First look: HTC U Ultra big-screen flagship phone

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price _Revu Philippines a
HTC announced the HTC U Ultra (click for complete specs) in January 2017 at a post-CES press conference that attempted to hijack the spotlight away from phones that made their debut at the world’s biggest tech event.

Yesterday, we got our first good look at the Taiwanese phone maker’s big-screen flagship, courtesy of an executive tasked with rebuilding HTC’s business and reputation in the Philippines after almost four years of absence. And what better way to do that than to show off a huge — possibly intimidating — phone with massive appeal. To wit: Strangers have come up to us with questions about the phone and its maker.

SEE ALSO: Smartphone maker HTC set to return to PH soon

The HTC U Ultra is one of the two smartphones to have adopted the company’s new “liquid” hardware design. And it’s truly mesmerizing — most especially when planted on a table and light bounces off its reflective glass back. We’re particularly fond of the blue model we’ve played around with recently.

The admiring glances of people around us suggested we were not alone. Keeping it pristine, however, will take some effort; thankfully (and rightfully), the company includes a clear plastic case and a cleaning cloth in the box.

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price_Revu Philippines c

The HTC U Ultra, seen here with the HTC U Play (right), is truly mesmerizing — most especially when planted on a table and light bounces off its reflective glass back.

Handling isn’t as bad as some make it out to be, although the 5.7-inch display size plus the secondary 2-inch screen for displaying notifications, jumping into a favorite app, and more does make the U Ultra a challenge to use single-handed for anyone with small hands. The thick top and bottom bezels and hardware buttons also make it taller, and thus harder to pocket than most other smartphones.

READ ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S8+ review: The phone to beat in 2017

Notably, HTC has (again) dropped the headphone jack and pairs the U Ultra with Type-C earbuds for private listening. There’s also a square hump where the 12-megapixel main camera sits, which some may find inherently unattractive on a 2017 flagship.

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price_Revu Philippines c

HTC has (again) dropped the headphone jack and pairs the U Ultra with Type-C earbuds for private listening.

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price_Revu Philippines c

There’s a square hump where the HTC U Ultra’s 12-megapixel main camera sits.

As for the LCD display, it is a joy to use — bright and sharp and vibrant. About as good as it gets in today’s market. Meanwhile, the home button that doubles as a fingerprint reader can be found under the screen, sandwiched between the capacitive back and recent-apps keys. We would have wanted to see them centered on the lower bezel, where there’s plenty of wasted space.

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price_Revu Philippines c

The HTC U Ultra’s LCD display is bright, sharp, and vibrant.

HTC U Ultra preview, specs, price_Revu Philippines c

The home button that doubles as a fingerprint reader can be found under the HTC U Ultra’s screen, sandwiched between the capacitive back and recent-apps keys.

Unfortunately, we were not able to try out the cameras on the HTC U Ultra, and we can’t tell you yet how well it performs in the day-to-day grind. What we can tell you is that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor that powers the assembly is among the best money can buy, and that the 4GB of RAM that accompanies it is more than enough to ensure everything runs smoothly.

SEE ALSO: Meet the smartphone that now has the highest-rated camera

There’s plenty to like about the HTC U Ultra inside and out. But it’s impossible to make a clean judgment without knowing how much it will retail for when it officially hits the streets. In the U.S., though, it’s priced at $749 or approximately P37,326 off contract.

A release in June isn’t out of the question, we’re told, though July might be a more realistic guess. Other HTC phones expected to be available locally include the HTC Desire 10 Pro, One A9s, U Play, and the more recently announced U11.

We are currently putting the HTC U Play and Desire 10 Pro through their paces, so expect a review soon.

Unboxing the HTC U Ultra

Share this Post


Learn About This Author

Ramon Lopez

Facebook Twitter Google+

Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has nine years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between. His latest addiction is the comments section of viral Facebook posts.