HTC U series is official

Are these the phones for U?

After what seems like a very long time, HTC finally made it new line-up of smartphones public. While the HTC U Play and U Ultra appeal to different market segments, they share a number of characteristics.

The AI software will get better with time, says HTC

The Taiwanese manufacturer is pushing AI with both its offerings. Touted as the HTC Sense Companion, the assistant comes with four active microphones constantly listening to your voice commands, managing battery use to learn different usage patterns and providing suggestions about your agenda. The company says the AI will constantly learn from “U”, making it better with time.

The technology adapts to the construction of your ear

Despite the absence of 3.5mm headphone jacks, the smartphones offer a great music listening experience. The company claims to provide a personalised sound experience through its USonic technology. The earbuds come with built-in microphones that listen for sonic pulses and adjust audio to match your ears’ unique construction. We recently tried these earphones out in our HTC evo review.

In addition, the pair of devices also share a premium glass-on-metal body. However, if they’re so similar, what sets them apart?

HTC U Play

The HTC U Play is the smaller handset of the two. It comes with a with a full HD 5.2-inch display, making it more manageable for folks with smaller hands. Inside, the phone sports a rather dated MediaTek Helio P10 processor and a 2,500mAh battery.

The mid-range smartphone combines a 5.2-inch Full HD display with a MediaTeck Helio P10 processor

There are two variants to the Play: one with a 32GB capacity and 3GB RAM while the other with 64GB and 4GB. Both on-board cameras have f/2.0 aperture 16MP sensors, with the rear snapper offering optical image stabilisation (OIS). Unfortunately, the device comes with the outdated Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS.

Pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed for all regions.

HTC U Ultra

The HTC U Ultra is the flagship of sorts with a much larger footprint. Interestingly, a special variant of the handset will boast a sapphire glass body and is to be available later this year.

Similar to the LG V20, the Ultra sports a 5.7-inch Quad HD display with a secondary portion up top housing HTC’s Sense Companion. Inside is the Snapdragon 821 processor so those expecting the newest Snapdragon 835 will have to wait longer. With 4GB RAM and 64GB/128GB storage options, the handset also brings microSD support just like the mid-range U Play.

Image result for HTC U Ultra
The secondary display up top is where the HTC Sense Companion is housed

On the camera front, the U Ultra borrows optics from the HTC 10, which is not a bad thing. The primary 12MP UltraPixel sensor boasts a large 1.55µm sensor and an f/1.8 aperture with OIS. It also adds phase detection to the already present laser autofocus and the lens is protected by sapphire glass for added durability. On the front, you’ll get a 16MP selfie shooter.

For a phone of this calibre, the battery remains rather small at 3000mAh. Fortunately, you’ll be able to charge the device via the Type-C USB port with Quick Charge 3.0 support. At least on the software front, you’ll get the latest Android 7.0 Nougat.

The Ultra looks set to be available globally this quarter. It will be priced at $749 (Dh2,750) in the US with pre-orders now open. The devices start shipping in mid-March. We’ll update you with details for the UAE when we learn more.