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HTC U Ultra and U Play bets big on AI


HTC has just rolled out its new flagship of the year with their all new U series. After toying around with metal for its high-end design, the Taiwanese company is now turning to glass for their latest models.

3D glass on smartphones are becoming a common sight but HTC is taking a step further with its Liquid Surface Design. Instead of the usual dual-curved back appearance, the glass back of the U series curves 4-ways for a symmetrical look.


To kick off 2017, HTC wants to focus on you as the customer, hence the strong emphasis on “U”. They believe their smartphones should reflect you as an individual and it should learn from you every single step of the way. To make your phone smarter, they have incorporated AI (Artificial Intelligence) with its HTC Sense Companion.


Instead of being a passive digital assistant, the HTC Sense companion is meant to be more pro-active like suggesting what to wear based on the current weather and remind you to charge your phone or switch to power saving mode so that it can last a whole day.

HTC U Ultra


The HTC U Ultra is the highest tier of the two models and it comes with a 5.7″ Quad HD Super LCD 5 display that’s protected by Gorilla Glass 5. HTC is also offering a premium model that uses Sapphire Glass in front.



On top of the main display is a smaller 2.0″ screen that does 160×1040 resolution. This second screen is used to show notifications so that it won’t get in the way with your current apps. You can also customise the ticker display to show your favourite contacts and app shortcuts.

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Powering the HTC U Ultra is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM. There’s also 64GB of storage for the standard model and 128GB for the premium Sapphire Glass unit. If you need more, it also accepts microSD up to 2TB.


In the imaging department, it gets a 12MP f/1.8 HTC UltraPixel 2 camera that’s assisted by Laser AF, PDAF and OIS. It can also record 4K videos as well as 120fps slow motion video in 720p resolution. Over at the front, it gets a 16MP UltraPixel camera which comes with a host of beautification features.


The HTC U Ultra is also big in the audio department. There are 4 mics for 3D Audio and it also gets BoomSound HiFi edition speakers. Like the HTC 10, the top earpiece speaker acts as a tweeter while the down firing unit is used for bass.


Unfortunately, it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack but it comes with a pair of USonic Hi-Res headphones that connects via USB Type-C. This is similar to the pair bundled with the HTC 10 evo which will analyse your inner ears with sonar-like pulse for the perfect adjustment just for you.


The U Ultra gets a 3,000mAh battery and it supports Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging. Connectivity wise, it has 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. It supports 4G LTE up to 600Mbps along with VoLTE and WiFi Calling.

HTC U Play


The HTC U Play is the smaller and affordable brother to the U Ultra. It gets the same Liquid Surface Design at the back but it lacks a secondary screen upfront.


The front display is a 5.2″ Full HD Super LCD unit and under the hood, it runs on a modest MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 4GB of RAM. HTC is also rather generous to include 64GB of on-board storage which is expandable up to 2TB extra via microSD.

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Both front and back feature a 16MP f/2.0 cameras which support Full HD 1080p video recording. Like the HTC U Ultra, it also lacks a headphone jack and it comes with a pair of USB-Type C based USonic headphones. The U Play comes with dual microphones for noise cancellation. Keeping the lights on is a 2,500mAh battery and it charges with a 5V/2A brick via its USB 2.0 Type-C port.


At the moment, there are no availability and pricing details for the HTC U Ultra and U Play for Malaysia.

Alexander Wong