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HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play: what’s the difference?

And what's just the same? We take a close a look.
HTC U Ultra hero alt

After months of leaks and rumours, HTC’s new smartphones just got official.

The U Ultra and U Play are the Taiwanese company’s latest attempts at taking on major rivals Apple and Samsung, with spec sheets that are likely to impress mobile fans everywhere. But how do they differ from each other?

Read on and we’ll explain all. And help you decide which of the new Android–powered smartphones you should plump for.

Screen size and resolution

HTC Ultra and Ultra Play 2 sizes

The HTC U Ultra has a larger display than the less spec–heavy U Play, coming in at 5.7–inches.

That makes it slightly larger than Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7, both of which come in at 5.5–inches.

The HTC U Play has a 5.2–inch display. The latter is a Full HD 1080p effort, by no means unimpressive, but not as bright as the U Ultra’s Quad HD display, which has a resolution of 2560x1440.

Dual screen technology

HTC Ultra second screen notifications

The HTC U Ultra’s calling card is a dedicated second, two–inch screen, which appears at the top of the main display.

This appears while using the main screen but does not interrupt browsing or messaging, showing notifications as they come in and allowing you to respond.

HTC U Ultra second screen

It utilises the phone’s in–built artificial intelligence to give you context aware information, whether it’s an upcoming event in your calendar or a message from a priority contact that needs seeing to right away.

This dual screen only comes with the U Ultra, with the U Play featuring a standard smartphone display.


HTC U Ultra camera

The front–facing camera on both the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play is a 16-megapixel effort which can be switched to a special ‘Ultra Pixel’ mode to deliver improved performance in low light.

However, the U Ultra comes with a more powerful camera round the back, utilising HTC’s new UltraPixel 2 tech to take sharper images in low light situations.

There’s a 12 megapixel sensor, with phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and 4K video recording.

HTC U Play camera slide

The U Play, by comparison, has a standard 16-megapixel sensor that does not feature UltraPixel skills and shoots video in Full HD rather than 4K. Neither does it have OIS or the same autofocus smarts.


HTC U Ultra pink

While both phones are available in 64GB editions, HTC is also set to offer a 128GB version of the U Ultra, which features a toughened sapphire glass screen to prevent cracks and scratches.

The U Play is also up for grabs with 32GB of space for files, movies, music, games and apps.

Both phones feature microSD slots, meaning capacity can be easily boosted by a whopping 1TB if you ever run out of room.


HTC Ultra music and earphones 2

HTC’s efforts in the audio arena have marked its smartphones out for years. And the U Ultra is no different.

It comes with HTC’s improved BoomSound Hi–Fi tech and hi–res audio support, a boon for audiophiles.

3D audio recording means that videos don’t play back with tinny sound quality, either.

And new USonic smarts analyse your inner ears to ensure that the bundled headphones deliver perfect audio.

While the U Play has the latter, it doesn’t feature any of the other high–end sound tech found in the U Ultra.

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Category: Features
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