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Hardware Overview and System Performance
The hardware inside the HTC U Ultra is nothing we haven't seen before. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and packs a typical range of connectivity including Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Category 11 LTE for up to 600 Mbps downloads.
As a quick refresher, the Snapdragon 821 is a quad-core SoC with two dual-core Kryo CPU clusters, one clocked at 2.15 GHz, and the other at 1.59 GHz. There's an Adreno 530 GPU typically clocked up to 624 MHz, plus a quad-channel LPDDR4 memory controller at 1866 MHz, good for 29.8 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
The HTC U Ultra also features hardware such as Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, A-GPS and microSD storage expansion. There's even USB 3.1 gen 1 connectivity through the USB-C port, which is a relatively rare inclusion, as many flagship devices still stick to USB 2.0. As for audio, the U Ultra supports high-res 24-bit/192kHz audio and active noise cancellation with the included headphones.
In general system and CPU-bound workloads, the HTC U Ultra performs on-par with other Snapdragon 820 and 821 devices. The Kirin 960, which uses more powerful ARM Cortex-A73 CPU cores, is around 15 percent faster on average, and we can expect similar or larger margins when the Snapdragon 835 hits.
For those upgrading from an older handset like the HTC One M9, which was powered by a Snapdragon 810, you can expect to see 60 percent greater CPU performance from the HTC U Ultra and its Snapdragon 821.