Just when we feared they might be on the way out, they are right back in the big fight. Okay, that may be a bit of an overreaction, but make no mistake - HTC has a serious contender in the U11+.
The HTC U11+ is everything a 2017 flagship phone should be - it has an 18:9 screen with close to no bezels, a Snapdragon 835 with 6GB of RAM, a Pixel 2/Galaxy Note8-like 12MP camera, water-proofing and a standout design.
It also has a standout price and that may prove key to its success. The HTC U11+ will soon start shipping for £699 and while that may sound like a lot, it's much more reasonable compared to the likes of the £799 Google Pixel 2 XL, the £869 Samsung Galaxy Note8 or the £999 iPhone X.
The U11+ has Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can squeeze the phone to launch either of them. Or any other app, for that matter, unlike on the Google Pixel 2/2 XL.
In this editor's opinion the HTC U11+ is one of the most promising phones of this holiday season and here's why.
For starters, the aforementioned price gets you a 128GB phone with expandable storage. You're also getting Android 8.0 Oreo, which is still out of reach for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 or Galaxy S8+.
The ample 3,930mAh battery should offer superb endurance but we'll wait for our detailed review to confirm its actual endurance.
The speakers are top notch. I would say they handily beat the Google Pixel 2 XL, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and every single-speaker Galaxy we have in the office for loudness and clarity.
Then there's the camera. On paper the 12MP UltraPixel 3 camera sounds like the best you can get on a phone - f/1.7 aperture, large 1.4µm pixels, HDR Boost (which acts like Google's HDR+) and a laundry list of features like Pro mode and Hyperlapse.
Again, our review will judge the quality of the camera but the images below show that HTC U11+'s camera has great potential.
The design of the HTC U11+ is not to everybody's liking. Still, the glass back on our Ceramic Black model is mesmerizing, which leaves us excited to see the Translucent Black model in person. The aluminum frame sits nicely in the palm while the metal side buttons are sharp and clicky.
The fingerprint scanner is lightning fast and right where it should be on a phone this size - right in the center of its back.
We've started on our HTC U11+ review and you should stay tuned for it. There are a few looming questions to answer but our first impressions are entirely positive.