HTC U Play review
Playful and fashionable
Our HTC U Play review finds a high end design married up with a solid spec sheet and best of all, the HTC U Play is available now in the UK.
The starting price is from £20 per month on a two year contract or from £374.99 for the handset only. You can check out the deals for the HTC U Play blue, HTC U Play pink, HTC U Play white and HTC U Play black here.
The HTC U Play features a new contoured liquid surface that is highly reflective. The symmetrical form transforms light as it hits the coloured body, where the colours have been bonded to the glass on multiple layers.
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The liquid surface isn’t limited to the back, as the glass surface has been molded around the sides using heat and extreme pressure, to give it a look that represents the surface tension of liquid.
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The weight and thickness are pretty average at 145g and 7.99mm respectively. Overall it’s hard to fault the design, particularly for those who want a little colour in their life.
Super LCD display and P10 processor
The 5.2” Full HD display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, equating to 428 pixels per inch. The screen is protected behind durable Corning Gorilla Glass. The whole experience is powered along by the fast octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 3GB RAM, making the HTC U Play ideal for gaming and web browsing.
Phone Set Up
Transferring content, security and personalisation
The HTC U Play has a healthy 32GB internal memory, of which 22.8GB is free to the user. This is expandable through the up to 2TB microSD card slot
If your old smartphone was an Android phone then you can download the HTC Transfer Tool to move content across. If your old phone was an Apple iPhone then you can back up its content to iCloud and then transfer the data over.
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A fingerprint scanner is built into the home key, making it east to wake up and unlock the phone, in one motion. If the U Play is to be used by multiple users then up to five fingerprints can be added.
The home screen can be personalised with Freestyle themes that remove the restrictions of a grid layout. You can also add the HTC Sense Home widget to the home screen and this changes the visible apps depending upon your location, such as at home or at work.
HTC Sense Companion
The HTC Sense Companion learns from you and what you do. It then uses this information to give proactive suggestions such as to dress warmer if the weather turns cold or by recommending restaurants when you are away from home.
Voice recognition is built in with the HTC U Play, so you can use your voice to unlock the phone, dismiss or snooze alarms, send messages, reject incoming calls or start hands-free GPS navigation.
HTC USonic uses a sonic pulse to analyse your inner ear, which is as unique as a fingerprint, in order to adapt the sound to you. This feature is available through USonic earphones connected to the USB Type-C port.
OS and apps
The HTC U Play runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has the new Night Mode, which shifts colours from blue to warmer colours, to reduce eyestrain in the evening. The Boost+ app is also included and this keeps performance high by clearing junk files, uninstalling unused apps and by stopping irregular app activity.
Camera & Video
16MP main camera
The HTC U Play has a powerful 16MP main camera and this is paired up with optical image stabilisation that gives twice the shutter time with less blur. For a fast focus, the camera uses Phase Detect Auto Focus (PDAF) and to handle scenes with bright background light there is Auto HDR.
A couple of features stand out as special and these are the 270-degrees Panorama Mode and Pro Mode with 12 bit RAW format support. RAW image files contain six times more image data than a standard JPEG and enables professional grade post-shot editing.
Full HD 1080p video recording is possible with the HTC U Play and with Video Pic, you can capture a 2MP photo without pausing your recording.
16MP selfie camera
The selfie camera is quite special and can either snap a high resolution 16MP photo or snap an Ultra Selfie. The Ultra Selfie is an UltraPixel photo that reduces the resolution in order to achieve four times the light sensitivity. This is advantageous for when the lighting is poor, like on a night out.
There are many helpful shooting modes including Live Makeup, Voice Selfie, Auto Selfie and Selfie Panorama.
The HTC U Play has a rather average 2,500mAh capacity battery, although it does perform well with up to 15 hours talk time or up to 17 days standby. Should the need arise, then Power Saver Mode and Extreme Power Saving Mode are at hand.
Next: Nokia 5 review
Written by: Michael Brown