HTC U Ul­tra


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Huge phone screens are here to stay, but in a mar­ket full of su­per­sized screen of­fer­ings, phone mak­ers are hav­ing to add some re­ally fancy fea­tures to stay ahead. The head­line fea­ture of the HTC U Ul­tra is its dual-screen de­sign. While the colos­sal QHD 5.7-inch dis­play is the first thing to catch your at­ten­tion – its 2560 x 1440 res­o­lu­tion is bright, glare-free, colour-rich and crisp – the sec­ondary 2.05-inch screen sit­ting along­side the front-fac­ing cam­era is an eye-opener. This tiny dis­play has a res­o­lu­tion of 160 x 1040, and re­veals a se­ries of apps which you can scroll through.

The sec­ondary screen, though novel, does have its uses: you get a glimpse of what’s hap­pen­ing in your apps, even when your phone is on standby. It’ll also dis­play events while you’re work­ing on the main screen, en­abling you to carry on work­ing with­out be­ing in­ter­rupted. An­noy­ingly, it doesn’t ac­tu­ally show much, so you’ll need to open the app to re­veal more.

The HTC U Ul­tra has a glass back de­sign called ‘liq­uid sur­face’, which com­bines glass and metal, and it looks pretty stun­ning from afar – es­pe­cially the sap­phire blue vari­ant.

The back of the phone is sub­tly curved and feels nice to hold, al­low­ing for a bet­ter grip than you’d ex­pect. It’s wider than Sam­sung’s S7 Edge, and a touch heav­ier too.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the iPhone, the U Ul­tra’s lack of a ded­i­cated head­phone port means your reg­u­lar wired head­phones won’t work. In­stead, you’ll have to opt for a Blue­tooth head­set or use the HTC ear­buds in­cluded, which con­nect to the USB-C port at the bot­tom of the phone. The ob­vi­ous down­side here is you can’t charge your phone and lis­ten to mu­sic on the wired head­phones at the same time. The U Ul­tra is also, oddly, lack­ing HTC’s BoomSound tech which im­proved au­dio in the HTC 10.

The U Ul­tra is pack­ing a top-ofthe-range pro­ces­sor. It’s not Galaxy S7-quick but per­for­mance is re­spectable. What isn’t so good is the bat­tery – a 3,000mAh unit is not enough con­sid­er­ing the hefty pro­ces­sor and bright screen on of­fer, though you’ll still get a day’s use.

You’d ex­pect a kick-ass cam­era to be a high­light of a phone as pricey as the U Ul­tra, but the aut­o­fo­cus isn’t fan­tas­tic and pho­tos don’t stand up against those from the likes of the iPhone 7 or Google Pixel. The front-fac­ing shooter is se­ri­ously ca­pa­ble, how­ever. The sen­sor is 16MP – even big­ger than the U Ul­tra’s rear shooter, un­usu­ally – and of­fers video record­ing at Full HD as well as an auto HDR mode. If you’re more of a selfie snap­per than a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher, it’s ideal.

The HTC U Ul­tra phone has some im­pres­sive fea­tures, a stun­ning screen and unique look. The trou­ble is that, at $1,199, you ex­pect flag­ship fea­tures, and you can get an S7 Edge (al­beit, a 32GB model – half the stor­age) for the price, which is a bet­ter phone over­all.

ABOVE RIGHT With its liq­uid sur­face de­sign, the U Ul­tra of­fers an at­trac­tive, unique look ABOVE The main draw of the U Ul­tra is a stun­ning, pix­el­packed screen, with a sec­ondary dis­play for quick app ac­cess

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