The HTC U11 is out and there are contrasting opinions online. While some have praised the presence of some attractive hardware features, some users have called out the so called gimmicky features like Edge Sense. However, HTC has taken a bold step with regards to the design of the handset. The company hasn’t been bothered by the trend of bezel-less smartphones and has gone ahead with something that looks like a phone from 2013. This is a highly subjective issue, and something that most users wouldn’t even notice, however, the lack of an inspiring design is a big negative in my book.
This is mainly because we’ve come to expect a lot from a company like HTC. Although it has seen a series of employee departures ranging from top level executives to design chiefs over the past few years, HTC has always been known for its design. So what led to the company coming up with such an unflattering piece of hardware. Sure, the phone has an all-glass back, which enhances the look significantly, but the phone clearly doesn't have the appeal that the One M7 or even the One M8 had back in the day.
So why did HTC go with a pretty regular design here? Well, one reason we can think of is the fact that the company doesn’t have the design creativity and the brains that it used to have previously. This is not to say that the current design team is incompetent, though. It’s just that the core HTC design team has been shifted around so many times that the company is struggling to find its true identity.
This is precisely why we’re not seeing a bezel-less design. Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of bezel-less design myself. Short of looking appealing in photos, there’s barely anything it brings to the table. To top it off, customers have to deal with accidental touches on the display, which is never nice when you’re holding the phone.
HTC could have done so much with the design of the U11. Take the HTC 10, for example. Although it’s not the best looking phone out there, it had the signature HTC design on board. Why did that disappear with the U11? Why did HTC have to fix something that’s not broken?
It’s pretty clear that the company is putting all its eggs in the software department with a rather silly feature like the Edge Sense. This basically allows you to press the device from all sides to open apps of your choice. We’re afraid this will remain one of those tricks you show your friends at parties and other gatherings. Barring that, there’s really nothing that it offers. We also have to consider the fact that it might register accidental presses when the phone is in your pocket or just during regular usage.
Bezel-less or not, there are so many areas where the company could have enhanced the appeal of the U11. However, that’s in the past now. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learnt here for the Taiwanese manufacturer.