HTC U11 Handset With Squeezable Sides Available From Sprint

The HTC U11 handset has innovative squeezable sides which allow users to launch apps, take photos and more without touching the screen.

HTC U11 Handset

HTC's latest U11 flagship smartphone, which features squeezable sides which let users operate multiple handset functions, is now available to U.S. customers of mobile carrier, Sprint.

The handset, which lists for $696, is now available in Sprint retail stores or can be purchased through Amazon.com or HTC.com, according to a June 9 announcement from HTC. It can also be purchased on a Sprint payment plan for $0 down and $29 a month for 24 months.

The HTC Edge Sense feature in the new phone reacts to squeezes by allowing users to choose and switch apps, take photos and more, giving users a new way to control their handsets.

To take a photo, users can hold the device, squeeze it, smile, and take a photograph, according to HTC. Sending texts uses a similar process, by lightly squeezing the edges of the phone, verbalizing a message and sending the text, all using the HTC Edge Sense for Voice to Text capability.

Users can also customize the squeeze gesture, allowing them to open emails or apps with a squeeze as well. Users can also use advanced touch settings that use short squeezes or long squeezes to pull up other functions at will. HTC claims the Edge Sense features work whether users operate them using bare or gloved hands.

The HTC U11 is a 4G LTE smartphone which features a 5.5-inch quad HD Super LCD curved display (2560 x 1440 resolution) that's covered with durable Corning Gorilla Glass 5, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot for additional storage up to 2TB.

The phone also includes a 12-megapixel rear-facing main HTC UltraPixel 3 camera with an f/1.7 aperture autofocus lens, Optical Image Stabilization, dual LED flash and 4K video recording with 3D audio, as well as a 16-megapixel front-facing camera with voice and automatic selfie capabilities and full HD 1080p video recording.

Sound features in the handset include HTC USonic earbuds with active noise cancellation, HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition speakers and 3D audio recording with four microphones.

The phone, which runs the Android 7.1 operating system, meets IP67 standards for dust and water resistance, helping them to withstands spills, splashes and dunks.

Rounding out the U11 phone is a 3,000mAh rechargeable battery, a quick charger and several other connectivity options, including Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz) and Near-Field Communications (NFC). The handset includes one USB 3.1 Type-C port. The handset is 6.06 inches long, 2.98 inches wide, 0.31 inches thick and weighs 5.96 ounces.

The HTC U11 in available in Sapphire Blue or Brilliant Black. Sprint is the exclusive carrier for the launch of the phones, but HTC did not respond to an inquiry from eWEEK asking if other carriers will be featured in the future. Unlocked versions in Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black or Amazing Silver are available from Amazon and HTC.

Out of the box, the U11 will work with the Google Assistant to respond to voice commands, with Amazon Alexa support expected in July 2017. The Alexa capabilities, when available, will allow users to ask simple questions such as "Alexa, what's the weather today?" or to say things like, "Alexa, turn on my living room lights" to get a response.