Two of the biggest and best phones launched in 2017 so far are the HTC U11 and LG G6, a pair of handsets packing impressive camera tech, premium specs and unique features. So how do they compare and is one easier to recommend than the other?
We're already seriously impressed by the new HTC U11, launched earlier this week. The U11 is a clear rival to other flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium, boasting what one optics expert dubbed the best smartphone camera of all time.
Of course, we've also been won over by the rather brilliant LG G6, LG's latest top-end mobile. The G6 is a media monster, packing a Dolby Vision HDR screen and impressing with its long battery life, to keep you entertained on the move.
So, which smartphone is worthy of your loyalty? Our LG G6 vs HTC U11 comparison will help you to decide which blower is best for you and your personal needs.
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Specs at a glance
|Phone||LG G6||HTC U11|
|Screen resolution||Quad HD+ (2880x1440)||WQHD (2560x1440)|
|OS||Android 7.0 w/ LG UX 6.0||Android 7.1.1 w/ HTC Sense|
|Rear camera||Dual 13-megapixel w/ OIS & wide-angle lens||12-megapixel PixelSense 3 w/ Phase Detection Autofocus, OIS & dual LED flash|
|Processor||2.35GHz/2.16GHz quad-core Snapdragon 821||2.45GHz/1.9GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Memory||4GB RAM||4GB RAM|
|Storage||32/64GB. Expandable via microSD||64GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB|
|Battery||3300mAh w/ Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||3000mAh w/ Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0|
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Design
If you're after a compact handset, probably best to start looking elsewhere. The HTC U11 is the most dinky mobile here, sporting a 5.5-inch display. It's quite comfortable to clutch however, even if one-handed use isn't particularly simple. That's thanks to the rounded design, which fits neatly in the palm.
While the U11 sports a funky glass frame that comes in a range of colours, including a rather dazzling red model, LG has gone all-metal for the G6. But although the G6 packs a bigger screen, it's actually more or less the same height and width as the U11. That's thanks to those incredibly narrow bezels surrounding the display. Of course, the G6 is definitely chunkier than HTC's flagship.
Want a phone to fiddle with in the bath? Well, the good news is that both of these blowers are water resistant.
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Screen and media
The LG G6 is one of the best smartphones around for enjoying your movies and shows on the go. That's because of the 5.7-inch screen, which isn't just comfortably spacious but also boasts support for Dolby Vision HDR playback.
At the time of writing there isn't much support for HDR video streaming on mobile, admittedly. But this is set to change in 2017, with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video queued up to offer this next-gen viewing tech. You can expect hyper-realistic visuals, complete with accurate contrast and lifelike detail levels. Plus, the 2:1 aspect ratio of the G6's panel means less letterboxing when watching films.
The HTC U11 is no slouch in the media department, of course. You might not get HDR support but the Quad HD 5.5-inch screen offers a similarly sharp resolution, for crisp, detailed image reproduction. BoomSound speakers pump out solid sound and you get HTC's USonic earphones bundled, complete with noise cancellation.
Bear in mind the U11 ditches the headphone jack in favour of Type-C USB connectivity. However, an adapter complete with a built-in amp is included, to support your current headphones.
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Features
Both of these flagship phones run Android Nougat, although you might think they sported completely different systems after a quick play. That's because both manufacturers have pasted their own overlays on top of the handsets, giving them a distinctive look and feel. Not to mention fresh, unique features.
For instance, the LG G6 offers up plenty of resource management tools for cleaning up your handset and keeping it running at peak performance. You also get some nifty apps for jotting down notes when on calls, automatically setting profiles based on your location and so on. Check out our in-depth LG G6 tips and tricks guide for more info.
HTC has perhaps gone a step further than LG with its own Sense UI. For a start, you get HTC's smart Companion AI, which can offer intelligent information and assistance when called into action. A definite step up from the comparatively basic Google Now, which the G6 relies on. You also get the funky new 'squeeze' input feature, where a quick grope of the U11's frame offers shortcuts to your favourite apps.
If you're after fast and secure unlocking to your desktops, either phone will suffice. The G6 and U11 both boast a fingerprint sensor which is nippy and pleasingly accurate.
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Performance and battery life
The HTC U11 packs Qualcomm's latest and super-shiny Snapdragon 835 processor, backed by 4GB of RAM. Meanwhile the LG G6 sports a slightly older chipset, namely the Snapdragon 821 from 2016. This is once again backed by 4GB of memory.
The Snapdragon 835 offers a number of benefits over the older 821. Of course, you can expect a boost in performance and general efficiency - although right now the G6 offers just as smooth an experience as the HTC U11. In time this might change, but for now they're evenly matched.
Battery life is always a hot topic, as many smartphones struggle to make it through a full day of quite heavy use. Thankfully LG's G6 can happily make it through a 24 hour cycle even if you hammer it for most of that time. Standard usage gives a day and a half of life between charges.
While the HTC U11 sports a slightly smaller battery (3000mAh versus 3300mAh), the handset seems to promise just as long life. We're yet to fully test the phone however, so we'll update when we have a full verdict.
Both of these phones use Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 tech to power up when drained, which means you won't be hanging around too long for a full charge. That said, we're surprised that the U11 doesn't use the newer Quick Charge 4.0 tech, supported by the Snapdragon 835.
HTC U11 vs LG G6: Cameras
HTC is already making waves with the U11's camera, which is better than any other mobile snapper out there - according to DxO Labs, that is. After playing with the camera, we have to say that we're certainly impressed by HTC's 12-megapixel UltrapIxel 3 shooter too.
For a start, you get the same Phase Detection Autofocus tech as the Galaxy S8, which locks onto your subject in no time at all. No dilly dallying, the U11 is ready to take a shot pretty much instantly. That wide-aperture f/1.7 lens offers impressive low light shots that are low on grain and pack a respectable amount of detail. Plus you can record up to 4K resolution video.
Of course, the LG G6 also packs a mobile camera that's ideal for capturing unique, great-looking shots wherever you roam. This dual lens snapper is more versatile than the U11's camera, offering a secondary wide-angle lens that's perfect for taking photos of vistas and busy scenes.
The standard lens also uses Phase Detection Autofocus, for fast and accurate shots on the fly. Plus the f/1.8 aperture deals well with dark conditions on the whole, even if it does occasionally struggle to focus. And like the U11, LG's flagship can capture up to 4K resolution footage.
Check out our LG G6 camera review for samples and all you need to know.
HTC U11 vs HTC 10: Verdict
If you’re still happy with your HTC 10, we see no strong reason for upgrading to the HTC U11 in 2017. Last year’s flagship is still more than enjoyable as a full-time handset, with reliable performance, solid camera results and decent battery life.
Of course, the U11 is rather enticing with its Sense Companion and Edge Sense features as well as that impressive new camera tech. If you have the money to spare and demand the very best, HTC’s new 2017 handset will almost certainly be your ideal portable pal. Stay tuned for our in-depth HTC U11 review.
You can grab the HTC U11 from O2 from June 1.