Let’s start with appearances.
When I first unveiled the HTC U Ultra from its packaging, it screamed “Look at me!” with its exceptionally large size and impressive sharp screen. My phone came in cosmetic pink; instead of looking plastic-y as most Android smartphones do, the U Ultra has a new glass-and-metal design, which is undoubtedly eye-catching and very attractive. Though I had some trouble holding it comfortably initially, it was easy to get used to. Despite its massive size, the U Ultra remained sleek and sophisticated.
The 5.7″ screen is stunning, perhaps because of the new, contoured liquid surface where colours bond to the glass in multiple layers. The dense pixels allow colours to pop well. Viewing pictures and watching videos was a visual pleasure on this big beauty. The 5.7″ (64 GB) model comes with curved edge Gorilla Glass while the 128GB model has a Sapphire Glass display.
You’d notice the HTC U Ultra’s new dual display feature, on a secondary screen on top of the main display. This secondary screen is designed to display notifications, upcoming calendar alerts, and other information.
Android 7.0 Nougat OS with HTC Sense Companion
As a faithful Android user for almost seven years now, I found Android 7.0 OS offers super-fast speed, much smoother than its predecessors.
Further, Android 7.0 OS works with HTC’s virtual assistant, the HTC Sense Companion. Designed to offer users an intuitive, personalised experience, the Sense Companion acts like your own personal assistant, which learns from your daily interaction with the phone to respond to your needs. To be able to use the HTC Sense Companion, you will simply have to create an HTC account.
The result is a super-responsive design that can be personalised. The HTC U Ultra’s selling point is its ultimate focus on user experience, making it all about U. The concept is somewhat similar to Google Now. For example, the Sense Companion will even prompt you to recharge your phone, unlock the phone with your voice (up to a two-metre range), notify you of bad weather, or recommend restaurants based on your searches on your phone, just like a personal Jarvis from Ironman.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor
The HTC U Ultra is powered by its high-end Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor. When using this phone, performance was fast, my applications launched almost immediately.
HTC U Sonic
The U Ultra is unique, in the sense that it comes with its own set of compatible headphones, the HTC U Sonic, which means you cannot use any other headphones or the traditional 3.5mm headphone adapters, as they are not supported by the U Ultra. Although this may seem like a downer, the HTC U Sonic was not too bad, given that it analyses your inner ears with a sonic pulse and adapts to you, just like a personal sound engineer. Some may love the bundling of the U Sonic headphones with the U Ultra for the added personalisation, while others may find it a hassle to always have to bring along the HTC U Sonic headphones wherever you go.
12MP main camera and 16MP UltraPixel Selfie Camera
Selfie-lovers, this phone is for you (if you can handle its size).
The 12MP main camera was awarded an industry leading DXO score of 88. When tested, the main camera works well and takes pretty good photographs outdoors and indoors even in low light. The new Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) makes it perfect for capturing sharper images at night, because of its super-fast laser focus and optical stabilisation.
For selfies, the front camera lets you switch between 16MP and UltraPixel. The 16MP front camera is decent, with high-resolution pictures, while the UltraPixel offers a 4x light sensitivity (perfect for candlelight dinners or low-light places). Further, the huge screen has an ultra-wide panorama mode that can fit more friends for a we-fie. What’s best is that it can take a full HD 1080p video recording.
RAM (4GB) and Internal Memory (64GB/128GB), Expandable Storage (2TB)
With its 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory, the U Ultra was great for me. It also supports 2TB of expandable storage, which is an insane amount of storage that tops most other smartphones.
The Dual SIM is great for frequent travellers or business executives, by having the option of toggling between two SIM cards within one phone.
Superb Battery Life and Charging Speed
The HTC U Ultra’s battery was able to last a full day out, which was a major plus point for me. With the Quick Charge 3.0 technology, this phone is great for people on the go and who need a phone with good battery life despite heavy usage.
There’s a reason why this model is called ‘Ultra’. It’s a Jack of all trades. If you can get over its large, bulky size, the HTC U Ultra is great for people who want a completely personalised experience, where everything is bundled into one.