HTC's HTC Edge Sense could be one of the most underrated features of a smartphone in 2019. The HTC U11 already debuted in 2017, and a version of Google also made it for Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, but only for Google Assistant integration Then HTC 2018 brought the U12 Plus with an improved version of Edge Sense on the market. This feature is not available on the HTC U1
Let's see how it works and what you can do with it.
How does the HTC Edge Sense work?
The HTC U11 and U12 Plus have pressure sensors that are embedded in the left and right edges of the phone. Press the phone together, the sensors register it as a key press, and the phone executes a command. You can set these commands in the settings menu. With these commands, you can enable simple things like turning on a flashlight or even opening an app.
The Google Pixel 2 and 3 line uses very similar sensors, but only works when opening Google Assistant. However, pressure sensitivity is adjustable for both Google and HTC devices.
This is a nice little idea. People hold their phones so that squeezing is often easier and faster than many other device controls. This is especially true for a type of flashlight, where you normally need to unlock the display and open the quick settings.
Setup Edge Sense
The setup process for Edge Sense is actually quite simple.
Just go to the Settings menu and scroll down until you find Edge Sense and turn it on. From there, the function works with its default settings, but you can change them as you like.
When you open the Edge Sense option in the Settings menu, a simple screen appears with some options.
The first option This option allows you to customize your short squeeze action by selecting the squeeze force level and the actual action. There are not many options, but you can choose to open each app, and there are some switches and other useful controls.
The second option lets you customize the squeeze and hold feature. This works just like the short squeeze setup – you can only do two different actions based on the length of the squeeze:
You can set Edge Sense to launch any app that opens Edge Launcher, the HTC Alexa or your default mode will open Assistant App, take a screenshot, turn the flashlight on or off, enable a voice recording, enable the Wi-Fi hotspot, play or pause music or hold it just as a backspace.
After setting everything up, you should do a short squeeze action that does one thing, and a separate long squeeze action that does a separate thing. You can change the actions at any time.
Advanced HTC Edge Sense Controls
Now that we have finished the basics, let's look at the advanced settings. Edge Sense offers some extra features with more specific features. Let's take a moment to talk about this.
- In-App Squeeze: This feature allows you to assign a specific action to a specific app. You can press to take a photo in the Camera app, or press while the keyboard is displayed to enable voice output. HTC offers a variety of actions for the default apps as well as extras like Google Photos, Google Maps, Instagram and Facebook. There's also a beta program for adding your own in-app squeeze controls, but it's a bit more complicated.
- Holding gesture: The function "Holding Gesture" is very simple in practice, but a bit difficult to explain. Basically, the phone uses different settings for automatically rotating and dimming the screen, depending on how you hold the phone (vertical or horizontal). This is not particularly exciting, but it disables automatic turning while lying in bed and that can be useful.
- Double-Click: The sensors on the sides of the phone are sensitive enough where you can tap it like a button. This setting allows you to double-click on either side of the screen to perform an action. It works just like the squeeze feature, so you can set various actions for a short squeeze, a long squeeze, and a two-time push on the side of your phone.
In fact, there are a lot of potential uses between short and long squeezing, the in-app bruising, and the double-tip edge-sense feature. All in all, Edge Sense users can do three common actions and over a dozen in-app actions with even more options if you want to use the in-app squeeze beta feature.
Other HTC Edge Sense features
Most of the desirable Edge Sense features can be executed elsewhere in the user interface. For example, flashlight switching or Wi-Fi hotspot switching is in the Quick Settings. In most cases Edge Sense offers more comfort than something new. However, there are some tricks.
- Edge Launcher: Edge Launcher is very similar to Samsung's Edge Panels. It's an Edge Sense-enabled launcher that you can greatly customize to include apps that you start frequently or that you change frequently. The outer ring has six points and the inner five. There is also a second page that you can access. In total there are 22 areas for apps and toggles.
- HTC Alexa : This is actually just Amazon Alexa. It works like Alexa normally on devices that use it. You must sign in with an Amazon account to use it.
- HTC Sense Companion: This feature allows you to check your phone's usage, location, and other information to recommend various things to you. We honestly did not like it because Google Assistant does something similar better and less intrusive.
Alexa and HTC Sense Companion work without Edge Sense, but it's definitely the best way to access it. Edge Launcher only seems to be available in Edge Sense and we really like it. We mentioned all three just because it's obvious that HTC should use them with Edge Sense.
Of course, you can use this technology as you like, but if you are looking for ideas, we can help you. Here are our recommendations:
- Short press: The short press should be something you use all the time. We're using flashlight switching for this device, but shutter bugs may want a faster camera startup (if your phone does not double-tap to start the camera function). HTC Alexa or Google Assistant are not a bad choice here either.
- Long Squeeze: We recommend using this for less common but useful options. We switched back and forth between the Edge Launcher and the screenshot feature. Other decent ideas are starting a frequently used app or using the option to turn accessibility on and off.
- Double-tap: Double-tipping is a strange case. It sometimes accidentally intervenes when you move the phone in your hand. We would not recommend it for something like a flashlight switch or a screenshot feature, since it's annoying to accidentally switch. Set the option to open something nasty if you want to live dangerously.
- In-App Press: This can be customized with the beta program. However, we recommend using it in the Camera app to take photos with a minimum of pressure. It makes selfies much easier. Compressing an alarm in the clock app and compressing a call are also excellent options.
The HTC Edge Sense from HTC is a pretty small feature. Many OEMs add extra inputs with an additional button or gesture control. That's perfectly fine, but Edge Sense adds functionality without being intrusive, or even changing the design or shape of the phone. This is impressive, especially as Apple and Android switch to a more gesture-controlled user interface. If you have a newer HTC phone, you should definitely use Edge Sense.