HTC U11 Life Hands-on Review: Software, Performance

By 01:44 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Software

The HTC U11 Life will run different software depending on whether you are in North America or not. The US is getting the Sense-customized version (Android 7.1 Nougat at launch) while everyone else is getting an Android One phone (with 8.0 Oreo).

Apparently, it was a matter of timing of the certification and Oreo should be fairly quick to reach American units. You can expect it within a month after the launch, so discontinue of November or thereabouts.

As its bigger sibling, the U11 Life comes with three digital assistants - Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and HTC Sense Companion. This time however, Alexa cannot be summoned with a voice prompt, you'll need to utilize Edge Sense to wake her up. The Google Assistant does support wake word detection.




HTC Sense Companion • Configuring Edge Sense

By the way, we mentioned that HTC Connect supports Apple AirPlay. However, that's a Sense feature so it will not work on the Android One version (i.e. the global one). The Sense Companion will be omitted as well.

Performance

The HTC U11 Life is powered by the Snapdragon 630 chipset - a followup to the popular 625 chip with higher Central Processing Units (CPU) clock speeds and a better GPU. Those are Cortex-A53 and Adreno 508 respectively. The chip is built on a 14nm process again, keeping power utilize and heat down.

The chipset is paired with 3GB of RAM, same as the Motorola Moto X4. The Moto uses the same chipset too. The Xiaomi Mi A1, another Android One device, uses the older 625 instead but comes with 4GB of RAM.

Note that we tested the US version of the U11 Life meaning it ran Android 7.1 Nougat. The worldwide version of the phone will launch with 8.0 Oreo instead.

Anyway, the Central Processing Units (CPU) benchmarks show performance on par with the Snapdragon 625 devices and the Exynos 7880-powered Galaxy A5 (2017). The phone easily edges out the Nokia 6 and its lowly S430.

However, it struggles against Snapdragon 660 of the Oppo R11 - another 14nm chip from Qualcomm's mid-range but with Kryo cores bringing the power. The year-recent HTC 10 is also well out of reach.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Honor 9

    6457

  • HTC U11

    6393

  • Oppo R11

    5777

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    4292

  • Moto G5 Plus

    4255

  • HTC U11 Life

    4178

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    2841

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    1919

  • Honor 9

    1876

  • Oppo R11

    1596

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    877

  • HTC U11 Life

    865

  • Moto G5 Plus

    847

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    665

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    177343

  • HTC 10

    154031

  • Honor 9

    143583

  • Oppo R11

    118677

  • HTC U11 Life

    72845

  • Moto G5 Plus

    63390

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    61762

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    61020

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    47495

Baseimprint Operating System (OS) 2.0

Higher is better

  • Honor 9

    3072

  • HTC U11

    2970

  • Oppo R11

    2386

  • HTC 10

    1839

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    1417

  • HTC U11 Life

    1400

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    1262

  • Moto G5 Plus

    1089

The recent GPU of HTC U11 Life's chipset shows an improvement in graphics performance compared to the Android One-running Mi A1 and doubles the results of the Nokia 6.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    41

  • Honor 9

    33

  • HTC 10

    31

  • Oppo R11

    15

  • HTC U11 Life

    9.8

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    9.1

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    6.4

  • Moto G5 Plus

    6.4

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    4.6

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Honor 9

    33

  • HTC U11

    19

  • HTC 10

    15

  • Oppo R11

    15

  • HTC U11 Life

    9.5

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    9

  • Moto G5 Plus

    6.4

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    6.3

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    4.5

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    24

  • HTC 10

    18

  • Honor 9

    15

  • Oppo R11

    8.6

  • HTC U11 Life

    5.3

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    5.2

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    3.5

  • Moto G5 Plus

    3.5

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    2.5

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Honor 9

    14

  • HTC U11

    13

  • HTC 10

    9.9

  • Oppo R11

    8.6

  • HTC U11 Life

    5.3

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    5.2

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    3.5

  • Moto G5 Plus

    3.5

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    2.5

Baseimprint X

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    38399

  • Honor 9

    29398

  • HTC 10

    28882

  • Oppo R11

    20350

  • HTC U11 Life

    14367

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    10472

  • Moto G5 Plus

    10406

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    7516

Baseimprint ES 3.1 / Metal

Higher is better

  • HTC U11

    836

  • Honor 9

    699

  • Oppo R11

    345

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

    259

  • HTC U11 Life

    186

  • Moto G5 Plus

    137

  • Xiaomi Mi A1

    136

  • Nokia 6 (Global version)

    100

As far as Android One and other pure-Android phones go, the HTC U11 Life offers solid performance. Snapdragon 660 would have allowed it to win this category with ease, but as the Nokia 6 shows raw performance isn't everything in this price class.


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