HTC U Play is official: a 5.2-inch mid-ranger with HTC's Sense Companion aboard


HTC starts 2017 on a relatively high note as it just announced two brand new intriguing devices - the 5.7-inch HTC U Ultra and the 5.7-inch HTC U Play. As we've already dedicated a separate story to the HTC U Ultra, it's only fair to devote some time to the U Play as well.  

Just like the HTC U Ultra, the HTC U Play comes with a metal frame sandwiched between two front and back glass surfaces. We are most definitely dealing with Gorilla Glass here; HTC shared its plans to launch an exclusive sapphire glass edition of the HTC U Ultra later this year, though we somewhat doubt that the smaller and less exciting U Play will have a similar faith. Nonetheless, HTC takes great pride in its shiny new Liquid design and spent a lot of time lauding it.

First of all, it's worth noting that unlike the HTC U Ultra, the U Play comes with no second ticker display on board. As far as specs are concerned, the U Play's display is a 5.2-inch one and has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, which sounds pretty okay for a screen of that size.

The device comes with a mid-range MediaTek Helio P10 chipset, which is a 64-bit octa-core affair. The phone also boasts some 3 gigs of RAM and 32GB of native storage, as well as a microSD card expansion slot. There's an optically-stabilized f/2.0 16MP camera with phase-detection autofocus at the back. Although it is larger than the 12MP UltraPixel shooter of the U Ultra, it has smaller 1µm pixels, which tells us that it might have worse low-light performance, in theory at least. Thankfully, the selfie front camera is also an f/2.0 16MP one that can snap wide panorama selfies of both you and your clique. Keeping the lights on will be a 2,500mAh juicer adorned with fast charging.

The HTC U Play comes with the company's new Sense Companion, a voice-controlled smart assistant similar to Google's Assistant and Siri. Similar to what most assistants do, the Sense companion will let you interact with your phone with your voice and the assistant will be proactively feeding you with relevant data that might be of interest to you, like weather info, remind you of upcoming events, and so on. 

On the audio front, HTC has had the courage to get rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack. The onboard USB Type-C port is to be used for audio playback, and thankfully, the device will arrive with a rebranded version of the HTC USonic adaptive in-ear headphones that came along the HTC Bolt and 10 Evo a couple of months or so ago. These adapt to your ears and aim to provide a better audio-listening experience for each individual user. 

Pricing and availability of the HTC U Play are yet to be disclosed, though we already know that it will be launching later this spring. The device will be available in blue, black, pink, and white.

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