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HTC U Play in a nutshell: Specs, UK price and release date

HTC U Play in a nutshell: HTC just launched two new phones for 2017 and one of them is the HTC U Play, a premium-looking mid-range mobile packing a sexy glass and metal design, plus the new Sense Companion “AI”. Here’s all you need to know about the HTC U Play, including full specs and UK release info.

HTC just launched two new mobile phones, which are remarkably different in specs while rocking a very similar design ethos and similar features, including a new “AI” assistant. One is the HTC U Ultra, a premium handset to rival the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and the Google Pixel phone, while the other is the HTC U Play.

The HTC U Play is a more affordable mobile than its bigger brother, rocking cut-down specs as well as a reduced asking price. This mobile is aimed at anyone who wants a good-looking mobile packing some smart features, for a price that works. Hopefully, the U Play will prove stiff competition for the likes of the Moto G4 Plus and Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus, at around a £200 to £300 price point.

Here’s all you need to know about the HTC U Play and its UK release.

HTC U Play in a nutshell: Specs

Phone HTC U Play
Weight 145g
Screen size 5.2-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080)
Second screen? No
Fingerprint sensor? Yes
Water resistant? No
OS Android (6.0 Marshmallow)
Processor MediaTek Helio P10
Memory 3GB or 4GB
Storage 32GB or 64GB
microSD? Yes (up to 2TB)
Battery 2500mAh
Rear camera 16MP UltraPixel f/2.0
Front camera 16MP f/2.0

HTC U Play in a nutshell: Design

The HTC U Play is much more compact than its bigger brother, the U Ultra, packing a 5.2-inch display rather than a mighty 5.7-inch panel. That means it’s lighter and more comfortable to clutch overall, helped in part by those pleasingly curvy edges.

You get the same colourful glass finish in both phones however, and the HTC U Play can be picked up in Brilliant Black, Ice White, Sapphire Blue and Cosmetic Pink – HTC’s colour names, not ours. That glass backing tends to pick up smudges rather easily, but we still like the sexy aesthetics.

Sadly the HTC U Play isn’t water resistant, but it does rock a fingerprint sensor for quick and convenient unlocking, as well as Type-C USB for power, data and audio, as there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.

HTC U Play in a nutshell: Features and performance

The HTC U Play boasts a pretty crisp 5.2-inch Full HD screen, although HTC’s BoomSound speakers are missing in action – you only get a mono blower here. That said, plug in some earphones and you should still get plenty of enjoyment out of movies and shows on the go.

With a choice of 32GB or 64GB of storage, you’ll have plenty of space for your apps and media – and if you do go a bit nuts and find yourself running short, just stick in a microSD memory card to expand the available storage.

Performance is provided by a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, which is a cut-price processor previously found in the Sony Xperia XA. Sadly the Xperia XA was rather stuttery at times, although the U Play boasts 3GB to 4GB of RAM (compared with just 2GB on Sony’s phone) so hopefully that will make all the difference. Here’s hoping for a smooth everyday experience, although the U Play will still likely show signs of ageing before too long.

The HTC U Play’s specs are rounded off with a 2500mAh battery which supports fast charging.

One of the other intriguing features of the HTC U Play is the new Sense Companion “AI”, which works alongside Google Now to help you out when needed. It can apparently learn your everyday habits and help configure your phone to make it as efficient as possible, which we’re looking forward to testing out.

HTC U Play in a nutshell: Cameras

The HTC U Play sports a 16-megapixel camera on the back, rocking Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), plus a two-tone LED flash. The f/2.0 lens will likely struggle a little in the dark, so that flash should come in handy – while daylight shots will hopefully pack plenty of detail. You can shoot up to Full HD video footage too, but there’s no 4K recording.

Around the front, you get another 16-megapixel camera, this time with HTC’s own UltraPixel tech. This can be used to take a 4-megapixel shot in low light, which is much brighter and sharper than would otherwise be possible. We’ll be testing this feature in full for our in-depth HTC U Play review.

HTC U Play in a nutshell: UK price and release date

So far HTC hasn’t given us an official UK price or release date for the HTC U Play, but the phone is set to arrive in stores mid-to-late February and retailers like Carphone Warehouse have already set up a pre-registration page for interested fans to log their interest. Stay tuned for our full HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play reviews.

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