HTC announce the U Ultra and U Play, Phablet Flagship devices

HTC U Ultra and Play 2017

We’ve barely left CES, and no Mobile World Congress hasn’t started early, but that hasn’t stopped HTC announcing two Flagship spec devices, and two of which are the beginning of a new line for the company, the U Ultra and U Play.

Whilst we did mention that both the “U” devices announced by HTC were Flagship spec, that is 2016 flagship spec as the latest Qualcomm SnapDragon silicon isn’t quite ready for prime time yet, of course we’d expect a SnapDragon 835 device from HTC later in 2017, though that naturally puts the question on why these are a thing, though let’s look closer regardless.

U Play

HTC U Play

Whilst we’ll get to the main start of the show, the U Ultra, shortly, HTC have still made quite the pairing of devices, the U Play results in a very attractive mid-range device still fit for 2017.

Both the U Play and Ultra, feature this new highly reflective glass design, which on the U Play shown, it really compliments HTC’s existing design language from devices such as the HTC 10 and Desire series, whilst adding a sense of … dare we say it, Samsung look, in to things?!
HTC U Play Colours

Colour wise you’ve Black, White, a garish Pink, as well as Blue, all supporting the highly reflective shiny look, which is likely to impress … that is until you touch it, these things are very reflective.

Being the midrange of the bunch, the U Play features rather middle of the road specifications, such as a MediaTek Helio P10 Processor, though a respectable 5.2 inch Full HD Super LCD Display. Of course pricing is still a tba state;

  • Octa Core 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 Processor
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB storage with microSD Card expansion
  • 16MP Rear Camera with OIS and dual-tone LED Flash
  • 16MP Front Camera with UltraPixel 4MP Mode
  • WiFi AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2,500mAh
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

U Ultra

HTC U Ultra Second Display 2017

You’re probably wondering why we’ve took a closer view of the HTC U Ultra’s display, specifically the top end of it. Well, as eager eyes may have noticed, it would seem devices like the LG V10/V20 aren’t the only ones now with a dual-display set-up.

Whilst HTC naturally are going to state there’s as better, more useful, the general workings are more or less the same. The top display is always on, an offers you access to quick shortcuts and more conveniences without the need of unlocking the full display. The panel also offers you to view something fully on the display, whilst controlling using the smaller top display etc etc.

HTC U Ultra Colours 2017

Just like the Play before it, the U Ultra is also available in the same colour options, and supports the same highly reflective glass finish. However, unlike the Play, you’ve much more gut in terms of performance with the SnapDragon 821 powering the device.

However, whilst the U Play can fit in the mid-range market perfectly fine, the U Ultra seems almost too late. Whilst, yes, devices such as the Google Pixel and OnePlus 3T, which feature the SnapDragon 821 are still fairly new, we’re weeks away from devices using the next-gen silicon, so if this is HTC’s 10 replacement, we’ve questions all over the place?!

Whilst we do know the main display is a 5.7 inch Super LCD5 Quad HD panel, the small display is just 2 inch 160 x 1040 … we’re hoping it’s OLED to save power and look best being always on.

  • 2.15Ghz Quad-Core SnapDragon 821 Processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB/128GB storage with microSD Card expansion
  • 12MP Rear Camera with HTC UltraPixel 2: 1.55μm pixels, laser autofocus, OIS and dual-tone LED Flash
  • 16MP Front Camera with UltraPixel 4MP Mode
  • WiFi AC, Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3,000mAh
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

New features for both

Sense Companion

Whilst the Google Assistant is the power horse which Google is pushing for AI within your Smartphone running Nougat, HTC want to take that a step further with the Sense Companion. Whilst it does essentially use the same technology, paired with some extra HTC intelligence, the Companion follows you around and notifies you of things relevant to yourself.

Whether such functionality is really required with the likes of Google Now, and Assistant, is to be seen, but it’s a step forward HTC.

No headphone jack is now the norm

Whilst this isn’t what folks will regard a feature, this is something to note. Neither the U Play or the U Ultra feature a headphone jack, just like HTC’s last announced device, the Bolt. The devices do have USB-C with QuickCharge 3.0 compatibility and that’s that.


So, there you go, HTC’s first Smartphones of 2017, and easily the most confusion to really see fit in. Whilst it’s to be seen whether HTC have still to announce an HTC 10 successor and this isn’t that, we’ll have to wait and see. Expect Mobile World Congress will have that answer for us, for now we’re admittedly underwhelmed.


Image credit: HTC Press Renders

Published by R-Tech

R-Tech is the source of all the latest Technology posts on RKUK Media.

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