For some strange reason, there is no more polarizing phone on the planet right now than the HTC U Ultra. Those who have actually used the device, are in love with it. Those that have not, seem to bash some of the decisions that HTC has made in the hardware. All of that said, I managed to get my hands on the HTC U Ultra for an extended period of time and have decided that overall, the U Ultra offers an “ultra” premium experience at an ultra premium price point. That said, can I honestly recommend a device that will set most users back $750? You bet I can, and here’s why.
The Secondary Display – Quick access to everything you need. From the hourly weather, to frequently used App, to instant contacts, the secondary display has it all. Probably the best part of this feature is what it does for battery life. 16 hours into the day, I’m still sitting pretty at over 50% left in the tank. I’m sure that passing the notification duties off to the secondary display has quite a bit to do with this.
The Battery Life – I touched on this above, but this thing seriously rocks the power consumption numbers. As I said above, I can easily power through a full day of usage and not have to run for a charger. My Note 5 hardly makes it a half day without needing me to find a power source. In fact, it’s so bad, I put a wireless charging pad on my desk to keep it topped up. Needless to say, that’s not an issue with the U Ultra. Even leaving it off the charger overnight only drains a few percentage points of the battery. I’m not sure how they did it, but frankly, if you are a heavy user, get this phone.
The Processor – HTC has been destroyed in the press/blogs for their decision to launch the Ultra with the Snapdragon 821 processor. That move by the ‘press’ makes me laugh a bit as the 821 is still – to this day – the fastest processor Qualcomm has ever released. Sure, there’s the SD835 coming soon, but for the moment, the SD821 is still the best around. When using the Ultra, there’s no log, no hesitation and no problem running the heaviest of Apps. When you combine this with the fact that the battery usage is so well optimized, I question the need for anything more in the Ultra – ever. It’s simply perfect for this device.
The Camera – Wow, what a bounce back for HTC. The HTC One or M7 as it later became known, began the journey down UltraPixel lane for them. It was a very, very good camera on a great phone. With the M8, they ditched optical image stabilization and went to the DuoCam. It was fun to play with, but I felt it was a step sideways, instead of forwards. The M9 was a complete course reversal as they jumped to a 20MP shooter, which never really did much for me. Then the 10 came along and has one of the top rated cameras in the industry. The Ultra continues this evolution with the finest HTC camera that I have ever used. Fast, clear, colorful. The Ultra camera captures the moment in less than a moment.
The Design – This is where HTC really knocked it out of the park. The Ultra not only looks incredible, but it feels at home in almost every hand that I’ve put it in. Comments like, “It’s so light!” “It feels so smooth.” “I love the feel.” “Is that glass?” “How did they bend the edges?” are just the beginning for what the Ultra will inspire from people. I could complain that they could have made the Ultra a touch thicker to allow for more battery, or ditching the camera hump, the fact of the matter is, the Ultra looks perfect, feels perfect and performs perfect for what 99% of the every day user will toss at it.
When I consider the fact that the HTC U Ultra checks so many of the right boxes for what users want in a phone, I have to wonder why is there such a horrible response from the peanut gallery? From the pricing to availability and the processor to the lack of a headphone jack, people seem to paint the Ultra into a poor light. Here’s a news flash though, I’ve been using a $15 pair of Bluetooth Headphones for years. My Note 5 has a glass bac already. The $31.20 a month price via PayPal Credit is no different than having T-Mobile take the money from me. Oh, and the availability is just fine, you can order your Ultra right now and have it pretty darn quickly. The hard part is deciding what color to get. I will give them this one though, I’d love to see a Verizon variant sooner than later.
If you want to know more about the HTC U Ultra, let me know what you’d like to know in the comments below.