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HTC U Ultra and U Play Australian pricing and availability

HTC's new phones want to redefine the smart assistant, and you'll be able to buy them in Australia from March 8.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC's two new phones are hitting Australia next month. The HTC U Ultra and U Play follow on from the HTC 10, and the Taiwanese phone maker is stepping back up with added AI, smart audio and some funky camera features. Preorders are hitting later today ahead of wider availability in stores from March 8. The 5.7-inch U Ultra has a sticker price of AU$1,199 and the 5.2-inch HTC U Play will sell for AU$799.

HTC U Ultra key specs

  • 5.7-inch screen (2,560x1,440-pixel resolution)
  • 2-inch notifications screen (swipable)
  • 12-megapixel UltraPixel camera with OIS
  • 16-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 7.0
  • MicroSD card up to 2T
  • USB-C port
  • 64GB storage

HTC U Play key specs

  • 5.2-inch screen (1,920x1080 pixels)
  • 16-megapixel front and rear cameras
  • 32GB and 64GB options (3/4GB RAM)
  • Up to 2T microSD card
  • 32GB storage

Sense Companion is the big standout feature in the phones. Rather than "artificial intelligence," HTC is claiming "accelerated intelligence". It's not a full-on virtual assistant, but it's smart enough to intuitively learn your habits and provide a better phone experience, like tracking your calendar to turn off the alarm when you're on holidays, automatically kill battery-draining apps when you're away from your charger or remind you to bring a brolly if it's set to bucket down that afternoon.

Other features include personalized audio calibration for better quality music (similar to what we've seen in the Nura), always-on voice control, better low-light selfies and a smaller second screen running across the top of the display that offers up a customised, curated version of your contacts, apps and notifications.

The second screen is a U Ultra exclusive, but the cheaper U Play packs in pretty much everything else.

The HTC U Ultra will be on telco range exclusively at Vodafone, where you can pick it up for an extra AU$8 per month on Voda's AU$80 MyMix plan. Doing so will get you two months free, so knock AU$160 off the total cost. Both phones will be available in black, white and blue with an additional pink option for the Ultra.

If you want the new HTCs outright, you can pick them up from JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman. They'll have the phones in blue, pink and black.

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