HTC has announced the new U series of smartphones for 2017, starting with the U Ultra and U Play. Both of these are highly similar devices that ship with the company’s new HTC Sense Companion AI, a “liquid glass” back, and come in colours that aren’t just black and silver.
The HTC U Ultra is the bigger of the two new smartphones, fitted with a 5.7-inch 2K display. Powering this is a brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, and a choice between 64GB and 128GB of storage space. The storage can also be expanded via the microSD card slot which supports cards up to 2TB.
On the back, the U Ultra packs a new 12MP UltraPixel sensor with OIS, PDAF, laser AF, and auto HDR. The front camera, on the other hand, is a 16MP module with an “UltraPixel” mode.
An entirely new independent secondary display for notifications has been fitted on the front of the U Ultra. This second screen remains off for most of the time, and can be woken with a double tap. The types of notifications that appear here can be customised to suit the needs of the user.
Accompanying the HTC U Ultra announcement was the HTC U Play, a smaller and more “playful” device. The 5.2-inch FHD display is powered by a substantially less powerful Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10. Memory options are spread across two models; one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
The camera on the back is somewhat more traditional 16MP sensor with OIS, PDAF and Auto HDR, and is mirrored on the front as well. Unfortunately, it does not have any secondary display.
Both the HTC U Ultra and U Play are fitted with four microphones located all around them to facilitate HTC’s voice recognition and voice unlock. Despite this, the company has chosen to do away with the headphone jack in the continuation of a rather disturbing trend.
These phones will ship with Android 7.0 and be available in four colours, Brilliant Black, Ice White, Sapphire Blue, and Cosmetic Pink. There’s no information on when these devices will be made available, or how much they will cost either.
We also got to get up close with the HTC U Ultra and U Play during CES 2017, so head on over to take a look.