HTC U11 is now hitting the shelves with its impressive design and specifications. At this time in the smartphone race where almost every model is similar to another, manufacturers have to brandish a unique selling feature in order to stand out. HTC takes the off the beaten track by removing the headphone jack.

HTC U11 has a 5.5-inch LCD display with Quad HD resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), a relatively huge leap from the predecessor, HTC 10, offering a brighter, sharper and more saturated display performance. The manufacturer sticks to the usual 16:9 aspect ratio with no issues so far.

HTC has taken the off the beaten track by using the metal and glass design in the phone's physical build. Although this is an innovation Samsung pioneered, HTC has pulled off a seamless metal-glass masterpiece that initial reviews considered "wonderfully constructed and premium to a tee".

However, tech pundits point out that this design is prone to getting fingerprint marks and grease. On top of that, the glass component may not be as sturdy as the metal.

On a positive note, the Taiwanese tech giant has managed to implement a premium water-resistant smartphone. This, however, is not a surprise as HTC U11 acquired a similar IP67 water resistance rating as the iPhone 7.

With the phone maker ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack, it remains a debate whether or not HTC made a favourable decision. It is not only removing the ability of users to listen to music on a headset, it also removes the ability to send and receive calls through it.

HTC U11 also runs on a Snapdragon 835 processor, 12-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel front camera, 3,000mAh battery, USB Type-C, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Unlocked variants that work for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are now available for US$649, while locked variant for Sprint is available for US$696.

Meanwhile, other rivals in the market are giving HTC a huge competition. Samsung offers a taller Galaxy S8 that delivers more pixels in a smaller space. Essential showcases PH-1 with an edge-to-edge display, which is close to being bezel-less; not to mention it has an attachable 360-degree camera accessory. Nubia Z17 rocks Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4+, a technology enabling the phone to charge up to 50 percent in just 20 minutes.