HTC U Ultra debuts with Dual Display, Sense Companion

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Overview
Processor

Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821
Quad-core (2x2.15 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)
Adreno 530 (GPU)

Screen Size

5.7 inches at 1440 x 2560 (~516 ppi pixel density)
Dual Display: 2.0 inches at 160 x 1040 (520 ppi pixel density)
Super LCD 5
Gorilla Glass 5 (64GB model) or Sapphire Glass (128GB model)

Memory

4 GB RAM

Storage

64/128 GB options
microSD expandable by 2TB

Camera

- 12 MP main sensor, f/1.8, OIS, phase detection & laser autofocus, 1/2.3" sensor size, 1.55µm pixel size
- 16 MP selfie sensor, f/2.0, 1080p video

Battery

Non-removable 3000mAh battery

Release Date

January 12th, 2017

Weight

170 g (6 oz)

Materials

Glass ("liquid surface")

Operating System

Android OS, v7.0
HTC Sense, Sense Companion

HTC has officially launched what we’ve come to know as the “Ocean Note,” now officially the U Ultra. And yes, if you’ve watched the livestream, it is really all about U and AI.

The large form factor device has a 5.7-inch main display and a Dual Display partnered at top, like the LG V10 and V20, spanning 2 inches. Just like said previous application, the Dual Display will keep you literally on top of notifications, calendar events and multitasking features without popping cards on the top of your main screen.

There’s quad HD resolution and pixel density maintained throughout. Both screens use HTC’s favorite screen technology, Super LCD 5, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the 64GB model and sapphire glass on the 128GB model. The body of the device is covered in a thin, glassy and purposely reflective “liquid surface”. Sapphire Blue leads the color options followed by Comestic Pink, Brilliant Black and Ice White.

The company opted to modify the term of “artificial intelligence,” calling its HTC Sense Companion a process of “accelerating intelligence”. It suggests things like managing active apps in memory, toggling battery saving mode based not just on a certain level trigger, but on how you use your device and alerting you to weird weather days.  It also knows to recommend restaurants for you to try out based on what criteria you prefer, be it price, proximity and other factors. This feature will be available globally, getting ahead of other competing consumer AI products.

You can connect to Google Assistant through four omnidirectional microphones that are always on. HTC said that it doesn’t want to compete with Google on the assistant front and that it is targeting its app to be more intuitive instead. Sense Companion uses those four mics to allow you to unlock your phone with your voice, too.

The same USB-C earbuds that were bundled with HTC 10 evo/Bolt boxes are now with the U Ultra as well, known as “USonic”. Tiny microphones that record the sonic reflections off each of your inner ear canals and optimizes EQ for the best levels. BoomSound also makes a return here in the style of the HTC 10: the earpiece acts as the tweeter while there’s a dedicated woofer on the bottom side of the phone.

If you’re familiar with the Google Pixel’s 12-megapixel main camera, you’ll find it on the U Ultra. There are improvements to it, though, that should tip it over the top like optical image stabilization and improved phase-detect autofocus. The 16-megapixel selfie camera isn’t branded as an “UltraPixel camera,” but does have an “UltraPixel mode” that boosts light sensitivity by about four times the typical level.

HTC U Ultra pre-orders begin today in the US at htc.com. Expect the U lineup to lead the company’s mobile offerings through at least 2017. The U Play launched beside this device.

Only the 64GB version is available in Sapphire Blue, Ice White and Brilliant Black at $749. Pre-orders will be fulfilled starting mid-March.
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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.