Jan 31st, 2017

Unveiled a few weeks back, the HTC U Ultra is HTC’s latest attempt to steal your attention away from the competition. Some may see the U Ultra as a ripoff of the LG V20 wrapped in the body of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but there are a few features which set the U Ultra apart.

Smarter notifications

The HTC U Ultra is the first HTC smartphone with a secondary display on the front. While it may look like HTC is simply copying what LG has done with the V10 and V20, HTC is actually using this display much differently. Yes, it can be customized to show your favorite contacts, the time or a custom message, but its real benefit is that it will reply on the HTC Sense Companion (the U Ultra’s built-in AI) to learn which notifications are most important to you and separate them from the dozens of other notifications which constantly fill your notification panel. This means you’ll see the information you actually care about without having to wade your way through notifications from games, app updates and those annoying reminders from Facebook that someone’s birthday is coming up.

Impeccable design

HTC is known for introducing us all to the aluminum unibody smartphone, but the company has decided to chance tact with the U Ultra. It still sports a metal frame, but it’s sandwiched between two panes of glass which cover the front and back of the phone. HTC is calling it a “Liquid Surface Design.” The result is a gorgeous device which looks just as stunning as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

There’s no denying that the U Ultra will be a fingerprint magnet, but that shouldn’t matter is you’re looking for a phone that has a sense of style.

Sapphire glass option

One of the features which nearly all smartphone enthusiasts have been craving for the past few years is sapphire glass protecting the phone’s display. The standard version of the HTC Ultra may sport Gorilla Glass 5, but HTC will be releasing a limited edition U Ultra which will feature sapphire glass on the front. To help justify the phone’s higher price, it will also come with 128GB of internal storage.

UltraPixel front-facing camera

The UltraPixel branding has been around for a while, but it seems to evolve with every year that passes. The U Ultra’s 16MP front-facing camera offers Selfie-Panorama and auto-HDR modes, but its best trick is its UltraPixel mode which produces a digitally enhanced 4MP image which combines all the data captured why the 16MP sensor to produce an image which is brighter. This means you get better-looking pictures which you take selfies in low light.

Adaptive Audio

You might be disappointed to hear that the HTC U Ultra doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but at least the company didn’t give you standard audio over USB-C and call it a day. The included headphones use HTC’s new USonic technology which scans your inner ear with a sonic pulse and then creates a custom audio profile specifically tuned for you. It might sound like a gimmick, but you can actually hear the difference.

I’m not saying that the HTC U Ultra is the perfect phone, but it’s far from being a bad one. If anything, the HTC U Ultra is exactly what HTC fans have been craving for a long time – a flagship-level phablet which can hold its own when compared to the LG V20 or the Huawei Mate 9’s of the world. HTC is currently taking pre-orders, but I’m hoping that the phone hits the market before LG, Sony and Samsung steal the attention back from HTC with the unveiling of their 2017 flagship devices in the coming months.

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