Update: The latest leaks suggest the HTC 11 could have a weird screen and bundles of power.
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’s still not enough of a change, and still lacking.
That’s not to say it isn’t a great phone, but it’s not quite the knockout hit it could have been, and there are a number of areas where there’s room for improvement.
So we’ve put together everything we want to see from the new HTC, as well as all the news and rumors we’ve seen surrounding HTC’s next big phone release.
- Read the review: HTC 10
Cut to the chase
- What is it? HTC’s next flagship, successor to the HTC 10
- When’s it out? Probably mid-2017
- What will it cost? It will have a high-end price
HTC 11 release date
- We won’t see it at MWC 2017
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 looks like HTC will skip 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 is likely 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.
It also looks like the HTC 11 may launch under a different name, but right now we don’t know what it will be. 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.
TechRadar’s take: Our best guess for the HTC 11’s launch is the first half of 2017, but with the HTC U Ultra about to fill a flagship-shaped hole a later launch is possible.
HTC 11 design
- A metal shell
- …Or a glass back
- An edge-to-edge screen
A Chinese source on Weibo has shared an image of what the HTC 11 may end up looking like.
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.
But since then HTC has announced the U Ultra – a flagship phone with a shiny glass back – so it’s possible that the HTC 11 will have a similar design, though HTC may equally want to differentiate the lines by giving them different designs.
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.
HTC 11 display
- A 5.5-inch QHD display
- A curved screen
- A secondary display
- An unusual resolution
Two separate rumors suggest the HTC 11 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.
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.
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 announced 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: Other than talk of an unusual resolutionnone of these specs sound unlikely, as HTC is going to want to do something to upgrade its screen and a size boost with curves should do the trick. 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
- Snapdragon 835 chipset
- 8GB of RAM
- 256GB of storage
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.
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 and HTC Sense 9.0 have been attached to the phone in a leak.
TechRadar’s take: A Snapdragon 835 chip is likely and256GB of storage is possible, considering the iPhone 7 now features that much room, but 8GB of RAM would be a huge upgrade given the HTC 10 and HTC U Ultra only have 4GB.
HTC 11 camera and battery
- A 12MP snapper
- No dual-lens
- 3,700mAh battery
A Weibo source states that the HTC 11 will have a 12MP rear camera – which is the same spec as the HTC 10, but we’d imagine it will be improved in some ways.
The phone will also apparently have an 8MP front-facing camera, and it doesn’t sound like we’ll be getting a dual-lens camera.
There aren’t many battery rumors, but one source claims a 3,700mAh battery will be powering the handset. That’s up from just 3000mAh in the HTC 10, so the HTC 11 could be a long-lasting phone.
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 3000mAh unit.
HTC 11 other features
- A futuristic ‘Sense Touch’ feature
- Vive branding
- No headphone port
A recent leaked video shows an HTC phone with Vive branding. Could this be the HTC 11? 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.
We’ve also seen a concept phone by one of HTC’s concept artists, known as the HTC Ocean, which was shown off with a ‘Sense Touch’ feature, which allowed users to control aspects of the phone by swiping or tapping the metal frame that ran along the edge.
This could be used for example to adjust the volume of your music or the brightness of your screen with a swipe, or to take a photo with a tap.
As the HTC Ocean was seemingly a concept phone it would be reasonable to think the feature is little more than fantasy, but more recently reliable leaker @evleaks tweeted that “Ocean is real and alive.” He’s since followed that up with a leaked video, showing the feature off.
Beyond that, we can look at previous HTC handsets to get an idea of likely features. For example, Hi-Res audio and BoomSound are both likely, for loud, crisp sound whether listening through headphones or the internal speakers.
But given that the HTC U Ultra doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone port there’s a good chance that the HTC 11 won’t either.
TechRadar’s take: Sense Touch sounds more like a concept than a real feature, so don’t count on seeing it. A move to Vive branding would seem a little unlikely too – and if it was going to happen we’d expect to have heard more about it by now, but it’s possible.
HTC 11 price
We don’t know exact pricing details for the HTC 11 yet, but expect it to be an expensive phone with a price tag that rivals the other flagship phones out there.
Our best guess is to go on the pricing of the HTC 10, which cost £570 or $699 (about AU$960) at launch.
1. An iconic design
The HTC One was a truly beautiful phone and with the One (M8) and One M9 HTC continued to improve on the design. But eventually it was left with nowhere to go, which is why the HTC 10 is something different.
It’s just as premium, with a full metal body and chamfered edges, but it’s a bit more divisive. It’s pretty but it’s chunky and arguably lacks the iconic appeal of its predecessors. So whether through polish or going back to the drawing board we really hope the HTC 11 is a thing of undisputed beauty.
2. A great point-and-shoot camera
The HTC 10 has a powerful camera with a lot of features, but when it comes to just snapping away the results just aren’t as consistently strong as on rival phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7.
We’d wager that most people don’t want to mess around with RAW format and pro mode, so it would be good if the HTC 11 doesn’t just have a powerful camera, but one that’s simple to use as well.
Where you can point, shoot and be confident that more often than not what you’ve captured will be in focus and look good.
3. Better low light performance
Speaking of the camera, while you can get good shots in some modes, the low light capabilities aren’t special, particularly when dealing with movement.
That’s both a shame and surprising, given that HTC handsets typically do a decent job of low light scenes. So for the HTC 11 we want to see a camera that’s good in low light and bright light and every other realistic situation.
4. Front-facing speakers
Audio has long been one of HTC’s strong points and for the most part the HTC 10 is no exception. It supports Hi-Res audio and still has BoomSound speakers.
But this time rather than being on the front of the phone they’re on the top and bottom edge and HTC has also split the high and low frequencies between the two speakers, leading audio to sound more separated. We want the unity that comes with dual front-facing speakers please.
5. More innovation
The biggest complaint we have about the HTC 10 is just that there’s not much to shout about. It’s a good phone, a great one even, but despite supposedly being a reinvention it feels too safe and too plain. However HTC isn’t the only manufacturer guilty of this in 2016.
So we want to see HTC take risks with the 11 and give us something new. The HTC 10 brought the company in line with rivals, but it should really be trying to shoot out ahead.
6. A waterproof build
Waterproofing is still far from a standard feature on smartphones, but it’s one we’re starting to see more of and that we’d like to see from HTC.
If Samsung and Sony can do it then HTC can too and it should, because a spilt glass of water or an unexpected rain shower shouldn’t be capable of destroying an object you’ve just spent hundreds on.
7. More consistent battery performance
HTC has improved the battery for the 10, which is much appreciated given the lacklustre life of the HTC One M9. But it’s still far from perfect.
Leave the phone alone and it will last a long time, but once you fire the screen up it starts guzzling down juice at an alarming rate.
As impressive as the standby times are a phone is for using, so we want the HTC 11 to comfortably last a day of heavy use at the absolute minimum.
8. A brighter screen
For the most part the screen on the HTC 10 is impressive. It’s sharp and has good contrast ratios, but it’s not the brightest display we’ve seen.
That’s particularly a problem when the world around you is bright, as it can make it hard to see what you’re doing or watching. It’s a small complaint, but we’d really like it if the HTC 11 could pump up the brightness a bit.
9. Give Boost+ a boost
Boost+ is a major new app for the HTC 10 and it’s pretty good. It can be used to delete clutter, tune the performance to improve battery life and lock apps. But as good as it is version two could be even better.
For one thing the app lock function doesn’t support fingerprints for some reason, so that’s something that could really do with being added in.
It could also do with more game features. It lets you lower the resolution, but we’d like to see an option to lock the home button like you can on the Samsung Galaxy S7, so it doesn’t accidentally get pressed.
The app should also be more proactive- alerting you to when and how you can best optimise your handset. It’s a good start, but we hope the HTC 11 version will be better.
10. Better BlinkFeed
BlinkFeed was once a standout feature of HTC’s handsets but it’s failed to evolve much and the direction it has headed in, with News Republic now handling both headlines and social networking, has made it rather cluttered and messy.
Other than that Sense is a sleek interface, so we’d like to see BlinkFeed fall in line. For now, you can always turn it off, but if HTC is going to offer a feature we want it to feel polished and useful.
- We have a wish list for the Samsung Galaxy S8 too
Check out our HTC 10 video review