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HTC U Ultra Review: Does It Really Have A Horrible Design?

By Cameron , Mar 21, 2017 06:44 AM EDT
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Though the U Ultra is a large, thick and powerful premium device, the phone itself appears to have some wasted space on its design. (Photo : Marques Brownlee/YouTube)

The HTC U Ultra is no doubt a premium device. It costs around $750 and features a sleek shiny design with cool high-end specs. However, upon closer inspection, there are several issues about the device's design that seems to be questionable.

Design And Battery

The U Ultra is a large phone, larger than the iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy Note 7 and Pixel XL. It's also not a slim phone, about 8mm thick. Combining all that, it seems there should be all the room in the world to throw in every possible flagship feature.

The first issue is that it has a big camera bump, specifically its rear camera which doesn't make sense, given that it's thick. Is it because HTC likes its smartphones to have large camera bumps? Or is there another reason?

Next is the absence of the headphone jack. Take the iPhone for example, aside from the wireless AirPods, one of the main reasons as to why Apple ditched the headphone jack was to save precious space in such a compact interior. In the U Ultra's case, it has so much space, making it strange no ditch the headphone jack. Is the company following the footsteps of Apple?

Last is that there's no wireless charging. The fact that it features a glass back panel and again the huge amount of space available, it could have at least have a wireless charging feature.

Given that the U Ultra is a large and thick flagship smartphone, one would expect it to at least have a massive battery spec. Instead, it's powered by a 3,000 mAh battery which gives decent battery life nonetheless.

The Display

The first issue of its display design is the Back and Recent keys. Though it has a large front panel, it's so tiny to the point that it takes time for some people to get used to in pressing it on the right spots. But of course, perhaps HTC is planning to release a software update that could allow its users to have an on-screen customizable software buttons.

Reportedly, the Ultra sports an impressive 5.7-inch Quad HD LCD display.  Quite a stunner but that's it.  If a consumer prioritizes form over functions, then it would be a wise choice. 

Next issue is the noticeable "light bleed" located at the top left of the display. Some suggest that it may be because the backlighting is too close to the display panel or perhaps or the insides are too clumped up next to the front camera.

Conclusion

Though many smartphones out there don't have most of the specs and features mentioned, they are cheaper, unlike the U Ultra. For tech enthusiasts who would buy a $750 smartphone, they expect the device to offer that premium experience which the U Ultra lacks significantly.

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