HTC U Ultra
HTC’S UBER-SIZED HANDSET OFFERS DOUBLE THE SCREENS, BUT IS IT ACTUALLY DOUBLE THE WIN?
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.