HTC U11 Life review

Because in life we can’t all spend $500/£500+ on a phone

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The HTC U11 Life is a great phone in many respects. Screen, software, and day-to-day performance are all grumble-free, and while the squeezable sides may not be a revelation they are almost radically customizable. And therefore about as useful as is currently imaginable.

Battery life is just okay, and, like quite a lot of mid-range phones, the camera is not great at night. However, the HTC U11 Life is enjoyable to use and represents good, if not truly disruptive, value.

As the price of top-end phones spirals around, and above, $1000/£1000, our appreciation for phones at prices normal people can stomach only grows.

Who's this for?

The HTC U11 Life is for those who want a phone with a touch of design glamour without the cost of a top-end model.

It’s also a good choice for people tired of custom Android interfaces, because (outside the US) Android One provides Google’s software as its engineers intended, with HTC’s extras laid on top like a pretty belt, braces and bangles that can be removed if you like.

Should you buy it?

The HTC U11 Life’s biggest problem, if you don’t mind the missing headphone jack, is competition. There are a lot of great alternatives, many of which have metal or glass frames for a more expensive feel. The Moto X4, Moto G5S Plus, Honor 9 are the obvious alternatives.

Does it matter? That’s up to you. The Moto X4 and Honor 9 also have more consistent, more versatile cameras, although neither has quite the HDR chops of the HTC U11 Life.

With better build and battery life, we’re leaning slightly towards the Moto and Honor options. However, as all three are good value phones most will enjoy, you’ll have to decide whether the intrigue of the HTC U11 Life’s squeezy sides is enough to tilt you the other way.

First reviewed: November 2017

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.