HTC U Ultra review - An ultra shiny and powerful HTC flagship
As of April last month, HTC made a price drop for the U Ultra for RM2599. Does it seem like a little pricey? That depends on your preference, it does come with a super shiny body glass build with impressive specifications. With a price like that, it has actually brought some competition to other mobile phone brands such as Samsung, Huawei and Apple. Let’s take a look at how this HTC flagship performs.
Design - A marvel to look at
Right off the bat, the most obvious aspect of the phone is of course the premium sleek design, the craftsmanship of this fuselage and glass panel interface is truly remarkable, as you can see in our hands-on picture of how beautifully it shines especially if you bring it out to sunny outdoors. It also comes in three other colours which are pink, white and black. However, since it’s carrying a 5.7-inch 2K HD screen, it does feel a bit too big even if you have a huge hand.
Front view, the power button has a great texture to touch
The USB Type-C and speaker grill at the bottom, SIM card tray is at the top
Side view with the volume and power buttons
Opening the SIM card tray
The items in the box
It's worth mentioning that the screen density is pretty high up to 513ppi, so even if you're under the sun, you won't be blinded by the sunrays on your display.
Tech-specs and features - Dual Display convenience and nice camera options
Here is the HTC U Ultra specifications:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 64-bit, quad-core, up to 2.15GHz
- 4GB RAM
- 64 GB internal storage (microSD expansion supports additional memory cards up to 2TB with Flex Storage, optional cards not included)
- Measures 162.41 x 79.79 x 3.6-7.99mm, weighs 170g
- 5.7 inch Quad HD (2560x 1440) Super LCD 5 with Dual Display and Gorilla Glass 5
- 12MP HTC UltraPixel 2(f/1.8 aperture, 1.55μm pixel, BSI sensor, Laser autofocus, Phase detection autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization) / 16MP front camera UltraPixel (BSI sensor)
- Features DUAL DISPLAY: 2.0 inch (160x1040), HTC Sense Companion, dual Nano sim slot, USB 3.1 Type-C, HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition, HTC USonic
- Supports 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz),NFC, and HTC Connect connectivity
- Android 7.0 with HTC Sense
- 3000mAh battery (quick charge 3.0)
Alright, so aside from the gorgeous body, what else does it have? One of the standout features it has is the Dual Display function. This feature acts as a secondary touchscreen to display incoming notification messages or it can be used as a shortcut to launch selected apps at the shortcut bar. The Dual Display is really easy to use, and quite customizable but not very easy to reach one-handed. If HTC added in a floating button like Apple, we think it would ease the one-handed usage for users.
Dual Display settings page
In the camera corner, HTC planted their second generation UltraPixel sensor for the main camera with a pixel size of 1.55μm. It also supports laser and phase detection auto focus, along with optical image stabilization. Finally, RAW file pictures can be saved and it can also record in 4K resolution and even 3D.
In addition, the camera has this function called ZOE mode which allows the user to take 3 seconds of Full HD video. In other words, it sort of works like a gif-like feature so you can have some fun with that. For the selfie lovers, they will be happy to know that there’s a selfie panorama on board as well.
The video and photo user interface
Selfie panorama and time-lapse option
Free 100GB Google Drive space by HTC, sweet!
Performance - Ultra performance, but a battery drainer too
Moving on to the performance section, HTC fans will be glad to know that this flagship performs up to their expectations. With a Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB RAM under its belt, the configuration allowed a smooth experience in gaming, video and music playback, and we don’t even need to force close the apps.
Epic Citadel score
However, we think the battery performance is just alright, as on heavy usage it will last around 11 hours average and it takes 2 hours to fully charge. Another downside is the Type-C port on the phone, as it only supports the USonic headset. Even with the Audio Jack Adapter Toolkit updated, many users still complained that it doesn’t support other headphone brands. Despite that, the USonic headset still sounds pretty good.
Camera performance is flagship level, with clear details and sharp images. Also, thanks to the 1.55μm pixel sensor, the brightness of the image appears more than what your eyes see. Check out our picture samples below.
Medium close up, auto
Auto mode (left) and flash mode on (right)
Outdoor, testing the zoom in image
Colours tend to fade out a bit in low light environments
This image is suppose to be darker than it looks
Even with the strong sunlight behind, the camera can still capture the image flawlessly
Low light shot, still have a good glimpse of what you're looking
Low light self-portrait (left), ordinary self-portrait (right)
Conclusion - A flagship worth considering
So overall, we think that the U Ultra is not bad. The ultra beautiful design is a fan favourite, the screen is big as well for entertainment (perhaps too big), but you have the Dual Display to assist you, while image quality is great as well. However, we feel that HTC should have added more battery juice, as 3000 mAh is certainly not enough to last, especially for heavy users.
It’s good that HTC slashed the price to RM2599 from RM2999, else there is little reason to consider it. But at that price range, you have the Huawei P10 at RM2599 and the Mate 9 for RM2699 RM2499, these two are worthy opponents since their performance (especially the battery) are top-notch, not to mention the dedicated monochrome lens offers more specialist black and white photography options. Besides that, there's also the OnePlus 3T which we just reviewed not too long ago, which is another flagship killer for just RM2229.
So what do you think? Anything else we missed out? Let us know in the comments below, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more reviews at TechNave.com.