HTC U Ultra Full Review – “Unpolished Glossy Phablet”

HTC U Ultra Full Review – “Unpolished Glossy Phablet”

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Check out our full review of the HTC U Ultra.

Design

Mate an LG V20 and a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and you might just end up with an HTC U Ultra.

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It’s glass all around for HTC’s phablet contender with the square camera hump beside the dual tone LED flash and sensors at the back.

The almost 3D glass tapers to meet the metal frame.

The front panel is a 2.5D curved glass with sleek lines and cutouts from the fingerprint sensor at the bottom that double as capacitive home button flanked by back-lit navigation keys.

The volume rocker sits above the power button on the right side. The hybrid dual nano SIM tray that supports up to 2TB of expandable storage can be located up top by the noise cancelling mic.

Last but not the least, we have the bottom-firing speaker situated beside the USB Type-C port. You guessed it, there will be no 3.55mm headphone jack on a phablet this size, sad. No worries, though, as HTC included a USonic USB-C enabled earphones inside the box.

Given its sheer size, it’s almost impossible to comfortably use the HTC U Ultra by one hand. But it gains point with a sticky coating in an attempt to refrain from slipping and, eventually, dropping.

Also worth pointing out, the supposedly eye-catching glossy-glassy design of the Ultra becomes less attractive with greasy hands. Wiping cloth will almost always be required.

Display

All content will be presented on the glorious QHD display crammed in 5.7-inches of Super LCD 5 panel. This gives out the same crispness of 513ppi from the LG V20.

For a high-tier handset – crispy details, accurate colors, and outdoor readability are given along with great viewing angles as per LCD standards.

If the default settings leave you unsatisfied, a color temperature slider is present for either a cooler or warmer tone display.

Night mode and Glove mode features will also come in handy for a reason.

The 2-inch secondary screen mainly works for quick access to time, date, reminders, notification, weather updates and app shortcuts. Nothing else.

It’s not as active as LG V20’s, where quick menu pops out on the screen when an app is open.

Camera

Normally, we would see a dual-camera setup for a high-end model but the HTC U Ultra settled with a single 12MP f/1.8 aperture rear camera – to satisfy your point and shoot game.

When we took the camera for a spin, photos taken in broad daylight are soft and lacks in detail preservation.

The trend continues during indoor shots while appearing accurate in colors.

The camera seems to favor more in low-light shooting where photos appeared to be brighter while registering fair details. This can be further improved with the help of the LED flash.

The same story can be shared in night shooting as seen here.

As we maxed out our video recording at 4K resolution, the OIS feature barely helped in producing a less jittery video playback. Still, it’s better than nothing.

The 16MP UltraPixel selfie camera, on the other hand, performed very well as it resulted in the right amount of sharpness on the image.

The rear camera of the HTC U Ultra could clearly be better, in which we are hoping to improve in the next software update.

Performance

At least, the HTC U Ultra packs a powerful Snapdragon 821 quad-core chipset that is being paired with 4GB of RAM. A large storage option with either 64GB or 128GB completes the package.

The Ultra runs on Android 7.0 Nougat on top of HTC Sense flavor that highlights the HTC Sense Companion. It’s a Google Assistant-based AI that tracks your daily routine. Anyways, this does not come pre-installed as the company is still working on it.

Furthermore, the UI experience comes with its own customizable theme manager, memory manager, region-locked Viveport for VR content and Blinkfeed for the latest news and weather updates.

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The raw performance of the Ultra belongs to the top, as backed up by its 143,209 high score points on our antutu benchmark. Everything went by a breeze but we noticed the back portion around the moniker warms up a bit, enough to make your hand sweat while being used.

Even the accurate fingerprint sensor is quick to unlock with 9 out of 10 successful tries for us.

Audio

A trademark of HTC to almost all of its smartphones is the HTC Boom Sound that creates a loud sound without compromising quality.

Compared to other high-end phones, Ultra takes it to the top even with its tinny output.

It only gets better with the Sonic U earphones that come along with the phone. If we may say, it’s one of the best quality that we’ve heard so far.

Battery

While we were hoping to end this on a high note, the 3000mAh battery of HTC U Ultra pulled it down a little bit.

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It’s below average life gave us a mere 3.5hours of screen time with 20.4hours of standby time.

The quick charge 3.0 feature did not help too much as we were able to cap it off at 2hours and 11mins.

Pricing and Verdict

HTC U Ultra currently retails in the US for $749USD or Php37,500. Once it hit Philippine shores, the price can fluctuate at least around Php3000.

While the audio quality pulls it ahead on the race, the battery, camera and even the design itself prevent it from finishing on a higher stand. In conclusion, HTC U Ultra is a glossy phablet that needs a little bit of polish.

HTC U Ultra Full Specs, Official PH Price, Release Date in the Philippines

SPECS, PH Price HTC U Ultra
Display 5.7-inch 1440p QHD Super LCD 5 515ppi, 2-inch 160×1040 secondary screen
Size 7.99mm thick, 170g weight
Design All ‘glossy’ glass unibody, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Colors Black, Blue, Pink, and White
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core chipset
Processor 4 x 2.15GHz Kyro
Graphics Adreno 530
Memory 4GB RAM, 64/128GB internal, microSD card up to 2TB
Main Camera 12MP f/1.8, UltraPixel 2, PDAF, 1.55-micron pixel, OIS, Laser AF, dual-tone LED flash
Multimedia 4k video with 3D audio, Slow motion @ 720p and 1080p, hi-res audio playback
Front camera 16MP BSI, UltraPixel mode
Connectivity GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz | WCDMA: 850/900/2100MHz |
4G LTE, WiFi ac, Bt 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, FM, dual-nano sim
OS Android 7.0 Nougat
Software HTC Sense
Battery 3000mah with Quick Charge 3.0
Ports USB Type-C
Official Price estimated at $749 or Php37,000
Availability date January 2017 in Taiwan, March 2017 in the Philippines
Where to buy Not yet available locally