HTC U Play and dual-screened U Ultra official

htc u ultra blueHTC has decided to unveil its new series of phones way ahead of MWC 2017. It’s the flagship U Ultra that packs a neat dual-screen and the more affordable U Play that have caught my eye.

HTC have streamed the launch of some lovliness.

I loved the aluminium unibody design of the M-series phones but HTC has changed it up again. Both of these new handsets sport a glossy, all-glass body.

Being HTC, though, they have employed an innovative approach that it calls Liquid Surface construction. This is designed to give the phones a fabulously reflective look.

Not only does the U Ultra look different from the rear, up front there is another innovation. The flagship phone is sporting a miniature secondary display on the front.

HTC U Ultra

htc u ultra Dual ScreenThe Dual Display technology essentially gives users quick access to their favourite apps and contacts.

It can also be modified to show reminders and notifications.

Think the Samsung Smart Edge side-ticker that appeared on the Note Edge.

htc u ultra pressU Ultra specs

While the 2.0-inch mini-display comes with a resolution of 160×1040, the Ultra boasts a 5.7-inch primary LCD screen with a resolution of 2560×1440.

Under the hood is a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage plus a MicroSD slot.

A slight over-sight, as far as I am concerned, is fitting a 3,000mAh battery to power all of that. There might well be some clever power management going on but I think regular recharging could be the order of the day.

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You also get a fingerprint scanner integrated into the home button underneath the main panel.

The phone sports a 12 MP rear camera with optical image stabilisation and HTC’s Ultrapixel sensor. Rather contradictory, the front camera of the U Ultra is an amazing 16 megapixels. It also has an UltraPixel mode that produces 4-megapixel snaps.

The U series abandons the standard headphone jack in favor of a unified USB-C port, but keeps the company’s much loved (by me anyhow) “BoomSound” speaker technology.

htc u ultra backThe phone-maker has also introduced its new Sense Companion, HTC’s own take on the digital assistant.

The solution will support various integrations with the secondary display, allowing for voice and touch interactions without powering up the primary screen.

The Ultra will run on a Sense-skinned Android 7.0 Nougat.

HTC U Play

The less ambitious U Play retains the styling of the U Ultra but ultimately comes with a downgraded 5.2-inch 1080p LCD screen and lacks the secondary display.

While all models will pack a MicroSD slot, the handset will be available in various configurations of storage and RAM, including 32GB/64GB and 3GB/4GB.

It will also come with a less powerful MediaTek Helio P10 processor.

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The Play features a conventional 16MP rear camera with a F/2.0 lens, which is mirrored on the front-facing module. Unlike the Ultra, however, it drops the UltraPixel sensor as well as the optical image stabilisation functionality.

HTC U price and availability

The U Play is slated to hit the shelves in early 2017, there’s no mention of the price, but chances are the phone will fit between the $400-500 range.

The U Ultra will be available for pre-orders on HTC’s website later today at a starting price of $749, with plans to start shipping later in March.

Details are up on HTC’s UK portal but no pricing or pre-order links at the time of publishing this.