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HTC Released New Phones! Here's What You Need to Know

HTC just unveiled two new flagship phones. Get the scoop on the AI assistant, missing headphone jack, and more.
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HTC U Ultra

Having sent out invites in December for an announcement it was simply calling "U," HTC finally revealed what all the hubbub was about last week. The brand unveiled two new phones: the U Ultra and the U Play. Unfortunately, in some respects, these phones don't live up to the hype — or their high prices.

U Ultra

Price

The Ultra will take on the flagship role once occupied by the HTC 10, a phone that failed to impress or sell. There are several components that HTC hopes will help the Ultra stand out from the competition. With its price starting at $749, "the competition" are big-name lines like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy.

Headphone Jack

Like the iPhone, HTC has eliminated the headphone jack, instead including a set of USonic earphones to use via the phone's USB-C port. This decision, which has already garnered criticism, was partially to enable the earphones to be able to adjust to "your ears' unique architecture" via a sensor.

SEE ALSO: 7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Phone

Construction

Also immediately noticeable (and a questionable choice, according to some) is the Ultra's Liquid Surface construction featuring a glass back, which, though eye-catching, is slippery and fragile, making a case mandatory.

Perhaps less controversial is the band's second screen. This 160x1040p strip in the upper right corner above the 5.7" quad-HD primary screen will mostly serve as a place to receive notifications. It comes in blue, black, white, or pink.

Processor

Under the hood is a Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM. It's running the Android Nougat OS that may already seem outdated by the time the phones ship in March.

AI Assistant

More compelling is the phone's Sense Companion, an AI component that supposedly will do things like shut off your alarm on holidays and warn you of inclement weather as well as learn things like what kind of restaurants you tend to favor.

Camera

Similarly impressive is the Ultra's 12-megapixel Ultra Pixel rear-facing camera. It also comes with a 16-megapixel camera in the front.

SEE ALSO: Your Ultimate Guide to Samsung Galaxy S7 Accessories

Memory

It will first be available with 64GB of storage, expandable to 2TB with the MicroSD card slot — with a 128GB model coming in the near future.

Network

The Ultra will only support GSM, so Verizon and Sprint customers are out of luck.

U Play

Also unveiled was the U Play, which has many of the same features (USonic earphones, Sense Companion) paired with lesser specs. It has a smaller 5.2" 1080p screen, a Helio P10 processor, Android Marshmallow OS, and a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. Though prices and release dates haven't been revealed, it will be available in 32GB and 64GB models.

What do you think readers? How do HTC's new phones look to you? Let us know in the comments.


Senior Staff Writer

Stephen has been writing for such national and regional publications as The Village Voice, Paste, The Agit Reader, and The Big Takeover for 20 years, and has been covering consumer electronics and technology for DealNews since 2013.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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3 comments
youshouldntneedtoregisterforthis
The next big step in phones needs to be a better AI. Siri started out cool but hasn't advanced much since 2012.
Joe at Wala
I signed up just to have this comment on HTC: Spend your money on other phone if you can. Cases in point: the camera on my first HTC phone went "purple" after first year. The issue is well known, well documented, and could go undetected until someone take photo in the low light..like I did. but HTC asked for 200 buck to repair it. Forget it. The other HTC phone that my cousin own is dead after about 2 years, can't charge.
Beautiful phones, but not cheap. For the same money, there are many options out there.
joeschmoe443
"64GB RAM"

Storage is not RAM.
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