HTC U Play Review

Introduction


HTC introduced its new glass U-series not long ago, and we already reviewed its flagship representative, the U Ultra. It is now time to move downmarket and inspect the HTC U Play, which comes with a more manageable display size, premium design, and 16 MP cameras both front and back. In short, the U Play has everything we could expect out of a worthy midranger these days, at least on paper. But how does it perform in practice? Let's dive in...

Design


Slippery is the first impression that comes to mind when you pick up the U Play. The phone is made with the trendy glass sandwich design, where two sheets of thermoformed cover glass are pressed against a metal frame. HTC has done this in a pretty symmetric manner, and the U Play leaves a quality feeling both when you look at the device and when you hold it. For its size, the handset is light enough. The back has been treated to a fancy paintjob which gives it a hue-shifting reflection. In the case of our white version, that results in a nacre, mother-of-pearl visual effect.

HTC U Play Review
HTC U Play Review
HTC U Play Review
HTC U Play Review

As we mentioned in the beginning, the glassy finish makes the phone a bit slippery to hold, and the tapered sides don't actually facilitate the grip, either. You get used to the exact pressure required to hold onto your precious U Play with time, but this thing would certainly be more manageable with a case on, as it's also a bit wide for its screen size. Speaking of which, screen-to-body ratio of 70% is nothing to write home about these days, and the U Play could have benefited from some slimming of the bezels all around.

HTC has provided a touch finger scanner/home key combo underneath the display, and two capacitive back and menu keys are flanking it. They all work well, and folks who prefer their fingerprint reader at the front would appreciate the HTC U Play navigation setup.

There is a single speaker at the bottom, and two mics for noise cancellation at the upper and lower sides. Thankfully, HTC has gone with a USB-C port for charging or data transfer at the bottom of the U Play. That also serves as audio connection, since there is no standard 3.5mm jack. The metal power key and volume rocker on the right are conveniently sized and placed, easy to find and press without looking, and with good tactile feedback.


HTC U Play

HTC U Play

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.87 x 0.31 inches

145.99 x 72.9 x 7.99 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Honor 8

Honor 8

Dimensions

5.73 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.91 x 0.38 inches

150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC U Play

HTC U Play

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.87 x 0.31 inches

145.99 x 72.9 x 7.99 mm

Weight

5.11 oz (145 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Dimensions

5.75 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches

146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Honor 8

Honor 8

Dimensions

5.73 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm

Weight

5.40 oz (153 g)

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Dimensions

5.91 x 2.91 x 0.38 inches

150.2 x 74 x 9.7 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page

Display


With a 5.2” LCD panel at 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution, HTC leaves little to be desired in the display department. The screen is sufficiently bright, vivid, and with more than enough pixel density for any task you might throw at it.

It leans a bit on the cold side, though, and you are getting some oversaturated greens in the process, but it does have a color tone adjustment slider in the settings, if you want to bother. Outdoor visibility is about average, since the brightness is high enough, but reflectivity is a bit too high for enjoying the panel under direct sunlight.

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12 Comments

1. Creep

Posts: 193; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

HTC is so damn stupid. Are you guys really charging about $500 for this when you can have a OnePlus 3T for less with better specs? DOA.

3. Bankz

Posts: 2475; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

Never has the true meaning of the word "DOA" being truly justified.

2. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

3.5mm audio jack is a con in the sober world.

4. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

HTC just failed.

5. GreenMan

Posts: 2692; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Well... A 1080p Display, a power-hungry 'vintage' Helio P10 and a 2,500mAh battery... For what...? $500...? And I thought that Blackberry KeyOne is expensive...! Forgive me, O 'berry for I've offended thee and thy fan-boy(s)... I mean, I bought my Samsung Galaxy S6 for less than that...! Anyhow, you can get quite a few phone with Helio P10 for HALF the price... Just did a little Googling and Oppo F1s, Gionee S6 Pro and Elephone P9000 are selling P10 equipped smartphones at about $200-$250 price range... RIP HTC... You shall forever remain in our hearts and in our memory... As a company which thought it was Apple and has the same 'fan-base' and charged accordingly...! Oh well, G'Day!

6. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Bravo HTC! Let's hope you are nowhere near the next Pixel.

7. 23nikki1 unregistered

Apple removed 3.5 mm jack because they couldn't fit the components and to make it waterproof. Why did HTC do it ? it's a stupid move

8. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

No Apple did it so they rather not put that many components but they could have easily if they wanted to. They just want more money from new accessories. HTC did it because they figured that if Apple is the sales leader without it, they can get away with cutting that corner too. That's pretty much the extent of it.

9. Mr.mobile

Posts: 130; Member since: Mar 09, 2017

Don't know why htc is stick to Helio p10 processer this phone is way to costly you I'll better phone with just 400$ one+ 3T and one plus 3 they could have gone with SD625 and 3200mah battery with less bezels

10. Reybanz88

Posts: 84; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

WTF is HTC drinking, smoking or shooting up? It's no wonder why the company is literally chest deep in a grave! The pixel and vive are the only things that held them up this last year. Now what? I'm so annoyed by them with these horrible prices for trash products. I'm done with them and I have a 10 and its my last phone from them PERIOD.

11. sneharathode11

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 25, 2017

htc u is a nice phone with good loaded features with a site called BUYSMAART.COM where i came to know the pros and cons and user reviews in detail anyone can go and find the reviews. This is a unique and differential experience of using user reviews and making the right buying decisions and makes better understanding of products.

12. gino76ph

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 15, 2017

I have started to plan for replacing my old Moto G4. And in terms of long-term value, camera performance (no lag) & quality, multitasking & app opening (no reload), speakers output, lightweight body & hand comfort, the most bands & frequencies (especially the UK & Europe), screen readability in direct sunlight and the most important which are constant & continous updates which would u choose: HTC U Play ZTE Axon 7 Mini Moto G5 Plus
U Play
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor MediaTek Helio P10, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2500 mAh(15.21h 3G talk time)

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