CNET First Look
The HTC U Ultra has a flagship price without flagship featuresCNET's Dan Graziano gives you a first look at HTC's newest Android smartphone.
This is the HTC U Ultra, and it's a great phone, if the year is 2014, but it's not, and instead the crisp display, high quality speakers, and sharp design, are over-shadowed by curious decisions tools meet key flagship features. There's no headphone jack, no wireless charging, and no water resistance. But it's not all bad. The reflective glass body makes this one of the prettiest phones I've seen in a long time. And while it uses an older Snapdragon 821 processor, I still found performance to be fast. What the phone does have is a two inch secondary screen that can show notifications and quickly launch apps. The screen will also show the time, date, and weather when the main display is off. But it's not always on and [UNKNOWN] will only light up when a notification comes in or if you double tap it. The [UNKNOWN] is also the first phone with HTC's Sense Companion app. This smart virtual assistant will give you updates on traffic, recommendations on restaurants and other nearby attractions, and provide general usage tips to improve your experience with the device. But the phone also comes with the Google Assistant and I found that to be a much better option. Now despite not having a headphone jack, HTC does include a pair of USB C headphones that can create a sound profile based on the size of your ear canal. It's an interesting concept, but I really couldn't tell the different. And if you do wanna listen to your own headphones, you will need a special adapter from HTC and only HTC because they block third party ones from working. Overall, though, the U Ultra is a fully capable device. The display is gorgeous, the speakers are loud, and the fingerprint sensor is fast. While the camera won't win any awards, it performs fairly well. But it's also one of the biggest phones at the market and it's incredibly difficult to hold and operate with one hand. And the secondary display and the smart assistance don't justify the high price there. There should be a different review with a phone cost $400, but instead price at the top end of the market at $750, and that's just too much pay for a device that sacrifices so much. For more information on the HTC U Ultra, check out my full review over on CNET. com.