HTC strikes early with the Galaxy-lookalike U Ultra and U Play

HTC has launched an early assault on 2017 with the release of two new handsets; the premium U Ultra and mid-range U Play.

No, you’re not looking at a resurrected Galaxy Note on the right – that is, in fact, HTC’s newest premium device: the U Ultra.
HTC took to the stage today to take the wraps off its two newest devices. While the U Ultra serves a performance base for the series – rocking a 1440p display at 5.7″ – the U Play brings the fun with a smaller 5.2″ display with a resolution of 1080×1920.
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Both devices have strapped in to set some 2017 standards; both devices lack a headphone jack but come equipped with an AI assistant dubbed Sense Companion. Furthermore, users can expect a secondary screen – a little like the one found on the LG V20 – on the top of the U Ultra.

U Ultra: The powerhouse

As far as the U Ultra goes – if you can discount its Galaxy lookalike-design – the device functions as HTC’s warning shot to all devices set to follow at Mobile World Congress this year.
Available in blue, pink, white, black and green, the U Ultra runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and sports a Snapdragon 821 SoC. 4GB of RAM and up to 256GB of expandable storage makes the rounds, while the device packs in a 12-megapixel camera with OIS and a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.
The Ultra supports USB Type-C and bears a fingerprint scanner, and is complemented by a 3,000mAh battery.
Feature-wise, the device uses HTC’s Sense Companion to provide proactive alerts and suggestions (much alike what Google Assistant supports aboard the Pixel), while the device’s secondary screen boasts a resolution of 160×1040 pixels and can be used to hold shortcuts to favourite apps or contacts.
HTC’s USonic (are you seeing a pattern here?) is a technology we saw on the US-only HTC Bolt; the U Ultra’s bundled earphones are capable of scanning the internal structure of its user’s ears and adapting its sound output for maximum effort. Of course, that comes with the sacrifice of a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack converter won’t be bundled in the box.
The U Ultra will retail for $749 USD, while there has been no word on local availability.
htc u play

U Play: The playground

Where the U Ultra is power, the U Play brings the fun. Arriving with a Media Tek Helio P10 chipset, the device accommodates 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage.
The device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and includes a 2,500mAh battery in addition to a 16-megapixel primary camera and secondary unit.
While the U Play sports the same Sense Companion and USonic technology found on the U Ultra, consumers will have to do without a secondary screen. The device will be available in black, blue, pink and white versions, while pricing is yet to be announced.
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Have your say!

What are your thoughts on HTC’s newest devices? Can anything bring the ailing company back from the brink? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA