HTC's Edge Sense may be one of the most underrated features on any smartphone in 2019. It debuted on HTC U11 back in 2017, and a version of it also made it to Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, but only for Google Integration. Assistant. Then the HTC U12 Plus launched 2018 with an improved version of Edge Sense. The feature is not available on HTC U12 Life.
Let's take a look at how it works and what you can do about it.
How does HTC Edge Sense work ?
HTC U11 and U12 Plus have pressure sensors embedded in the left and right edges of the phone. Hug the phone, the sensors register it as a button press, and the phone performs a command. You can set these commands in the Settings menu. These commands can do simple things like activating the flashlight, or even opening an app.
The Google Pixel 2 and 3 line use very similar sensors, but it only works to open Google Assistant. Pressure sensitivity is adjustable for both Google and HTC devices.
It's a nice little idea. People keep their phones in such a way that clamping is often easier and faster than many other devices. This is especially true for something like a flashlight, where you usually have to unlock the screen and open the quick settings.
How to set up Edge Sense
The installation process for Edge Sense is actually quite easy.
Just go to the Settings menu, scroll down until you find Edge Sense, and switch it on. From there, the function works with the default settings, but you can change them to whatever you want.
Open the Edge Sense option in the setup menu presents a simple screen with some options.
The first option allows you to adjust your short squeeze action so you can choose the squeeze force level and what the action really does. There aren't a lot of options, but you can set it to open any app and there are some switches and other useful controls.
The second option allows you to adjust the squeeze and hold function. This works the same as the quick squeeze setting. It allows you to have only two separate actions based on the duration of the press.
You can set Edge Sense to launch an app, open Edge Launcher, open either HTC Alexa or your default Assistant app, take a screenshot, turn on or off the flashlight, turn on a voice recording, take part in Wi-Fi. Fi hotspot, play or pause music or even just act as a button.
Once you've set everything up, you should have a short pressing action that makes one thing and a separate long pressing action that makes a separate thing. You can change the actions whenever you want.
Advanced HTC Edge Sense controls
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let's look at the more advanced settings. Edge Sense offers some extras with more specific features. Let's go over them briefly.
- Clip in app: This feature allows you to determine a specific action within a particular app. You can press to take a photo in the camera's app or clip while the keyboard is displayed to enable voice-to-text. HTC has a variety of actions built into team apps, as well as add-ons such as Google Photos, Google Maps, Instagram and Facebook. There is also a beta program to add custom buttons for the push of a button, but it is a bit more complicated.
- Sustainability: The function Holding Gesture is super simple in practice, but a little difficult to explain. Basically, the phone uses various automatic rotation and screen dimmer settings based on how you hold the phone (vertical or landscape). This one is not too exciting, but it disables automatic rotation while you lie down in bed and it can be useful.
- Dual Action: The sensors on the sides of this phone are sensitive enough that you can tap it as a button. With this setting, you can double-click the edge of the screen on both sides to perform an action. It works just like the squeeze feature, so you can set various actions for a short pressing, a long pressing and a double tap on the side of your phone.
There are, in fact, a large number of potential uses between short and long clips, squeezes in the app and the dual-print feature on Edge Sense. When all is said and done, users can use Edge Sense to perform three general actions and over a dozen in-app actions with even more options to use the compression feature in the app.
Other HTC Edge Sense features
Most of the desirable Edge Sense features are things you can do elsewhere in the user interface. For example, the flashlight switches or the Wi-Fi hotspot switch both in the quick settings. For the most part, Edge Sense adds convenience, rather than a new thing. However, it has some nice tricks.
- Edge Launcher: Edge Launcher is similar to Samsung's Edge Panels. It is a launcher that is activated with Edge Sense, which you can greatly customize to include apps that you often launch or change frequently used. The outer ring has six spots and the interior has five. There is also a second side that you can spin around and access. In total, there are 22 spaces for apps and switches.
- HTC Alexa : This is really just Amazon Alexa. It works as Alexa normally does on devices that use it. You need to sign in with an Amazon account to use it.
- HTC Sense Companion: This feature looks at your phone usage, location and other information to recommend different things to you. We really didn't like using this because Google Assistant makes a similar thing better and less intrusive.
Alexa and HTC Sense Companion work without Edge Sense, but it's definitely the best way to access them. Edge Launcher seems to be only available in Edge Sense and we really like it. We just mentioned all three because it is obvious that HTC wants you to use them with Edge Sense.
Of course you can use this technique but you want, but if you are looking for ideas we can help. Here are our recommendations:
- Short squeeze: The short press should be something you use all the time. We use the flashlight for this, but shutterbugs may want a faster camera launch (if your phone doesn't have a dual button to start the camera's function). HTC Alexa or Google Assistant are not bad choices either.
- Long pressing: We recommend that you use this for less common but still useful alternatives. We bounced back and forth between Edge Launcher and the screen dump function for this one. Other decent ideas include launching an app that you frequently use or use to enable or disable accessibility.
- Double cranes: Double crane is a strange case. It happens unintentionally sometimes if you jiggle the phone around in your hand. We would not recommend it to anything like a flashlight switch or a screenshot function because accidental switches will get on the nerves. Set it to open something foreign if you feel like living dangerous.
- Clip in app: This is individually customizable with the beta program. However, we recommend that you use it in the camera's app to take pictures with a clip as much as possible. It makes selfies much easier. Hugging to snooze an alarm in the clock app and clamp to answer a phone call is also excellent options.
HTC's Edge Sense is a pretty amazing little feature. Many OEM users add extra input with an additional button or gesture controls. It is absolutely fine, but Edge Sense provides extra functionality without being intrusive or even changing the design or shape of the phone. It's impressive, especially since both Apple and Android phones are moving to a more user interface. If you have a newer HTC phone, you should definitely use Edge Sense.