HTC did not reveal any smartphone at the recently-concluded CES 2017 event, but the company has just announced the HTC U Ultra and U Play at a special event of its own.
The two phones are not new to our fans for they have been doing rounds in the rumor mills for quite some time now. However, the Taiwanese company has finally taken the covers off the two phones, with their release expected to happen in the coming weeks.
The HTC U Ultra is a flagship phablet offering that kicks off the company’s efforts to regain its lost glory in the smartphone world. The phone enters the records books for becoming the first HTC handset to feature a secondary ticker with Always On display just above the main screen, something that LG already does with the LG V10 and V20. The design of the handset has both glass and metal, something we have seen on a number of Samsung phones so far. HTC has finally moved from its all-metal designs and now embracing the futuristic glass and metal – something that company was quick to note that will be part of their future phones.
Like rumors had pointed out, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play. Instead, buyers of these phones will have to do with USB-C for audio. The company touted the AI aspects of the phones thanks to HTC Sense Companion. According to the company, the Sense Companion will enable the HTC U series learn your daily activity and in the process adapt to your lifestyle.
You can use your voice to lock and unlock the new HTC phones as the phones come with four low-power microphones that are always on and ready to respond to voice commands. As noted earlier, the HTC U Ultra is the flagship offering, boasting a screen size of 5.7 inches with a QHD resolution. There is Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 on top of the panel. The secondary ticker display is 2 inches in size and with it, you will have constant access to reminders, favorite apps, time and date, notifications and many others.
Under the hood, the HTC U Ultra has a Snapdragon 821 processor that is clocked at a speed of 2.1GHz and is paired with a 4GB RAM. Onboard storage is expandable with a microSD card, but the 64GB and 128GB options provided on the phablet out of the box should be enough for most people. The rear has a capable 12MP UltraPixel 2 camera that is said to be ahead of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, especially since it also adds OIS, PDAF, dual-tone LED flash and laser focus to the fold, among others. You also get 4K recording on the main camera as opposed to the front camera that only manages Full HD. However, it has more pixels at 16MP.
The U Ultra has a 3000mAh battery unit to keep the lights on with support for Quick Charge technology, NFC and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. Android 7.0 Nougat powers the phone out of the box, just like the HTC U Play. Speaking of the U Play, this is basically a slimmed-down version of the Ultra. It has a 5.2-inch Full HD display screen with Gorilla Glass protection. However, it is powered by a midrange MediaTek Helio P10 processor paired with a RAM of either 3GB or 4GB. This also gives it two storage options of 32GB or 64GB.
The back of the phone has a 16MP snapper that ships with PDAF, OIS and dual-tone LED flash, among others. There is no 4K recording, instead, the camera shares 1080p video recording capabilities with the 16MP selfie shooter on board. However, you get a smaller battery of 2500mAh with no support for fast charging technology.
The HTC U Ultra is already available for pre-orders in the U.S. and is valued at $749. As for the HTC U Play, pricing is still unknown and in fact, the phone will be sold in select markets. You can have either phone in Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Ice White or Cosmetic Pink.