Using an Unlocked HTC U11 on AT&T – The Ups and Downs

The HTC U11 as so far been an amazing smartphone. It’s fast, responsive, and has a great camera. Because the phone came unlocked from HTC, I can use it on many different networks by just swapping out the sim card. It’s not like if you bought a phone on T-Mobile or AT&T and are only allowed to use it there until you pay it off and eventually ask for an unlock code. This HTC U11  is fully unlocked at the get go.

What that means is that there are many positive about it. The main plus about an unlocked device is that you’re tied to any carrier. You’re pretty much free to use this device on any carrier as well as most carriers abroad. You’ll have a device that is capable of international calls without the high prices that usually come with international roaming. Just bu the appropriate sim card in the country your visiting for cheap phone rates.

Another major plus is that the device does not come preloaded with a bunch of the bloatware that carriers would usually install. For AT&T, that includes a lot of their in house services, DirecTV apps, and partner apps. That can save you a ton of usable space as well as real estate in your app drawer.

Lastly, unlocked devices usually get updates much quicker than carrier devices. This device already comes with the latest 7.7.1. version and updates on it so far have been pretty quick. I can’t say the same for some of my other devices that are locked to AT&T.

Now while there are a lot of really positives to owning an unlocked device, I’ve come across a couple negatives that affect my experiences on AT&T, which is my main carrier for me. So far, I’ve come across two AT&T features I can not use because I’m on an unlocked device. First off, I can not make use of HD Calling or Wi-Fi calling. I know it’s a feature AT&T has because I’ve used it on a carrier locked LG V20. The phone supports it in the specs, but AT&T somehow blocks it from using it.

My other issue is with MMS messages. While the HTC U11 can send MMS messages, all the images sent through it are downsized and look really terrible once they’re sent. By terrible I mean really pixelated and anything with text on it can be almost unreadable. This isn’t the case with an AT&T branded devices however as they can make use of AT&T’s advanced messaging feature. What this essentially means is that I can’t send messages at AT&T’s new limit of 10MB. Instead, I’m sending messages sized at maybe 1MB or less, and they look really bad.

Now these are the only two issues I’ve come across with using the HTC U11 on AT&T’s network. While I wish I could use Wi-Fi Calling and Advanced Messaging, it’s not a deal breaker for me because I think the positives outweigh the negatives with an unlocked device. Not only that, while Wi-Fi calling and HD Voice does sound better, it’s something I can live without and as for sending images via MMS, I have other messaging apps I can use for that as well. So while not having these two features can be a little inconvenient, it’s not the end of the world.


Review unit provided by the manufacturer

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