HTC

HTC

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

0

Earlier today HTC unveiled latest flagship smartphone, the U Ultra, which represents a whole new chapter for the company. What changes does the U Ultra bring over the HTC 10? Quite a few actually.

First, there’s the obvious change from metal to glass, but that’s only the beginning. The HTC U Ultra also breaks convention from HTC’s past by launching much earlier than the company’s typical flagships. And then there’s the fact the the HTC U series ditches the number-based nomenclature of its predecessors.

It is pretty obvious HTC wants the U Ultra and its mid-range brother, the U Play, to stand out from the HTC we’ve become familiar with over the years. The name change and material switch certainly have our attention, but with so many flagship devices on the market, it’ll need to do a lot more than that to win our affection. With that in mind, let’s jump into a look at the top HTC U Ultra features that you should know.

See also:

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

14 hours ago

The secondary display

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

Along with its main 5.7-inch Quad HD display, the HTC U Ultra also has a secondary display on top that’s just two inches and has a resolution of 160 x 1040. This is similar to the secondary display that can be found on the LG V10 and the LG V20. In the case of HTC’s new phone, the smaller display is designed to show notifications, contacts and more, and certain apps could access the display exclusively.

The 16MP front-facing camera with ‘UltraPixel’ mode

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

If you like to take selfies, the HTC U Ultra may be the smartphone for you. It has a 16MP front-facing camera, which means you are getting a sensor in the front that many high-end smartphones put in the back. In addition, the camera can be switched from the normal high resolution mode to what the company is calling UltraPixel mode. UltraPixel mode is supposed to be four times more sensitive to light compared to the normal mode, which should make it great for taking low-light photos.

The rear 12MP camera is no slouch, either.

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

The HTC U Ultra’s rear camera is supposed to offer some improvements compared to the one found on the older HTC 10. It has an UltraPixel 2 camera sensor for low-light pictures, along with laser autofocus, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), a 1.55µm pixel size, and an f/1.8 aperture. All in all, its rear camera is packed with pro features.

See also: HTC 10 review

The audio hardware and features are impressive, but there’s no headphone jack

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

HTC has tried to be a leader in offering better audio in its smartphones, and the HTC U Ultra is no different. It adds the company’s trademark BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers, with a tweeter above and a woofer below. It also has four high-sensitivity omnidirectional microphones for better positional sounds when you record or film an event. In addition, it comes with something called HTC USonic, which is supposed to optimize headset audio by sending in sonar-like pulses inside your inner ear.

HTC has also decided to join in on the trend in ditching the standard 3.5mm headphone jack with the HTC U Ultra. That means you will either have to hook up a USB Type-C adapter to keep using your old wired headphones, or get a wireless pair. HTC will be offering its own USB Type-C USonic earphones with the phone.

It has its own AI assistant, Sense Companion

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

HTC is joining the bandwagon of companies that want to improve your life by adding an AI-driven digital assistant in your smartphone. The HTC U Ultra will support what the company calls Sense Companion. It will learn from your actions and send out notifications and suggestions to help you out in your day, such as a reminder to take an extra battery with your phone if you are going on a longer trip.

Sense Companion will have voice command features that will let you unlock the phone with just your voice. It will also integrate with Google Assistant, the AI that’s available in Google’s Pixel phones. It’s important to note that Sense Companion may not be available with the HTC U Ultra out of  the box when it officially launches, but it will be added in a future update.

The phone has a sleek contoured glass design

HTC U Ultra: The top features you should know

The HTC U Ultra ditches the metallic look of the company’s previous phones for a glass design. The company says the look of the phone was made in a new process so that the colors bond into the glass in multiple layers. The glass is then molded around the sides and edges of the phone. The phone will come in Sapphire Blue, Ice White and Brilliant Black colors, and some parts of the world will also be able to get the phone in a Cosmetic Pink color.

Pre-order now!

The unlocked version of the HTC U Ultra is being sold right now on the company’s website for the price of $749, and will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks. Shipments of the phone are scheduled to begin mid-March. At the moment, there’s no word on if any US wireless carriers will also be selling the phone via their monthly device payment plans, so unlocked is your only option right now.

Pre-order the HTC U Ultra

Next: HTC U Ultra vs the competition: who wins in the hardware battle?

Is the U Ultra what HTC needs right now?

0

Just a few weeks ago we asked whether it was time for HTC to come up with a new smartphone design, and it appears that the call was heard with the launch of the new U Ultra. However, a move over to a Samsung Galaxy, LG V20 hybrid was not necessarily what we were asking for. This begs the question, is the U Ultra something wonderful and new from HTC, or just a clone of other company’s innovations?

At a glance, the HTC U Ultra is a compelling flagship offering, with top of the line processing, display, and camera hardware. HTC has also gone into overdrive on the added extras, including Quick Charge, BoomSound speakers, and even making an early leap into the personal assistant space, rivaling the likes of Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant. The only real complaint we’ve seen on the hardware side is the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack. This will be a shame for many and a deal breaker for others, but there are workarounds and HTC clearly views a digital future for audio accessories. As Apple might say, this could be seen as courage.

The HTC U Ultra is a compelling flagship with top of the line processing, display, and camera hardware, and with a myriad of extras.

However that’s probably the only bold statement made by the U Ultra. The handset’s design and selling features only really go to show that HTC is still playing catch up to its competitors, rather than pulling the industry forward on its own terms as it once did. I previously criticized HTC for continuing to build handsets with an outdated and overused design language, and yet here we are with a “new” look that just screams Samsung Galaxy.

Don’t miss: HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

I’m not sure if the look of the HTC U Ultra is deliberately designed to capitalize on the absence of the Galaxy Note 7, but I can’t imagine it working out in HTC’s favour because the design is so close. Consumers may well be interested in Note 7 alternatives this year, but that doesn’t mean they want something that looks the part but differs on features. “Is that a Note 7?” “Oh no, it’s the new HTC U Ultra” is a conversation that I imagine customers would tire of quickly. Not to mention there’s no S-Pen.

Is the U Ultra what HTC needs right now?
Is the U Ultra what HTC needs right now?

The same copycat issue rears its head with many of the U Ultra’s other identifying features too, albeit borrowing from the less well known LG V20 and Pixel XL. For HTC, this is a timing problem more than anything, as I could have bought a V20 last year if I wanted the secondary ticker display, and the Pixel XL if I was keen for a virtual assistant. Remember, the phone won’t actually be hitting the US until March, and I can see little reason to wait.

That said, it would be unfairly harsh to lambast HTC for identifying useful features and wanting to integrate them into its own products, and hopefully do so better than others. After all, phones have borrowed a lot from each other over the years and iterated to produce better features. Lately this includes fingerprint scanners and dual camera setups, and I actually think that the U Ultra’s overall hardware package is certainly the most impressive from the company in a long time.

Also read: HTC U Ultra vs the competition: who wins the hardware battle?

However, the problem for HTC’s latest flagship is that this all comes together to produce a smartphone that doesn’t have any huge firsts to call its own. Instead, it’s more likely to be known as the phone that copied, even if it ends up providing a better overall experience than previous implementations. For me, HTC’s biggest problem at the moment is one of brand recognition. Both in terms of a unique look for the broader public and unique cutting edge features to entice the tech savvy. The U Ultra doesn’t do anything to address this.

The U Ultra certainly offers more for your money than other recent HTC flagships, but is that enough?

To return to a more positive note, the U Ultra addresses my other big complaint about HTC’s recent flagship phones, and that’s the value for money. I would argue that the HTC 10, Bolt and even the One M9 didn’t offer enough to warrant the huge price difference between them and cost effective flagships like the OnePlus 3T or the Honor 7 or 8.

This all changes with the U Ultra, it’s feature packed to the brim with notable extras for music and movie enthusiasts, selfie addicts, and it has lept into the AI market early, which is a trend I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more about this year. This handset certainly sets HTC back on the right path in terms of premium features, but it’s not clear if there’s enough unique about the model to recapture interest in the way that the One M7 and M8 did.

As you can probably tell, I’m quite torn on the U Ultra. On balance though, despite an impressive looking spec sheet, the U Ultra shows HTC to be more of a follower rather than a leader, at least when it comes to hardware. That’s really not where the company needs to be if it wants to turn its smartphone business back around. Where do you stand on HTC’s latest flagship?

What’s the deal with HTC’s new voice-controlled assistant?

0

HTC has revealed a new voice-controlled assistant, Sense Companion, alongside its U Ultra phablet earlier today. The digital assistant delivers content to a second display at the top-right of the Taiwanese manufacturer’s new device, and will provide similar functions to the likes of Google Assistant or Siri. Here’s what we know about it so far.

HTC’s Sense Companion is an AI assistant which merges voice-control and contextual suggestions help users in their daily lives. It’s a standalone product, but it also integrates with Google Assistant, meaning it doesn’t directly compete with that service.

HTC says Sense Companion can suggest that you wear warmer clothes and leave a little early from work if it’s supposed to snow, remind you to pack a power bank if you’re taking a long trip, and even recommend a restaurant when you’re away and book seats for you.

Those are just a few examples and, while interesting, they are also within the realm of what’s capable on competing products. However, HTC also states that the Sense Companion will “get to know you better over time,” to make the device more intuitive to use.

See also:

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

9 hours ago

HTC claims that Sense Companion can learn which notifications you’re most interested in to adjust which ones you receive in the future. Similar features have already been on smartphones, like how the Huawei Mate 9 uses machine learning to re-organize apps and prioritize the ones that are used most frequently. It’s not yet clear how else HTC will apply this aspect of technology but the company says it will continue to develop Sense Companion after its release, meaning new functions could be added in time.

HTC’s Sense Companion also employs the U Ultra’s four always-listening microphones for voice activation — even when the display is off. “Just say the word to take or reject incoming calls, snooze or dismiss an alarm, send messages and even begin hands-free navigation,” says HTC (the company has yet to reveal what the trigger word actually is). Additionally, Sense Companion allows users to unlock the U Ultra using just their voice.

The HTC U Ultra will be launched in March in the US and you pre-order it from today.

What are your thoughts on its new AI? Let us know in the comments.

HTC U Ultra versus the competition: Who wins in the hardware battle?

0

HTC has just unveiled the U Ultra, and it’s fair to say that the phone has drawn quite a bit of inspiration from some of the best phablet flagships over the past couple of years. There’s a secondary display straight from the LG V series, a design that more reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy range, and even a virtual assistant that sounds an awful lot like the Google Assistant from the Pixel and Pixel XL.

See also:

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

4 hours ago

Of course, HTC has added its own twist on things, including a range of its sought-after technologies and a few new ones. So here’s how the HTC U Ultra stacks up against the competition on the hardware front.

 HTC U UltraLG V20Pixel XLMate 9 / Porsche DesignGalaxy S7 edge
Display5.7-inch QHD LCD
(2560x1440)
5.7-inch QHD LCD
(2560x1440)
5.5-inch QHD AMOLED
(2560x1400)
5.9-inch FullHD /
5.5-inch QHD
5.5-inch QHD AMOLED
(2560x1400)
SoCSnapdragon 821Snapdragon 820Snapdragon 821Kirin 960Exynos 8890 or
Snapdragon 820
CPU4x 2.15GHz Kryo4x 2.15GHz Kryo4x 2.15GHz Kryo4x 2.4GHz Cortex-A73
4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53
4x 2.3GHz Samsung M1 +
4x 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 or
4x 2.15GHz Kryo
GPUAdreno 530Adreno 530Adreno 530Mali-G71 MP8Mali-T880 MP12 or
Adreno 530
RAM4GB4GB4GB4GB / 6GB4GB
Storage64 / 128GB32 / 64GB32 / 128GB64GB32 / 64GB
MicroSD?YesYesNoYesYes

Processor wise, we’re looking at the familiar Snapdragon 821 found in the likes of the Pixel XL, OnePlus 3T and others. On the RAM side, the HTC U Ultra comes equipped with 4GB, which matches what we’ve come to expect from phablets, but doesn’t match the extreme 8GB RAM packed into the recently announced ASUS Zenfone AR. Flash memory option are also equally comparable with the handset’s main competitors, although customers won’t have the option of a cheaper 32GB model of the U Ultra.

HTC U Ultra versus the competition: Who wins in the hardware battle?

There are only some minor tweaks over the Snapdragon 820 that powered the majority of last year’s flagship handsets and performance is pretty much a match between all of these flagships. Some may be disappointed not to see Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 on board, but that will most likely appear in the HTC 11, or whatever it ends up being called.

The U Ultra’s display is also a very familiar sight. The 5.7-inch LCD5 panel boasts a QHD (2560×1440) resolution, offering as crisp an image as any of the other phones in our comparison. Interestingly, there’s an option of Gorilla Glass 5 protection with the 64GB model and Sapphire Glass with the 128GB version. The 2-inch secondary ticker display boasts a resolution of 1040×160, which is identical to resolution the 2.1-inch secondary panel included with the LG V20, so they have a virtually indistinguishable pixel density.

 HTC U UltraLG V20Pixel XLMate 9 / Porsche DesignGalaxy S7 edge
Cameras12MP f/1.8 rear with OIS, PDAF and laser AF
16MP front
16MP f/1.8 + 8MP f/2.4 rear with OIS, laser & PDAF
5MP f/1.9 front
12.3MP f/2.0 rear with OIS
8MP front
12MP RGB + 20MP monochrome f/2.0 rear with laser AF & 2x zoom
8MP front
12MP f/1.7 rear with OIS & PDAF
5MP f/1.7 front
Battery3,000mAh3,200mAh3,450mAh4,000mAh3,000mAh
NFCYesYesYesYesYes
FingerprintYesYesYesYesYes
Fast ChargeQuick Charge 3.0Quick Charge 3.0YesSuperChargeYes
IP RatingNoNoNoNoIP68
3.5mm audioNoYesYesYesYes
ExtrasUSB Type-C, Boomsound, Hi Res audio, HTC Sense CompanionUSB Type-C, MIL-STD-810G certified, 32-bit/192kHz audioUSB Type-C, Daydream, Google AssistantUSB Type-C, DaydreamWireless Charging, Samsung Pay
OSAndroid 7.0Android 7.0Android 7.1Android 7.1Android 6.0

The HTC U Ultra’s camera package will be familiar to company regulars. It’s a 12MP UltraPixel 2 sensor, which uses large 1.55um sized sensor pixels that, in theory, should result in more light capture and better quality shots. These pixel diodes are even larger than the 1.4um sizes found inside the impressive Pixel XL and Galaxy S7 cameras, but we’ll reserve judgement until we can do a hands-on comparison, as HTC’s processing algorithms have often let its cameras down in the past.

The rear camera configuration also comes with optical image stabilization for smooth looking video capture and better low light shots, along with PDAF and laser autofocus modules. While PDAF and OIS are standard across the range, laser auto focus still only features in a small number of handsets and should allow the U Ultra to focus a little quicker than others when taking shots at close quarters. The front camera offers an 16MP resolution, which is far better than most and should produce sharper looking selfies. The camera can also function in “UltraPixel mode” to lower the resolution but increase light sensitivity. Overall, HTC’s latest camera offering seems promising, if not pushing the boundaries with dual camera tech that you’ll find in phones like the Huawei Mate 9.

On to extras and there’s quite a lot packed into the HTC U Ultra, as you might expect from a phone with such a name. Along with the familiar fingerprint scanner, NFC, and BoomSound speaker features, which includes a tweeter and woofer combine, HTC has also included Quick Charge 3.0, a USB Type-C port, and high resolution audio support. Audio buffs may be disappointed to note the absence of a 3.5mm audio jack on the handset, so you’ll have to use a USB Type-C adapter to connect the phone up to traditional wired headphones. Avid music listeners may get a kick out of the company’s USonic inner ear analysis, which is certainly a unique feature although we’re not sure exactly how useful it is.

One of the more interesting inclusions with HTC’s phablet is its Sense Companion. “Artificial intelligence” is shaping up to be the next big flagship smartphone feature and HTC appears to be launching its in-house model a little earlier than most of the competition. Google Assistant in the Pixel XL and Alexa in the Mate 9 US model are the only real competitors on the market right now, unless you count Google Now.

Overall, the HTC U Ultra is an impressive handset that combines excellent base hardware with a wide range of tantalizing extras. The phone is certainly one of, if not the most feature packed smartphones from the company to date, and looks to be a real contender with the best on the market right now. With the Galaxy Note 7 now absent from the phablet market, HTC looks poised to capitalize with the U Ultra.

How do you think that the HTC U Ultra compares with other supersized handsets on the market right now?

HTC announces the mid-range HTC U Play

0

https://youtu.be/kQ_lPUdKFIE

Editor’s note: HTC did not allow us to record any footage of the HTC U Ultra and U Play due to the non-final software.

While the new HTC U Ultra is certainly the star of the new U line-up, the U Play is the perfect mid-range device for HTC fans that want something a bit smaller and don’t mind less aggressive specs as as result.

Read: HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Not only is the HTC U Play smaller than its more powerful brother, it also offers a somewhat different take on design. While both phones swap metal for glass this time around, different camera shapes and other refinements make it pretty easy to tell the two models apart, in addition to the obvious size difference.

On the spec side of things, the HTC U Play is powered by a MediaTek Helio processor and offers a more modest 5.2-inch 1080p display. Other specs include 32 or 64GB storage with microSD for expansion, a 16MP rear camera, a 16MP front cam with UltraPixel switching tech, and a 2,500 mAh battery.

HTC announces the mid-range HTC U Play

The specs here obviously aren’t as premium as the U Ultra, but they are still pretty solid, including little extras like high-quality sound and USonic adaptive sound that figures out the optimal sound conditions for your ear based on the noise around it.

HTC announces the mid-range HTC U Play

For a full look at what is under the hood, check out the spec sheet below:

Display5.2-inch Super LCD display with 1920x1080 resolution
ProcessorOcta-core 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 processor
RAM3/4 GB
Storage32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 2 TB
Camera16 MP rear camera, OIS, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, dual tone LED flash
16 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
Battery2,500 mAh
SoftwareAndroid 7.0 Nougat
Dimensions145.99 x 72.9 x 3.5-7.99 mm
145 grams

On the software front, the HTC U Play offers Android 7.0 Nougat with Sense on top. That also means you get the brand new Sense Companion, just like the HTC U Ultra.

HTC announces the mid-range HTC U Play

What is this companion feature exactly? Basically it is a personal assistant that HTC is always learning from your habits and can remind you of all sorts of things like if you need to give your phone a little extra charge to make it through the day depending on your schedule, recommending restaurants, warning you to leave for work early based on weather and road conditions, and more.

Not much is known about the pricing or release details for the HTC U Play just yet, other than we can expect it in “select global markets” in early 2017. What do you think of the mid-range U Play, would you consider picking one up if the price is right? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

0

It is no secret that HTC has had a rough couple of years, despite once being one of the great kings of the Android world. While the HTC One M7 and One M8 were both positive steps in the right direction for HTC, the HTC One M9 was arguably a pretty big stumbling point for the company, with many criticizing its design, camera, and more. Last year HTC attempted yet again to turn things around with the HTC 10. It’s true that the phone was better received than its predecessor, but unfortunately it largely failed to make the mark that the company was hoping for.

Enter the HTC U family.

Arriving significantly earlier than previous HTC flagships, the HTC U family has two different models, the high-end U Ultra and the mid-range HTC U Play. In this post we’ll be focusing on the former.

Read: HTC announces the mid-range HTC U Play

Editor’s note: HTC did not allow us to record any footage of the HTC U Ultra and U Play due to the non-final software.

It’s still unclear whether the HTC U Ultra is meant to replace the HTC 10 or is merely a new lineup and a bit of a stopgap until their next flagship, though given its larger overall size, we’d say it probably is meant to compliment HTC’s smaller flagship range. That’s all unconfirmed at the moment though.

So what does the HTC U Ultra bring to table? Let’s dive in and find out.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

HTC U Ultra specifications

Display5.7-inch Super LCD5 display with Quad HD resolution
2.0-inch secondary display with 160 x 1040 resolution
Processor2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
Adreno 530 GPU
RAM4 GB
Storage 64/128 GB
expandable via microSD up to 2 TB
Camera12 MP HTC Ultrapixel 2 camera, 1.55μm pixel, laser auto focus, PDAF, OIS, f/1.8 aperture, dual tone LED flash
16 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
NFC
GPS + GLONASS
USB Type-C (USB 3.1)
SoftwareAndroid 7.0 Nougat
Battery3,000 mAh
Dimensions162.41 x 79.79 x 3.6-7.99mm
170 grams

While it would have been nice to see the HTC U Ultra launch with the brand new Snapdragon 835, the phone still rocks pretty solid specs including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, 4GB RAM, and either 64 or 128GB storage, as well as microSD expansion up to 2TB. However, one of the biggest spec standouts is the display.

The HTC U Ultra’s screen is significantly larger than the HTC 10’s 5.2-inch display at 5.7-inches with a resolution of QHD. Even more interesting, HTC  has seemingly taken a page from LG’s playbook, introducing a 2-inch secondary display above the main one, with a resolution of 160 x 1040. As you’d imagine, this second display is for notifications, contacts, reminders, and even certain special apps.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Under that display is a button configuration that is very familiar to those who used the HTC 10 or the A9. With the HTC U Ultra you once again get a home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which HTC promises is as fast and efficient as ever. And on top you’ll find a front facing 16MP camera that also can be easily switched to “UltraPixel” mode, giving you “unparalleled light sensitivity” or a high resolution, depending on your situation.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Moving around back, you’ll find a 12MP UltraPixel 2 camera sensor with laser autofocus, phase detection autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), a 1.55µm pixel size, and an f/ 1.8 aperture. At least on paper, this camera sounds very similar to the HTC 10, but considering the 10 had a pretty solid camera, this certainly isn’t a bad thing.

Just like the HTC 10, you get a non-removable 3000 mAh battery, though it’s hard to say what this means for battery life, considering the display is a great deal larger than the 10. Of course you still get Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 so you can charge your phone back up in a hurry, even if you do end up running it down.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the spec sheet, but we have to point out one area that isn’t so positive: the headphone jack is gone. As we saw with Apple last year, HTC has removed the headphone jack to save on a little internal space. Whether this is a deal breaker or not probably depends on your own personal tastes and needs.

HTC U Ultra design, features, and software

After years of offering a metallic design, HTC is finally making a massive switch with the HTC U Ultra. This time around, HTC opts for a 3D contoured glass design that we can’t help but feel is quite familiar to what we’ve seen from companies like Samsung and even Honor. Of course the overall look still has some traditional HTC flair, but in a package that certainly is quite a bit different than year’s past. Whether this is an upgrade or downgrade in design is largely a subjective matter, of course.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

HTC is well-known for its audio prowess and this continues here with the U Ultra. The iconic BoomSound Hi-Fi speakers are present here, wit ha tweeter above and a woofer below, as well as four omnidirectional mics that capture positional sound. There’s also a unique new HTC U Sonic feature that reportedly analyzes your inner ear with sonar-like pulses, and then attempts to your ears to optmize the headset sound and quality specifically too your ears. Like HTC says in its official press release “Whether you’re in a library or at a party, you can adapt your headset to suit noise levels around you.”

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Without a headphone jack, HTC leaves out one area it is known for, though we imagine that its wireless sound support is also top notch, and you can, of course, except some kind of USB-C audio adapter for those that want to use existing wired headphones with the U Ultra.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

On the software front the HTC U Ultra runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Sense technology. While we can’t speak much on all the features found in the latest version of Sense just yet, HTC is highlighting some new AI/Assistant features. The brand new Sense Companion is a personal companion that always is learning from your habits and can remind you of all sorts of things like if you need to give your phone a little extra charge to make it through the day depending on your schedule, recommending restaurants, warning you to leave for work early based on weather and road conditions, and more.

HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

HTC says that this technology is made to evolve the more you use it, and the company will also likely continue updating and upgrading its function set in the months (and years) to come. In addition, the HTC U Ultra features advanced voice recognition, responding even if your phone is asleep, letting your rject calls, take calls, dismiss alarms and more — all from your voice.

HTC U Ultra pricing and availability

The HTC 10 Ultra will go up for pre-sale later today, exclusively at htc.com. No word on exact pricing just yet, though we’re sure details will surface very soon. As for color choices? While we imagine not all colors will be offered in every market, the currently announced choices are Brilliant Black, Cosmetic Pink, Ice White,  and Sapphire Blue.

With an all new design and plenty of special features, the HTC U Ultra certainly stands apart from its past brothers, but is this enough to make it a success? Let us know what you think down in the comments below.

Images of HTC Ocean Note phablet leak ahead of tomorrow’s launch

0

HTC will announce at least one new device at its press conference, which kicks off tomorrow, January 12. According to the latest rumors, we can expect the company to take the wraps off a smartphone codenamed Ocean Note.

Recently, images of the rumored device have been posted online that show the upcoming phablet in all its glory. We can see that the Ocean Note — might launch as the U Ultra — will feature a glass back, a front-facing fingerprint scanner, and a secondary display above the main one, which we have already seen on LG’s V series of smartphones. The images also show that the device won’t have the 3.5mm headphone jack and will come in a few different colors including blue and silver.


Unfortunately, specifications of the HTC Ocean Note are currently still unknown. There are some rumors going around claiming that the device might sport a 6-inch QHD display, the Snapdragon 835 chipset, and 4 GB of RAM, but they obviously haven’t been confirmed yet. All will be revealed tomorrow when HTC’s phablet will finally see the light of day.

Images of HTC Ocean Note phablet leak ahead of tomorrow’s launch

In addition to the Ocean Note, the company is also expected to announce a few more smartphones tomorrow. Rumors have it that HTC will reveal the mid-range X10, the successor to the last year’s X9, as well as another device called the U Play.

HTC posts new teaser video for its big Jan. 12 reveal

0

HTC is getting the world hyped up for its latest product reveal with a newly posted teaser video. The clip has the theme of the event being “all about U” and it says it will begin on Thursday, January 12 beginning at 3 a.m. Eastern time (midnight Pacific time). The company will, of course, be live streaming that even for everyone on the Internet to check out.

See also:

HTC Bolt review: the better data speed might not be worth it

2 hours ago

The odd timing of the event is because HTC is actually making it in its home country of Taiwan, rather than holding a press conference in the States. There are already a number of rumors about what could be revealed at the “for U” event. It’s possible that it could be the announcement of a new phablet-style smartphone, with the code name “Ocean Note”, which might get the official title of the HTC U Ultra. Ironically, images of that reported phone were posted on a Chinese Weibo account today, which show a secondary ticker-style display on top, similar to what is on the rival LG V10 handset, and the recently launched LG V20 phone.

The livestreamed event might also have the company officially reveal a new  mid-range phone, the HTC X10, which if true would be a successor to the current x9. The company might also reveal another phone, which might have the name the HTC U Play, at the event.

Again, all of this is just speculation, and we don’t have long to wait before we get all the official news. What do you think HTC could reveal on January 12? Give us your thoughts and speculations in the comments!

That HTC Vive smartphone video? Take it with a grain of salt.

0

HTC’s smartphone business is in dire need of a reboot, but the company’s other big venture – virtual reality – is actually growing steadily. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore that HTC would want to use the Vive brand to boost its smartphone lineup.

According to media leaked by Evan Blass, that’s exactly what we should expect from HTC in 2017. Provided that the video below is real and accurate, and not just a design concept or experiment, HTC appears to be preparing a Vive smartphone.

The phone’s design is a fresh take on the antenna lines trope we’ve been seeing so much from HTC, Apple, and other companies over the past years. It’s not clear if the lines on the sides are functional or just cosmetic, but the styling is a welcome departure from HTC’s design language from current devices.

The Vive smartphone makes an appearance in a promotional video that purports to give us a sneak peak of an initiative called “CMF Kitchen.”

In product design, CMF stands for Color Material Finish. So a CMF kitchen would be a place where designers play with various colors and textures for products – and that’s exactly what the video is depicting.

The clip decries the lack of originality in modern phone design and gives us a “sneak peek” of three ways HTC us innovating in this field: “chemicals,” “super fibers” and “litmus.” It looks like the company is experimenting with funky colors and novel finishes, moving away from the silvers, blacks, and golds that are so prevalent today.

The video is high production value and it definitely looks like something that HTC would produce to tease its products. The problem is this video wasn’t obtained by Evan Blass from some inside source at HTC. The video has actually been publicly available online for over six months.

A Google search for “HTC CMF Kitchen” reveals that the video was first published in June 2016 on Vimeo by videographer Shaun Saperstein. According to his Linkedin profile, Saperstein has been employed as a visual/motion designer at HTC until June 2016. Saperstein is the author of another concept video that Evan Blass tweeted out today:

This second clip has been published four days ago on Saperstein’s YouTube channel. It shows the same “side control” interface that we’ve seen in a different concept video for a device called HTC Ocean, from Danelle Vermeulen, another graphic designer with HTC. That video leaked out in September 2016.

We’ve reached out to Saperstein to inquire about the videos and we’ll update if we hear back.

In the meantime, take the HTC Vive smartphone, the CMF kitchen, and Ocean with a big grain of salt. It’s hard to believe that HTC would allow its designers to openly share internal materials, especially ones that reveal flagship phones. It’s not impossible, it’s just more likely that the videos we’ve seen are side projects made for the designer’s personal portfolio. That’s how Shaun Saperstein is using the video on his personal website.

The best of CES: The biggest announcements from CES Las Vegas

Let us know your thoughts!

HTC One X10 specs leaked, planned for Q1 2017 release

0

HTC is reportedly getting close to launching a successor to the nearly one-year old One x9 smartphone. A new, but unconfirmed report claims to have details on the hardware specs for the HTC One x10, along with a launch time frame scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.

The report comes from VentureBeat and noted gadget leaker Evan “@evleaks” Blass. He claims the 5.5-inch One X10 will feature a MediaTek octa-core MT6755V/C processor inside with a clock speed of 1.9GHz, compared to the One X9’s octa-core MT6795 chip that runs at 2.2GHz. In addition, he says the One X10 will have a 16.3MP rear camera and a 7.9MP front-facing camera, a presumable upgrade over the One X9 which came equipped with a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera.

Aside from those differences, the HTC One x10 is supposed to be very similar to the One X9. Blass claims that both will arrive with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage, and the two will keep a display resolution of 1080×1920. If his report is accurate, there’s not much of an upgrade for One X9 owners to look forward to in the One X10.

See also:

HTC, it’s time for you to come up with a new design

2 weeks ago

Previous rumors about the HTC One X10 claimed that it might be priced around $290. The company is also rumored to be launching another mid-range phone, the HTC Ocean Note, on January 12th, and more unconfirmed reports claim the HTC 11 could be announced in February at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show in Barcelona.