HTC U11 Life Review

htc u11 life review

HTC U11 Life Review: Overview & Price

In this HTC U11 Life review, we go over everything you need to know about the phone, as well as showcasing some of the best HTC U11 Life contract deals in the UK here.

The U11 Life was released in December of 2017 and aims to bring users a good-looking mid-range smartphone packed full of features.

Is the HTC U11 Life waterproof? Find out shortly in this review.

The HTC U11 Life specs won’t win any gold medals, however 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage is some of what you can expect, more on that shortly.

Check out the HTC U11 Life contract deals..

Let’s take a look…

HTC U11 Life Review: Design & Display

So the HTC U11 Life is just a mini version of the U11, therefore it looks extremely similar when it comes to the design.

The first thing we noticed about the HTC U11 Life is that it is slightly smaller than the U11 and is made from plastic.

The plastic design does feel less premium but we understand HTC had to make cutbacks when bringing you a mini U11 for this price.

Plastic is not all bad though and does give you extra grip when using the phone, which you may or may not need thanks to the HTC U11 life being waterproof, IP67 water-resistant actually.

HTC U11 Life UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Sapphire Blue
  • Edge Sense. A simple squeeze lets you do things faster and some things never before possible!
  • HTC USonic for audio that’s adapted to you, with Active Noise Cancellation so you can truly lose yourself in the moment.
  • A 16MP camera with PDAF and HDR boost that captures stunningly clear photos and videos
  • Weather resistant IP67 rating
  •  An Android One phone that features a best-in-class software experience designed by Google.

Now because of the plastic design it does pick up fingerprints extremely easily, a case for the phone is not a bad idea as, after 5 minutes of having your mitts on it, it will look extremely grubby.

In our HTC U11 Life review we were lucky enough to get a hold of the Saphire Blue variant of the phone, it also comes in a Brilliant Black and Ice White if Blue is not your thing.

The phone is a medium-sized 5.2-inch, it also has a thin bezel which sits around the screen making it super easy to hold.

On the right-hand side of the phone is where you will find the volume rocker and power button, around the front you will see the fingerprint scanner and LED notification light up the top, alongside the front-facing camera.

Then down at the base of the phone is where you will find the USB-C connector, which is strangely off-centre but no dongle comes in the box that would allow you to attach headphones.

Speaking of headphones HTC does include a decent pair in the box.

The HTC U11 Life has a Full HD 5.2-inch LCD 1080 x 1920 panel; brightness and colour accuracy are strong.

Colours are bright and crisp and are exactly what we expected from the phone, the LCD display is great for the price and perfect for those who like to immerse themselves on YouTube and Netflix.

Viewing angles are also good which is nice to see, although there is some slight motion blur when scrolling vertically through the UI.

There is not too much to shout about in this department but we were overall impressed with the display, it will be fine for most users although if you’re used to a more premium AMOLED, you might want to opt for something a little better.

Given the HTC U11 price the design and display aspect is impressive, we love the HD panel as it makes for a great viewing experience.

HTC U11 Life Review: Performance

The HTC U11 Life specs won’t blow your socks off, it comes with the Snapdragon 630 chip, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, however, this can be increased with a microSD card.

The phone is generally smooth and fast and navigating through the UI, although this is definitely not a gaming phone and if you’re looking for a bit more power, then you should check out our Huawei Mate 20 Lite review.

One cool feature of the U11 life is ‘Edge Sense’ which is a flagship feature that comes across to the mid-range version.

It basically lets you squeeze the phone to let you do one function, then squeeze and hold for another.

You can change the functionality of Edge Sense in the settings and after a couple of days of using the phone; it does come in super handy for settings shortcuts.

We were a little annoyed the fact that because the HTC U11 Life doesn’t have a headphone jack, it means that you cant charge your phone whilst listening to music or a podcast at the same time.

We tested the game on a couple of games and found that the phone ran smoothly, again it’s by no means a gaming phone but it will do the job for the odd Doodle Jump game or Asphalt, don’t expect to be running PUBG in max graphics on this thing.

The HTC U11 Life runs Android 8.0 but is also one of the first phones to be part of the Android One program; this essentially means that it runs the standard version of Android rather than the HTC version.

The UI is clean and easy to get to grips with, it also means that any future updates that are released, you will be first in line thanks to being involved in the Android One program.

Overall we were pretty disappointed with the performance of the phone, switching through applications takes a long time and multi-tasking is near impossible, we were confused to why it was so poor especially with having 3GB of RAM which is usually fine for most devices.

We also recommend investing in a microSD card for the phone, as we found 32GB to be very small.

HTC U11 Life Review: Camera

The HTC U11 Life camera has a 16MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, which is surprisingly good when in use.

We were able to capture some decent images, especially when in good lighting conditions.

See Related:

*HTC U11 Review*
*Huawei P Smart 2018 Review*
*Huawei P Smart 2019 Review*

Dynamic range is great and it and means you can capture an Instagram ready photo without being an expert.

The rear-camera boasts face detection autofocus and the interface is extremely simple and easy to use.

There are plenty of different modes which you can play around within the settings, to do this you simply swipe down from the top and from there you will find a range of settings, the slow-motion being our favourite and it works surprisingly well.

We found shooting images at night to be a let down though; especially being as there is no optical image stabilisation so you will need a super steady hand.

We would have also loved to see a background blur option on this phone, which is usually present in phones of its calibre.

The front-facing camera is decent too, it’s not going to win any gold medals but it has the capability of producing some pretty good selfies, again this is less than ideal at night so we recommend making sure your selfies are taken when in good lighting.

Video recording goes right up to 4K resolution that was impressive, there is also a 120fps slow-motion mode as previously mentioned which was fun to play around with.

Overall the HTC U11 Life camera isn’t world-class but does have some fun features and is extremely easy to use.

The minimalist settings are super easy to get to grips with and this means you have more time to focus on getting the perfect shot rather than relying on the phone to do the work.

HTC U11 Life Review: Battery Life

The HTC U11 Life has a 2600mAh battery life, which is pretty small but you can still expect up to 8 hours of screen on time thanks to its efficient chipset.

We did find ourselves reaching for the charger if we had a heavy day of usage though, one day we watched a couple of YouTube videos and browsed Instagram for an hour and found that by 7 pm we were just about flat.

Battery largely depends on the individual though and if you’re not going to be playing lots of games and watching YouTube videos most days, then we think the battery life on the HTC U11 Life will be more than capable of getting you through the day.

HTC U11 Life UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Sapphire Blue
  • Edge Sense. A simple squeeze lets you do things faster and some things never before possible!
  • HTC USonic for audio that’s adapted to you, with Active Noise Cancellation so you can truly lose yourself in the moment.
  • A 16MP camera with PDAF and HDR boost that captures stunningly clear photos and videos
  • Weather resistant IP67 rating
  •  An Android One phone that features a best-in-class software experience designed by Google.

There is an extremely irritating LED light that will flash when you are on low power, even when the phone still has some power left in it, which was frustrating.

The phone does come with a supplied fast charger, which will get you from 0-40% in around 30 minutes.

All in all the battery life is decent but we would have liked to seen a little more stamina, it will get most people through a full day but more intense users like myself will find themselves reaching for the USB-C charger.

HTC U11 Life Review: Summary

So is the HTC U11 Life price worth it?

Well, it’s a decent all-round phone but for the phone we feel that there are other devices out there that offer more value for money.

The HTC U11 Life is waterproof, which gives users peace of mind when using it around the pool or in the tub.

The HTC U11 Life specs aren’t great, however, at this price point the value for money here is strong.

HTC U11 Life UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Sapphire Blue 

Die-hard HTC fans will still be impressed with the phone, but we didn’t fall in love and the phone certainly won’t be taking any gold medals.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed our HTC U11 Life review, and feel free to comment, life and share if you have.

We recommend you check out our Huawei Mate 20 Lite review and the Huawei P Smart 2019 before making any purchase decisions.

You can also check out the cheapest HTC U11 Life contract deals at the top of this post..

HTC U11 Life Review: Full Specification

Launch: 2017, December


  • Dimension: 149.1 x 72.9 x 8.1mm (5.87 x 2.87 x 0.32 inches)
  • Weight: 142g (5.01 oz)
  • Build: Plastic body
  • Sim: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual-stand-by)
    – IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins)


  • Type: Super LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
  • Size: 5.2-inches, 74.5 cm² (-68.6% screen-to-body-ratio)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels, 16:9 ratio (-424 ppi density)
  • Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3


  • OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie); Android One
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SDM630 Snapdragon 630 (14nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Adreno 508


  • Card slot:
    – microSD, up to 512GB (dedicated slot) – single SIM model
    – microSD, up to 512GB (uses SIM 2 slot) – dual SIM model
  • Internal: 64GB, 4GB RAM or 32GB, 3GB RAM


  • Primary:
    – 16MP, f/2.0
  • Features: HDR, Panorama
  • Video: 1080p@30fps


  • Loudspeaker: Yes
  • 3.5mm Jack: No
    – 24-bit/192kHz audio
    – Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic


  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi direct, hotspot
  • Bluetooth: 5.0, A2DP, LE
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Radio: No
  • USB: 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector


  • Sensors: Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass


  • Non-removeable Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery


  • Colours: Brilliant Black, Saphire Blue, Ice White
  • Price: As seen in above post


  • Performance: Basemark OS ||: 1461 / Basemark OS || 2.0: 1342 / Basemark X: 14286
  • Display: Contrast ratio: 1529:1 (nominal), 3.108 (sunlight)
  • Camera: Photo / Video
  • Loudspeaker: Voice 70dB / Noise 75dB / Ring 88dB
  • Battery Life: Endurance rating 73h

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