HTC U Play debuts with 16-megapixel front and back cameras, Sense Companion

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Overview
Processor

MediaTek Helio P10
Octa-core (8x2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
Mali-T860 (GPU)

Screen Size

5.2 inches
1080 x 1920 (~424 ppi pixel density) Super LCD 5
Gorilla Glass

Memory

3/4GB options

Storage

32/64GB options
microSD expandable by 2TB

Camera

- 16 MP main sensor, f/2.0, OIS, phase detection autofocus
- 16 MP selfie sensor, f/2.0, 1080p video

Battery

Non-removable 2500mAh battery

Release Date

January 12th, 2017

Weight

145 g (5.11 oz)

Materials

Glass ('liquid surface")

Operating System

Android OS
HTC Sense, Sense Companion

Lighter fare from HTC now as we talk about the U Ultra’s sibling device, the U Play. This phone is expected to spread across the globe through this and next quarter and will introduce entry-level users with the company’s Sense Companion program.

If you’re not familiar with the Sense Companion, it’s not really a digital assistant the way you’d think of Alexa or Google Assistant. Rather, it automatically tunes the phone to your wants and needs within the native UI and apps. If Sense Companion detects that you’re using the U Play in a way that would drain the battery before sundown, it will automatically trigger power saving mode. It also remembers what criteria is most important to you when you’re searching for a restaurant.

The material for the body of the device comes out of HTC’s CMF Kitchen (the acronym stands for “color, materials, finish”). Branded as “liquid surface,” the intensely reflective glass is processed through something called Optical Spectrum Hybrid Deposition provides the device with a three-axis visual symmetry. Similar deposition methods are used for optical fibers and industrial films and coverings.

Cosmetic Pink headlines the colors with a supporting crew of Sapphire Blue, Ice White and Brilliant Black.

The core hardware package on this is modest when compared to the U Ultra: a single 5.2-inch display and options for 3GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage. The USB-C jack performs up to USB 2.0 spec. There’s no BoomSound speaker implementation for the U Play, though there is Wi-Fi ac, something we’ve found lacking from many of the mobile industry’s forlorn mid-ranger options.

The U Play runs an unnamed version of Android — judging by no Google Assistant mention, we suspect that the phone will be running one version or another of Marshmallow or that at least one SKU will be.

If you caught our editorial coverage on the HTC 10 evo/Bolt, the same complimentary USB-C earbuds provided with that device are now with the U Play, dubbed “USonic”. A microphone is embedded in each earbud to measure sound reflection in the ear canals and allow for the system to adjust EQ accordingly.

We’ll have more coverage of both the HTC U Ultra and the U Play if and when we receive review devices.

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.