HTC 11 release date, news and rumors

Update: HTC may decide to rename the HTC 11. An executive at the company has said in an interview the phone may launch under a different name – what it will be called is currently unclear though.

The HTC 10 was something of a reinvention for the brand, sporting a new design, new features and upgraded specs. But in some ways it's still not enough of a change, and still lacking.

That's not to say it isn't a great phone, but it's not quite the knockout hit it could have been, and there are a number of areas where there's room for improvement.

So we've put together everything we want to see from the new HTC, as well as all the news and rumors we've seen surrounding HTC's next big phone release.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? HTC's next flagship, successor to the HTC 10
  • When's it out? Probably early 2017, maybe MWC 2017
  • What will it cost? It will have a high-end price

HTC 11 release date

HTC normally launches its flagships early in the year and 2016 was no exception, though it skipped MWC.

For the HTC 11 we imagine we'll either see it at MWC 2017, which takes place from February 27 to March 2, or a little later in the year, but probably no later than April, as that will be one year after the launch of the HTC 10.

There's an outside chance we'll see it sooner though, as HTC is holding an event on January 12 where it's expected to announce new handsets, at least one of which looks high-end. This probably isn't the HTC 11, but you never know.

It also looks like the HTC 11 may launch under a different name, but right now we don't know what it will be. HTC’s President of Smartphone and Connected Devices Business, Chialin Chang, confirmed it would be a different name but wouldn't share what it'll actually be called.

HTC 11 design

Hottest leaks:

  • A metal shell
  • …Or a glass back
  • An edge-to-edge screen

A Chinese source on Weibo has shared an image of what the HTC 11 may end up looking like. 

The social media account hasn't been clear on the exact source of the leaked design, but it looks like an interesting concept taking elements from the HTC Bolt/10 Evo.

As you can see, the back appears to be metal, the edges slope off sharply and the front has an edge-to-edge screen. It's a striking look.

But another recent HTC leak shows a phone with what appears to be a glass back. This, admittedly, is for a likely different handset, believed to be called the HTC U Ultra, but it's a seemingly high-end phone and it's entirely possible that the HTC 11 will have a similar design.

TechRadar's take: HTC's stuck with metal on its flagships so far and to generally impressive effect, so we'd guess metal will be back again for the HTC 11.

HTC 11 display

Hottest leaks:

  • A 5.5-inch QHD display
  • A curved screen
  • A secondary display

Two separate rumors suggest the HTC 11 will feature a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 display – an upgrade on the 5.2-inch HTC 10 screen – so this is likely going to be a slightly bigger phone.

One Weibo leaker even suggested the phone will come with a curved display. If that sounds familiar it's because the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has exactly the same setup.

There's also an outside chance that the HTC 11 will have a tiny secondary display above the main one, like we've seen on the LG V20. That idea is based on leaks of an upcoming handset which show exactly that.

The handset, pictured above, is thought to be the HTC U Ultra rather than the HTC 11, but we'd expect new features in HTC's next flagship, so a second screen could be a prime candidate. That second screen is likely to be always-on, show notifications and provide shortcuts to favorite apps.

TechRadar's take: None of these specs sound unlikely, as HTC is going to want to do something to upgrade its screen and a size boost with curves should do the trick. Don't count on a second screen as that hasn't specifically been attached to the HTC 11, but we wouldn't count it out either.

HTC 11 OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • Snapdragon 835 chipset
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB of storage

One Chinese source has revealed some details for the HTC 11. The leak suggests the phone will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset under the hood as well as 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

As for the operating system, we'd expect the HTC 11 to come with the latest version of Android Nougat and HTC's own overlay on top.

TechRadar's take: A Snapdragon 835 chip is likely and 256GB of storage is possible, considering the iPhone 7 now features that much room, but 8GB of RAM would be a huge upgrade given the HTC 10 only has 4GB.

HTC 11 camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A 12MP snapper
  • No dual-lens
  • 3,700mAh battery

A Weibo source states that the HTC 11 will have a 12MP rear camera – which is the same spec as the HTC 10, but we'd imagine it will be improved in some ways.

The phone will also apparently have an 8MP front-facing camera, and it doesn't sound like we'll be getting a dual-lens camera.

There aren't many battery rumors, but one source claims a 3,700mAh battery will be powering the handset. That's up from just 3000mAh in the HTC 10, so the HTC 11 could be a long-lasting phone.

TechRadar's take: HTC often does its own thing with cameras, so it's no surprise that it's apparently not jumping on the dual-lens bandwagon.

HTC 11 other rumors

Hottest leaks:

  • A futuristic 'Sense Touch' feature
  • Vive branding
  • No headphone port

A recent leaked video shows an HTC phone with Vive branding. Could this be the HTC 11? We're skeptical, but it's possible that HTC is re-branding the phone, and maybe even making a major mobile VR push, much like Samsung has been doing with Gear VR.

We've also see a concept phone by one of HTC's concept artists, known as the HTC Ocean, which was shown off with a 'Sense Touch' feature, which allowed users to control aspects of the phone by swiping or tapping the metal frame that ran along the edge.

This could be used for example to adjust the volume of your music or the brightness of your screen with a swipe, or to take a photo with a tap.

As the HTC Ocean was seemingly a concept phone it would be reasonable to think the feature is little more than fantasy, but more recently reliable leaker @evleaks tweeted that "Ocean is real and alive." He's since followed that up with a leaked video, showing the feature off.

It's worth noting that a phone known as the HTC Ocean Note is expected to launch imminently under the name HTC U Ultra – that's not the HTC 11, but could be the Ocean phone that's being talked about.

But even if the Ocean isn't the HTC 11, there's a chance that 'Sense Touch' could make its way to HTC's next flagship.

We've also seen leaks of another upcoming HTC handset and it's missing a headphone port. While probably not the HTC 11, this looks to be a high-end, mainstream phone, so HTC may well also cut the headphone port from the HTC 11.

TechRadar's take: Sense Touch sounds more like a concept than a real feature, so don't count on seeing it. A move to Vive branding would seem a little unlikely too – and if it was going to happen we'd expect to have heard more about it by now, but it's possible.

HTC 11 price

We don't know exact pricing details for the HTC 11 yet, but expect it to be an expensive phone with a price tag that rivals the other flagship phones out there.

The best way to judge is taking a look at the pricing for the HTC 10, which cost £570 or $699 (about AU$960) at launch. Expect the HTC 11 to have a similar price.

1. An iconic design

HTC 10

The HTC One was a truly beautiful phone and with the One (M8) and One M9 HTC continued to improve on the design. But eventually it was left with nowhere to go, which is why the HTC 10 is something different.

It’s just as premium, with a full metal body and chamfered edges, but it’s a bit more divisive. It’s pretty but it’s chunky and arguably lacks the iconic appeal of its predecessors. So whether through polish or going back to the drawing board we really hope the HTC 11 is a thing of undisputed beauty.

2. A great point-and-shoot camera

The HTC 10 has a powerful camera with a lot of features, but when it comes to just snapping away the results just aren’t as consistently strong as on rival phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7.

We’d wager that most people don’t want to mess around with RAW format and pro mode, so it would be good if the HTC 11 doesn’t just have a powerful camera, but one that’s simple to use as well.

Where you can point, shoot and be confident that more often than not what you’ve captured will be in focus and look good.

3. Better low light performance

HTC 10

Speaking of the camera, while you can get good shots in some modes, the low light capabilities aren’t special, particularly when dealing with movement.

That’s both a shame and surprising, given that HTC handsets typically do a decent job of low light scenes. So for the HTC 11 we want to see a camera that’s good in low light and bright light and every other realistic situation.

4. Front-facing speakers

Audio has long been one of HTC’s strong points and for the most part the HTC 10 is no exception. It supports Hi-Res audio and still has BoomSound speakers.

But this time rather than being on the front of the phone they’re on the top and bottom edge and HTC has also split the high and low frequencies between the two speakers, leading audio to sound more separated. We want the unity that comes with dual front-facing speakers please.

5. More innovation

HTC 10

The biggest complaint we have about the HTC 10 is just that there’s not much to shout about. It’s a good phone, a great one even, but despite supposedly being a reinvention it feels too safe and too plain. However HTC isn’t the only manufacturer guilty of this in 2016.

So we want to see HTC take risks with the 11 and give us something new. The HTC 10 brought the company in line with rivals, but it should really be trying to shoot out ahead.

6. A waterproof build

Waterproofing is still far from a standard feature on smartphones, but it’s one we’re starting to see more of and that we’d like to see from HTC.

If Samsung and Sony can do it then HTC can too and it should, because a spilt glass of water or an unexpected rain shower shouldn’t be capable of destroying an object you’ve just spent hundreds on.

7. More consistent battery performance

HTC has improved the battery for the 10, which is much appreciated given the lacklustre life of the HTC One M9. But it’s still far from perfect.

Leave the phone alone and it will last a long time, but once you fire the screen up it starts guzzling down juice at an alarming rate.

As impressive as the standby times are a phone is for using, so we want the HTC 11 to comfortably last a day of heavy use at the absolute minimum.

HTC 10

8. A brighter screen

For the most part the screen on the HTC 10 is impressive. It’s sharp and has good contrast ratios, but it’s not the brightest display we’ve seen.

That’s particularly a problem when the world around you is bright, as it can make it hard to see what you’re doing or watching. It’s a small complaint, but we’d really like it if the HTC 11 could pump up the brightness a bit.

9. Give Boost+ a boost

Boost+ is a major new app for the HTC 10 and it’s pretty good. It can be used to delete clutter, tune the performance to improve battery life and lock apps. But as good as it is version two could be even better.

For one thing the app lock function doesn’t support fingerprints for some reason, so that’s something that could really do with being added in.

It could also do with more game features. It lets you lower the resolution, but we’d like to see an option to lock the home button like you can on the Samsung Galaxy S7, so it doesn’t accidentally get pressed.

The app should also be more proactive- alerting you to when and how you can best optimise your handset. It’s a good start, but we hope the HTC 11 version will be better.

10. Better BlinkFeed

BlinkFeed was once a standout feature of HTC’s handsets but it’s failed to evolve much and the direction it has headed in, with News Republic now handling both headlines and social networking, has made it rather cluttered and messy.

Other than that Sense is a sleek interface, so we’d like to see BlinkFeed fall in line. For now, you can always turn it off, but if HTC is going to offer a feature we want it to feel polished and useful.

Check out our HTC 10 video review

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