The Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has launched the company's latest U series smartphones for the Indian market. With a focus on design and artificial intelligence, the U series features two handsets - HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play priced at Rs. 59,990 and Rs. 39,990 respectively. HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play will be available in Indian market from March 6, 2017 and mid-March 2017. The HTC U Ultra and the U Play will be available for buying via both online and offline channels.
We tried our hands on both the smartphones for a brief period of time and here's what we think of HTC's latest U series handsets.
HTC has come out with a different design scheme with the new series and unlike the previous HTC devices, the new phones have a curved glass backing, somewhat similar to Samsung Galaxy S7. HTC U Ultra looks quite pleasing and has 3D contoured edges with a liquid surface, meaning the smartphone appears to have different colors when held at different angles). The smartphone has a lustrous, symmetrical and curved glass construction. While the handset is designed to turn heads, it is also prone to slipping off your hands because of slippery material used in construction. You have to take extra care of the smartphone in everyday usage. HTC U Ultra comes in three color variants- Brilliant Black, Cosmetic Pink and Sapphire Blue.
Coming on to other important aspects, the power button and the volume rockers are situated on the right side of the smartphone. The SIM Tray lies up top. A Type-C USB port is placed alongside a speaker unit at the bottom, but we don't have 3.5mm headphone Jack here. The HTC U Ultra measures at 162.4 x 79.79 x 7.99 mm and weighs in at 175 gm.
While the flagship HTC U Ultra looks stunning, the U Play is no less than its elder sibling and also looks quite premium.The smartphone resembles the U Ultra in overall design but comes in compact form factor and is easy to use with one hand. Similar to HTC U Ultra, the U Play has power button and volume rockers placed on the right side, with the left side being empty.
Besides, the selfie camera, earpiece and the light sensor is located at the top of the display. The SIM tray is situated along with the secondary microphone. We have the USB 2.0 Type-C port along with the speaker grill at the bottom. The fingerprint scanner is placed at front.
HTC U Play comes in four colour variants- Iceberg White, Indigo Blue, Black Oil and cosmic Pink Gold.
Overall, HTC has finally paid attention to consumer's reviews and has revamped the design for good. The new devices look premium but make sure you buy a case for them as the metal-glass construction makes them quite slippery.
Display and Camera
When it comes to the display, the HTC U Ultra sports a 5.7-inch, WQHD (2560*1440) Super LCD 5 display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The smartphone has a secondary 2.0-inch (160 x 1040 pixels) display at the top, somehow similar to the LG V20. The secondary display can show you your app shortcuts and notifications.
HTC U Ultra comes with a 12MP Ultrapixel camera powered by Sony IMX378 sensor. The camera also has OIS and Laser autofocus. Both the rear and front cameras are pretty impressive and capture detailed images but we will reserve our final verdict until we review the smartphones.
Coming on to HTC U Play, the smartphone sports a 5.2-inch Full HD Super LCD display with Gorilla Glass protection. The display is good as with any other 1080p device (The highest common high-definition screen resolution). The smartphone flaunts a 16-megapixel rear camera backed by BSI sensor.
The camera also has phase detection autofocus (PDAF), Optical Image Stabilization, works on f/2.0 aperture and is accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. It can also record videos in Full HD and 4K.
HTC U Play also has a 16-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture. The front camera has various modes like Live Makeup, Selfie Panorama, and Video Pic to enhance the photography experience. Overall, the front camera seems quite impressive.
The HTC U Ultra comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of total storage that can be further expanded by up to 2TB via memory card. During our brief stint, we did not notice any lags, app crashes or software issues with the handset.
On the other hand, HTC U Play comes powered by a 64-bit Octa-Core MediaTek Helio P10 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of total storage, which is expandable by up to 2TB via microSD.
With whatever time we spend with the handset, the smartphone sailed smoothly through multiple apps with no performance issues.We will stress test both the handsets in the coming month in our full review to give the final verdict.
Battery and connectivity
HTC U Ultra is powered by 3,000 mAh battery unit with quick charging 3.0, same charging technology that we have previously seen in Honor8.The company claims a talk time of up to 26 hours on 3G/4G but we will give you more clarity on the same once we will get the chance to review the product.
The hybrid slot on the HTC U Ultra offers support for a secondary 4G LTE SIM.
The HTC U Play comes with a 2,500 mAh battery. The company claims that this battery can give up to 427 .54 hours of standby and 15.21 hours of talk time on 3G/ 4G but as I have mentioned earlier, we will test the handsets in our lab for a final say.
While the smartphones look impressive and packs in flagship class hardware and features, they seem quite expensive in today's time when you have some amazing options selling at nearly half and one-third of the price HTC is asking for (Honor 8 and OnePlus 3T for instance.)
Besides, HTC has only announced the MOP and the final price is likely to be even higher, which can further make it tough for HTC to sell the handsets in the price conscious Indian market.