U11 Life

HTC announced its first smartphone running Google’s Android One operating system, the U11 Life, late last year. Today we’ve received word that the phone will be coming to Australia on March 14, exclusive to Vodafone.

Android One ensures the phone will always be up to date with the latest version of Android and the latest security patches, in line with Nexus/Pixel devices.

The software update commitment for Android One devices is huge — 3 years of updates, including two major Android versions. This is more than most manufacturers commit to for their own flagship models, and will ensure that the U11 Life sees not only Android Pavlova (c’mon people) but also whatever next years Android Q release brings. It’ll also be on the front line for those releases and always kept up to date with the latest security patches.

The U11 Life could be considered a little brother to last year’s excellent HTC U11.

It’s a smaller screen, clocking in at 5.2 inches with a Full HD (1080p) 16:9 display and features capacitive navigation buttons below the screen on the front. There’s a Snapdragon 630 processor running the show internally, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage built in.

The cameras are slightly different to the original U11 as well, with 16MP rear and front facing f/2.0 cameras.

You’ll also get HTC’s stunning Liquid Surface finish on the back of the phone, a gorgeous treatment that reflects light and mirrors many properties of water in doing so. HTC debuted the look last year and the industry has quickly aped it, with many phones at Mobile World Congress this year emulating the look.

While the phone comes in black and blue internationally, the Australian U11 Life will only be available in Brilliant Black – that’s okay though, because HTC’s black makes for a shiny, sexy finish. Like its big brother, the U11 Life makes for one great looking phone.

Like its big brother, there’s no 3.5mm audio output on the U11 Life. Never fear, though – HTC’s USB-C U Sonic earphones will be included in the box, along with a USB-C-to-3.5-mm adapter so you can still use your older headphones.

The local launch of Android One is a big deal, and we expect to see a fair amount of noise made about it by both HTC and Google. We’ll also see Android One devices from other manufacturers launch locally in the coming months.

Vodafone will offer the Australian version of the U11 Life on $30, $40, $50, $60, $80 and $100 Red Plans available over 12, 24 or 36 month terms. The phone can also be purchased outright for $599 from HTC Australia from March 21.

Source: Media Release.
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Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!
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$599 for a SD 630 device is pushing it regardless if it’s running Android One or not. The battery is also on the small side at 2600 mAh, but the efficient SD 630 should still give it above average battery life in theory.

A flagship Nokia 8 with an SD 835 is $599 at the moment and it’s been that price for a while now. That’s the phone to look at in this price range.


William Ferguson

Well that’s disappointing. $600 is not an entry level phone.

Philip Clark

Is Android One still an entry-level program or are they starting to roll it out on premium handsets? If I could get this on a Samsung or HTC handset I wouldn’t consider anything else.