The HTC U11 is one of the most unique looking
phones so far here in 2017. HTC has been pushing the boundaries a little
bit with this phone, with new features like IP67 water resistance, dual stereo speakers
and something new called Edge Sense where you can interact with your phones simply by
squeezing it. Ill try that feature out here in a second. Im here to test the durability of this
Brilliant Black version of the U11.
I tested the previous HTC U Ultra a few months
ago, and while it passed my test and is technically still alive, its not going to win any durability
awards. The special sapphire edition though was pretty
impressive. It uses real sapphire crystals in the display
making it essentially scratch proof. HTC has done some pretty cool stuff lately.
Lets see what happens to this U11. [Intro] When setting up the Brilliant Black HTC U11
next to my Midnight Black Galaxy S8, both of them look pretty fantastic. You can clearly see the coin reflecting in
each of the back panels. The psychedelic colors achieved with HTCs
optical spectrum hybrid deposition will leave no one questioning what phone you are holding.
It is incredibly unique and eye catching. So lets start with the scratch test. My Mohs picks allow us to see what the screen
is made out of. HTC is advertising Gorilla Glass 5 so we shouldnt
see any marks below a level 6 pick.
HTC has proven that its capable of producing
sapphire screens like on the HTC U Ultra that I showed earlier. Sapphire wouldnt scratch until a level
8. And even though sapphire isnt being used
here on the U11, hopefully we get to see more of the sapphire in the future. As expected, the U11 scored a respectable
level 6 on the scratch test, right up there with the iPhone 7 and the Galaxy S8.
Keys and coins will have no effect on the
glass, but pocket sand and other common minerals will still scratch it, so a screen protector
is never a bad idea. The fingerprint touch pad has the same glossy
feel as the screen does; it is definitely scratch-able. It is slightly recessed below the glass, so
this level of scratching would never happen during normal use, but its still good to
know that even with excessive damage, the fingerprint scanner can still sense and read
my finger every single time. The earpiece is also recessed way below the
It has the same fabric material that HTC has
used in the past, and while it wont fall out on its own, be careful not to damage it
if you ever have to clean it out, unless you want one of these strands tickling the inside
of your ear for the next ever. Normally I prefer having a metal grill for
the earpiece. The front camera is hidden below the Gorilla
Glass 5 so it is very well protected against scratching. The last time HTC used a plastic camera lens
was on the HTC 9 that I tested a few years ago.
There is no plastic on the rear camera lens
so thats always good. The flash is still plastic. Samsung managed to tuck their glass onto the
glass panel, which I think looks and feels a little bit better. But a plastic flash is not a big issue.
There is a metal lip around the camera lens
so hopefully that will keep it scratch free far into the future. And now the sidespure metal. The volume button is also metal. And the easy-to-find-in-your-pocket textured
power button is also metal.
Up here by the SIM tray and the SD card tray
is metal. But there is no headphone jack which is disappointing. One good thing though is that the Bixby button
doesnt exist here either. Down at the bottom we have one of the two
loud speakers and the USB-C charging port.
One feature along the sides that is completely
unique to this phone and no other device is the ability to squeeze the phone and have
something happen. Were going to find out if it still works
after all my scratching. Apparently the squeeze feature can be set
to work with any function or app so Im going to try this with the Audible app. I kind of wish Samsungs dedicated Bixby
button was programmable like this one.
It would make it more useful. With just a few clicks I had the Edge Sense
linked up to my Audible app and now any time that I squeeze the phone, like a magic wand,
Audible will pop up. While were on the subject of magic, Audible
has every single Harry Potter book in its library and I can get you a free book and
a free month of Audible if you head to my link in the description: audible.Com slash
jerryrig, all lowercase, and sign up for the free trial. Its way easy if you already have an Amazon
account, which most people do.
You get to keep the free book even if you
dont continue the subscription, so its a win-win either way. Audible works with any phone: Android, iPhone,
iPad, and even works for all three of you Windows Phone users out there. If Harry Potter isnt your thing, Audible
literally has an unmatched selection of audio books to choose from. Audible also has something called Whisper
sync which can have the book read itself to you on your phone or computer and you wont
lose your spot when you switch between devices.
It doesnt get much more magical than that. I grew up with the Harry Potter series as
it was being released, so it will always be one of my favorites and Im glad I get to
offer you a free copy. The burn test lasted only 8 seconds before
the pixels went black and turned off. The 5.5 Inch LCD display did completely recover
And now the bend test. The U11 almost has the same basic build and
design as the U Ultra with one fatal difference. When applying pressure from the back, the
flexible and squeezable metal frame allows the device to bend more than it should and
that becomes a real problem when it flexes from the front. And its dead.
This means that the HTC U11 will join its
friends on my shelf of shame. The back glass appears to be totally fine. The back glass is resting on top of the frame
so its adding no structural support and was not under any stress during the flex. The front glass, however, is shattered along
with the LCD right below it.
And since my channel is all about cell phone
durability and reparability, lets analyze and figure out why this phone didnt survive. Personally, I enjoy it way more when phones
survive my test so Im glad that most phones do. When the U Ultra visited my channel a few
months ago, it survived the bend test. This is because the U Ultra uses a flat glass
panel on the screen inside of a plastic frame.
The U11 implemented a new 3D curved glass
screen that is more rigid, and also left off the plastic buffer between the glass and the
metal, so when pressure is applied to the phone, there is nowhere for the stress to
go and the glass shatters. This would not be a problem if the U11 had
a more rigid frame. Samsung had a rigid frame and curved glass
and that phone survived just fine. But the combination of curved glass and a
flexible frame is a disaster in an accident or a drop which does happen to everyone.
The glass and the LCD of the U11 will fail
before the frame does, rendering the phone inoperable as you see here. Curved glass is much less flexible than flat
glass. A rigid case would solve this issue, but since
the phone is designed to be squeezed, you would lose the squeeze function. If you keep this phone in your front pocket
youll probably be fine; just dont sit down with it in your back pocket or you might
have glass stuck in unimaginable places.
If you really want a durable HTC phone, go
with last years HTC 10. That was my overall top pick for the most
durable phone of 2016. I really do think its awesome that HTC
is pushing the limits of design and creativity with the U11. But on a structural and durability level,
Im giving this one a fail.
The flexi frame and the no headphone jack
is a step backwards in my opinion, but let me know what you think in the comments. Would you take a beautiful design over durability
and some loss of functionality? Its a tough decision. I will be performing a tear down on this thing. I want to see what kind of pressure sensors
I can find inside the frame, and since the back panel is still intact, Ill also try
to make it transparent.
The phone may be dead, but the autopsy should
be interesting. Dont forget to grab your free book from
Audible; Ill have the link down in the description. And thanks for watching. Ill see you around..