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HTC U Ultra Review: It's Pretty But There's Nothing More To It

By Edge Ison , Apr 15, 2017 05:53 AM EDT
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If you are not aware that HTC released its flagship smartphone, don't worry. You are not alone and you're probably better off not knowing. Lost amongst the recent smartphone brouhaha is the HTC U Ultra, the company's latest high-end device. However, it does not seem anything like a premium smartphone save for its beautiful design.

Design and Display

Spoiler alert! The design of the HTC U Ultra is perhaps its only saving grace. HTC steered clear of its favorite all-aluminum design and used a brilliant mix of glass and metal for the U Ultra. The elegant-shaped device comes in a sapphire blue color that lends its aesthetic values to the smartphone.

The device comes with a 5.7-inch quad-HD display 1440 pixel resolution and a secondary 2-inch display which shows notifications, shortcuts, and time among others Having dual displays should impress anyone but HTC managed to still miss out on this one. The Verge noted that the secondary display is not necessary and even called it "redundant and useless".

Performance

The HTC U Ultra is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 processor which is good enough. It also comes with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage along with the Adreno 530 GPU. These specs are good on paper but somehow, the phone seems to lag especially when "jumping in and out of open apps" as Engadget related.

The U Ultra runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with its own Sense interface. Toning down the Sense interface is one of the few positives of this phone.

Camera

HTC gave the U Ultra a 12-megapixel rear camera which can take clear and vibrant photos outdoors. When used indoors, the low light poses a problem as the images pale in comparison to those taken outside. The company focused more on the front camera. The selfie camera has the UltraPixel feature which creates 4-megapixel images.

Battery

The HTC U Ultra has a 3,000mAh battery and it makes use of Qualcomm's QuickCharge 3.0 technology. In other words, it has a good enough battery life.

Price

The $750 price tag doesn't seem apt for a supposed high-end smartphone that fails in so many aspects including the lack of water and dust resistance among other things. HTC is only offering the U Ultra via its own online store and not through carriers which is why it is unlocked. While this may be favorable to some, it does not give off that high-end vibe.

Another annoying thing about the HTC U Ultra is that the expenses don't stop at $750. The handset has no traditional 3.55mm headphone jack and an adapter for it does not come with the box. Those who prefer using traditional headphones must buy HTC's own adapter for $11.99. Furthermore, you'll also need HTC's own USB-C headphones if you don't want to get its adapter.

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