alteration of the design. But, all in all, this device is exactly what its name suggests: a U11 with more of the good stuff and a topping of Android 8 Oreo to sweeten the deal.

I spent some time with the U11 Plus in London ahead of its unveiling and was left feeling encouraged by most of what I saw, but also a little disappointed. For US readers, though, the biggest disappointment is probably that HTC has no plans to bring this device Stateside. It’s intended for other markets around Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.

Firstly, the good stuff. The new screen size and 18:9 aspect ratio might lead you to think this is another of those ill-fated LG Display OLED panels, but HTC is still using the same LCD technology as in the U11, and I can confirm that the U11 Plus presents sharp and vibrant images. The slimmed-down bezels aren’t in the same class as Samsung and LG’s extreme Galaxy S8 and V30 designs, but they’re certainly the thinnest HTC has done for a very long time. You’d have to go back to the immortal HTC HD2 for an HTC phone that felt this lean and stripped down to its essentials. The screen-to-body ratio of the U11 Plus is a laudable 82 percent. The resolution of 2880 x 1440 is a direct match to LG’s G6 and V30, and HTC also promises future support for HDR10 video via a software update.

More than the display, which I think is a nice step up in screen real estate over the U11, I’m excited about the 3,930mAh battery of the U11 Plus. In my time with the U11, I found it to be one of the longest-lasting, most-reliable Android smartphones of its generation, and that was with a 3,000mAh cell. Imagine what an extra 31 percent of juice will do to such a device, even with a larger display. It’s worth dwelling on this upgrade, because the battery is one of the most critically important — and, when it’s deficient, most aggravating — components of a phone, and HTC has done its utmost to maximize it.

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