HTC has used the same multi-layering approach as with the U11, putting the color on the underlying layer so as to make it more scratch-resistant and give the phone's back a pleasing shimmer when it catches the light. The phone comes with a 6-inch QuadHD+ screen with 18:9 aspect ratio.
The screen is larger, for one (it was 5.5 inches before), and has a 2,880x1,440-pixel resolution. HTC says Oreo will make its way to the U11 lineup at the end of November, and the U11 Life might be the first of which to get the update. It also runs a Snapdragon 835 and sports a 12MP UltraPixel 3 (f/1.7) camera, 3930mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance, and Android 8.0 Oreo under HTC's Sense.
While we don't know the exact release date yet, we do know that pre-orders for the HTC U11 Life open today (November 2) in the United Kingdom, and that it will set you back £349 (around $465/AU$605) SIM free. Well, unless you live outside of the States - the phone will be launching under the Android One program internationally, which means it will bear a vanilla Android software experience.
The phone is available beginning immediately unlocked on HTC.com. Squeeze the lower half of the phone and, by default, the camera launches.
The non-Android One version has Amazon Alexa built in.
The photos aren't going to win any awards, but give the U11 life plenty of light and hold still, and you can get some decent pictures. When I spent some hands-on time with the U11 Plus, that fingerprint reader struck me as being essentially the same as that on Google's Pixel phones.
My favourite use-case for it, however, is taking pictures.
A key feature from the flagship U11 is Edge Sense - pressure sensors on the side of the phone as another way of interaction. However, you can set it to trigger Alexa, the HTC Sense Companion, or launch any other app on the phone. The same can't be said for Active Edge, the Google Pixel 2's Edge Sense rip-off, which - infuriatingly - only lets you launch Google Assistant.
The specs are mostly mid-level, but you will also find a pair of the USonic earbuds, that employ a customized audio setup with active noise cancellation, in the box for an wonderful audio experience.
We haven't had the chance to test it yet, but HTC has its work cut out if it wants to match the performance of the Pixel 2's outstanding camera. As far as the cameras are concerned, the HTC U11+ packs a 12-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 8-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
HTC has loaded the U11+ with an impressive-sounding 3,930mAh battery, which is claimed to offer up to 25 hours of talk time. It also has a massive 3,930mAh battery, which is more than the Pixel 2 XL has and even bigger than the source code suggests muskie would have had.
We won't know how good it is until we test it properly, but the signs are promising.