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Samsung Galaxy S8 vs HTC U11

Samsung Galaxy S8 vs HTC U11
  • $649
The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the best phone of the year so far but HTC is hoping to challenge that with the new U11 flagship. We've had our hands-on the U11 for a short time so here's a preview of how they compare including price, design and specs.

The Galaxy S8 is now available and it's available SIM-free for £689 .

You'll save a bit of cash by opting for the HTC U11 but not much as it's £649 like the LG G6. The new HTC flagship is due in the first week of June. 

With the prices very similar, read on to find out which is the best 2017 flagship phone for you.
While the Galaxy S8 takes the design of the S7 and moves it on, the HTC U11 is very similar to the existing HTC U Ultra.

One of the big trends for 2017 phones is a bezel-free design and Samsung has removed its traditional home button to achieve this. With only a tiny sliver at the top and bottom, plus an edge-to-edge display the Galaxy S8 looks stunning.

Not only does the S8 look great, it also feels nice in the hand albeit somewhat slippery. Our main complaint with the design is the awkward location of the fingerprint scanner which sits alongside the camera. 

The craftsmanship of the S8 is impressive enough, but ever more so when you compare it to the HTC U11.

Samsung has fit a whopping 5.8in screen into a phone that's smaller in almost every dimension and lighter than the U11. In comparison HTC has only managed a 5.5in display but the phone more unwieldy - check the exact numbers in the table below.

It's a shame because the HTC U11 is an attractive phone, but doesn't have the same broad appeal in comparison.

It also has a glass back with a nice shape to it but it's ever more slippery and the colour options are far more out there. We do like the new Solar Red option which transforms from red all the way to gold but the pearlescent style won't be for everyone.

What's good is that HTC has finally added waterproofing (IP67) but like the U Ultra there's no headphone jack here. The firm does include an adapter in the box but we'd rather just keep the port, especially when the phone is thick enough to include it.

Its key selling point is the way you can squeeze it to do different things. We'll talk about this more in the next section.

We haven't had a HTC U11 review sample at the time of writing but we can tell you, after some hands-on time, that the Galaxy S8 has the superior design in a number of ways.

With smartphone hardware plateauing a while ago, design is often the area where there's more difference. That's largely the case here as a lot of the specs on offer are the same or similar so we're going to focus on the ones that are different.

As alluded to already, the displays are different and we love the 5.8in Quad HD+ display on the Galaxy S8. It's top-notch and has rounded corners, plus the curved edges. It's a joy to use but it's worth noting that not all apps make use of the tall screen. Videos and some apps can be formatted but you'll often get black bars at either end.

The HTC U11 is somewhat more standard with a comparatively boring traditional shaped screen. It's 5.5in and Quad HD so no massive difference in terms of specs. The LCD tech doesn't look as punchy as Samsung's AMOLED but some users might prefer this.

The one thing you might buy the HTC U11 for over the S8 is Edge Sense. Pressure sensitive sensors sit in the bottom half of the sides so you can squeeze to do things like take photos or launch an app.

You can adjust the amount of force needed and do short or long squeezes, but without living with it for a good chunk of time we're not sure whether it's clever innovation or simply a gimmick.

Flagship smartphones all offer high-level performance but we wanted to make you aware that in the UK, the HTC U11 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 while the Galaxy S8 has Samsung's own Exynos 8895.

The other major difference is the cameras as at the front HTC offers double the amount of megapixels. At the back they are both 12Mp but have different approaches with HTC going for UltraPixel again. 
SpecificationGalaxy S8HTC U11
Operating systemAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.1 Nougat
Display5.8in QuadHD+ (2960x1440, 570ppi) SuperAMOLED, Infinity Edge5.5in Quad-HD (2560x1440, 534ppi) LCD
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8895Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
GPUAdreno 540/Mali-G71 MP20Adreno 540
Storage64GB, microSD support64GB, microSD support
Cameras12Mp, f/1.7 rear; 8Mp selfie with autofocus12Mp UltraPixel 3 rear, 16Mp selfie
SecurityFingerprint scanner, iris scannerFingerprint scanner
Connectivity11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC, USB-C11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, USB-C
Battery3,000mAh, fast wired- and wireless charging, Quick Charge 2.03,000mAh, Quick Charge 3.0
Dimensions149 x 68 x 8mm154 x 76 x 7.9mm
HTC U11: Specs
  • Android Nougat 7.1
  • 5.5 Quad HD LCD 5 display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64GB storage with micro SD up to 256GB
  • 12Mp main camera, f/1.7 with OIS
  • 16Mp front facing camera, f/2.0
  • Edge Sense
  • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 4G LTE Cat16
  • Nano-SIM
  • GPS
  • NFC
  • USB-C 3.1
  • 3000mAh non-removable battery
  • Quick Charge 3.0
  • 154 x 76 x 7.9mm
  • 169g
  • IP67


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