HTC U Ultra Review: A Big-Screen Gem That Needs More Polish

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Sidhanth

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"When you compare the U Ultra to handsets like the iPhone 7 or the Galaxy S7, which have only single-speaker setups, the difference is pretty dramatic."

The iPhone 7 has a dual speaker setup similar - a bottom firing speaker and the earpiece doubling as a speaker.
 

rutherfordsc

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@sidhanth, you are correct. What I meant to say is that compared to both single-speaker phones like the GS7 and phones like the iPhone 7 which has a similar two-speaker setup, the U Ultra's audio sounds significantly better.
 

Sidhanth

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Oh okay. I think the sentence could have been framed better for less ambiguity, such as

"When you compare the U Ultra to handsets like the iPhone 7 or the Galaxy S7, [the latter of] which only has a single-speaker setup, the difference is pretty dramatic."
 

Waazzupppp

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Lots of good stuff in here, one of the most complete reviews I've read of the Ultra. That said, Sense Companion is out already - released at publication time as a matter of fact, so if that is a helpful thing in the UX like I believe it is, then you should definitely update and rescore. As far as picking the rest of the device apart goes, I have to say that I disagree with your "Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the greatest phone ever" ideals. I didn't like the saturation of the S7, nor do I love it on my Note 5, it's too much and I had to tweak the screen to get it close to 'normal' for daily use, but...

That said, I have really enjoyed my first week with the Ultra.

Screen - It's screen is large enough to multitask, and clear enough to see even the smallest details.

Battery - My experience is far different from yours. I am getting 16 hours of usage out of about 1/2 the battery. Scary long life, but I'll take it. This compares to about 6 hours of usage on my Note 5 in the same fashion.

Camera - Colors are a bit softer on the images in auto mode, but I get far better results with the Ultra than I get with the oversaturated Samsung cameras. I'm not a huge iPhone fan, but the results of the Ultra were definitely on par with the shots that friends with iPhones were taking at the same event. Where the Ultra really outshined everyone else in the camera department was shooting across a darkened theater and snapping action shots of the performers on stage. The quality was stunning. I would question the exposure point of the flower shot that you took before making any comments on that set of photos, it almost looks like the Samsung was calibrated to the flower and the HTC was done to the window, but I'm guessing at that.

Moving on to performance - The Ultra is smooth and fast and definitely ready to roll today. The S7 Edge, which again, I don't agree with it being the ultimate phone by any means, and Ultra are on par together at worst. Since that is still the best phone in Samsung's line up (remember their latest effort was pulled from the market for major issues) it's sad to think that a "non-flagship HTC" could hold its own against the reigning king.

Overall, I think the big thing that is missing from the review is how great the Ultra works and the experience that it gives. I don't think the average user will ever sit down and stream 8 hours of movies over their internet connection. I also don't think that the average user would want to plop down $750 on a device. I do think they would consider $32 a month though - and that's available from PayPal on the HTC site. In a world that blurs phones so easily, I agree that the Ultra isn't for everyone, but the fact that one of the bigger cons (no Sense Companion) has already been fixed, should tell you and your readers that the Ultra is for real.
 
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