HTC has taken the wraps off two new smartphones — the U Play and U Ultra. As their names suggest, the former is geared towards the mid-range market, while the latter is aimed at power-hungry users looking for a high-end device with stellar specifications.
Both handsets ship with an intuitive AI assistant on board, which HTC is referring to as Sense Companion, and have seen the omission of the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack — a decision that proved to be a deterrent for potential customers of the firm's last smartphone, the Bolt.
As seen below you might say the larger of the two devices, the U Ultra, looks an awful lot like an amalgamation of an LG V10/V20 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7, adding a secondary notification screen on top like the LG's.
Both units sport an all-glass exterior that's been touted as crafted to mimic the properties of liquid. That's not necessarily a good thing, though. Apart from looking great, there aren't many benefits of opting for what HTC's calling a Liquid Surface construction. In fact, there aren't any. If you choose not to protect your phone with a case, it's "liquidy" build will almost definitely result in it slipping out of your hand.
Now, for the specs. The mid-range U Play sports a 5.2-inch Full HD display, a MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 16MP rear- and front-facing camera and a 2,500mAh battery.
The U Ultra is more impressive. Under its glass hood, it comes equipped with a 5.7-inch qHD screen (2560 x 1440), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64/128GB of expandable storage, a 12MP rear-facing camera, a 16MP selfie shooter, ultra-sensitive microphones and a 3,000mAh battery.
Aside from aesthetics and internals, the most noticeable difference between the two handsets is that the U Ultra adds that second display, discreetly positioned below the speaker grill. Like the LG V10 and V20, it can be used to show notifications, toggle shortcuts to frequent contacts, and manage music playback.
It'll probably come as a surprise to hear that the U Play will ship with Android 6.1.1 Marshmallow on board, whereas the U Ultra will be pre-loaded with the latest build of Android 7.0 Nougat. Both will be skinned with HTC's Sense UI.
The HTC U Ultra is available for pre-order starting today at $749, while the more compact 5.2-inch U Play will be available later for a yet undisclosed price in select markets only. In addition, HTC announced plans to offer a limited edition model of the U Ultra with a sapphire glass display and 128GB of internal storage — so if you're a die-hard HTC fan, that's something to look out for.