- Analysis by KJ David
Although clearly a watered-down version of the HTC U11 when it comes to hardware specs, the U11 Life is still a flagship-class smartphone in its own right, with high-caliber cameras and several relatively-fresh perks headlining its list of pros and cons.
This Life edition jumps from its mother model's 12-megapixel rear camera to one with 16 megapixels , while bringing back the other phone's high-class imaging pros, including the Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) maximum video-recording resolution and HDR Boost. Additionally, it sports an equally-impressive 16-megapixel selfie camera up front, equipped with Voice Selfie and Life Make-up, among other features. These cams are bundled with HTC's own spin on phone-squeezing (They call it Edge Sense ), essentially letting you launch the camera app and capture photos by literally squeezing on the device. Edge Sense can also be used to fire up the HTC Alexa virtual assistant or a pre-selected favorite app.
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In order to make room for the aforementioned upgrade in its rear camera, the HTC U11 Life took a hit CPU-wise, replacing the original's 2.45GHz Snapdragon 835 engine with a Snapdragon 630 chip that peaks at only 2.2GHz, according to Qualcomm . It also drops from a premium 6GB RAM to only 4GB, although 4GB RAMs still safely passed the high-end threshold as of this review. Also, it comes with 64GB of maximum internal memory that can be upgraded by a whopping 2TB .
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The Life is fitted with a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) Super LCD facade -- smaller and less-auspicious than the U11's 5.5-inch QHD-1440p interface, though it at least comes with Corning Gorilla Glass protection . Display is not its biggest con, however, since that title belongs to its mere 2600mAh battery cell , which scores an awkwardly-low 8-day standby time (9 days on 4G) . That being said, it does feature an extreme power-saving mode , probably to make up for its lackluster raw power capacity.
Joining the U11 Life's pros and cons are LTE Cat 9 connectivity of up to 450Mbps as well as IP67-grade waterproofing , while the Android 7.1 Nougat OS skinned with HTC Sense ties everything together.
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In the end, HTC's U11 Life may have suffered several downgrades over the original U11, but it's far from a lifeless device, especially with a pair of high-tier cameras and Edge Sense leading the way.
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