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HTC has new phones for U : U Ultra and U Play Announced

by Ville-Petteri Ukonaho | 1月 12, 2017

On January 12, 2017 HTC announced two new models to its lineup. HTC U Play and HTC U Ultra. 

HTC U Ultra

The newcomer from HTC to the premium device segment is the U Ultra. Specifications are as good as can be in this segment with 5.7 inch QHD display with a smaller 2 inch display sitting at the top of the main display. The device runs with Snapdragon 821 accompanied with 4GB RAM and 64/128GB internal memory. Device carries 12MP OIS equipped UltraPixel rear camera with PDAF and Laser autofocus technologies. Front camera has a whopping 16MP resolution that should be enough for any selfie enthusiasts. HTC U Ultra follows the lead of many other premium models by omitting the 3.5mm audio plug so only physical connector in the device is the USB Type-C port. The device is powered with 3000mAh battery and it has in total four omnidirectional mics for best in class audio recording. Fingerprint sensor is positioned at the front doubling as a home button.

The real differentiation however is the design. The devices has a glass back with a "liquid surface" moulded on top of a aluminum frame. The "liquid surface" is actually layers of colored minerals that reflect light creating a unique look and visual depth for the device. The 64GB model has a Gorilla glass but the 128GB variant comes with sapphire glass providing extra hard shell against scratches. U Ultra is priced at ~US$580 wholesale and competes in the premium range against Samsung S-series, Huawei Mate- series and even Apple iPhones.

HTC U Play

The U Play is targeted for the design conscious mid-range customers. The device borrows a lot from its bigger sibling in terms of beautiful all glass design but is equipped with slightly downgraded specifications. The device has a 5.2 inch FullHD display without the secondary display. Engine is Mediatek Helio P10 that is already slightly outdated but should provide enough performance for normal use.There are two memory variants with either 3GB RAm and 32GB internal or 4GB RAM with 64GB internal memory. Device also omits 3.5mm audio jack and has fingerprint sensor in the home button.

Cameras are a clear selling points of the device. With 16MP OIS equipped rear camera the device should provide good imaging experience. Front camera is the same as in U Ultra and needless to say 16MP is more than enough. Device is powered with 2500mAh battery which is at the lower end of the scale for a device with such specifications. Pricing of the device is not yet announced but device should be positioned to the upper segment of mid-range devices.

HTC Sense Companion and HTC U Sonic

With the devices HTC is introducing their new AI companion solution. The Sense Companion is designed to learn from the usage patterns of the user and adapt to situations with correct suggestions. The Companion is voice controlled and it listens even when device is at sleep. User should be able to do various tasks with only talking to the phone. With the Sense Companion solution HTC joins the ranks of several other vendors that have already introduced own companion solutions or are rumored to do so. Time will tell how well Sense Companion compares with Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Samsung Viv and others.

The removal of 3.5mm port is substituted with a new set of headsets named U Sonic. The new headset comes as inbox accessory with both devices and has some intelligence of its own. U Sonic analyzes users inner ears and adapts the sound so the it sounds just right for the user.

With the new devices HTC has clearly went all in with design and specifications. The only thing that can really hurt the desirability of the devices is if those are priced too high. Market is filled with high specd devices with great build and low price. The devices may well be among the most beautiful devices that come out this year and only time will tell if that is enough to turn the fortunes around for HTC whose market share has been slipping recently.

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