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HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Which is best and should I upgrade?

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10 comparison review: HTC just launched its mighty 5.7-inch U Ultra, a premium phablet packing two 16-megapixel cameras and solid specs. So how does it compare with the HTC 10 flagship phone and should HTC owners upgrade?

HTC’s first phone of 2017 is the U Ultra, a massive 5.7-incher that sports all-new camera tech including the first UltraPixel 2 snapper. Like the HTC 10 flagship which came out in 2016, the U Ultra boasts some seriously premium specs – for a hefty asking price, of course. But along with that bigger size, the U Ultra also rocks a fresh new design.

So what’s the difference between these two HTC handsets? Here’s our full HTC 10 vs U Ultra comparison, so you can see which is best for you.

Read next: HTC 10 tips, tricks and hidden features

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Specs

Phone HTC 10 HTC U Ultra
Weight 161g 170g
Screen size 5.2-inches 5.7-inches (& 2-inches)
Screen resolution 2560×1440 2560×1440 (& 1040×160)
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
Memory 4GB 4GB
Storage 32/64GB + microSD 64GB + microSD
Cameras 12MP + 5MP 12MP + 16MP
Battery 3000mAh 3000mAh

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Design

The HTC 10 and U Ultra look like they’ve been designed by two completely different companies, offering a diverse choice depending on your own personal preferences.

Last year’s HTC 10 sported a very similar finish to previous HTC flagship phones, rocking a full metal jacket that’s as sleek as it is rugged. That aluminium frame is certainly scratch resistant, soaking up all kinds of abuse. But at the same time it’s a clean and simple finish, while the phone feels great in the hand thanks to those curved edges and relatively compact build.

In contrast, the HTC U Ultra is an absolute beast that demands two hands for operation. If you’re not a fan of phablets, you can definitely look elsewhere for your next portable pal. And unlike the metal finish of the HTC 10, the U Ultra goes for a glossy glass surfacing that has a unique refractive quality. The result is an ever-changing hue, depending on how light catches the phone.

One drawback of that glossy finish is the U Ultra’s susceptibility to fingerprints. Just a bit of light handling is enough to cover the surfaces in grease, which looks rather gross.

Neither phone here is water resistant, so don’t go getting them wet.

Read next: HTC 11, what to expect

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Screen and media

The HTC 10 and U Ultra both boast a super-sharp Quad HD screen, although their dimensions are very different. The U Ultra is better suited to longer viewing sessions thanks to its rather spacious panel, although the dinkier 5.1-inch HTC 10 is still perfectly fine for enjoying a spot of Netflix on the commute.

When it comes to colour vibrancy, viewing angles and brightness levels, there’s very little between these two handsets. The U Ultra appears to be slightly more punchy as far as colour reproduction is concerned, but either phone will suit media fans, producing gorgeous visuals.

However, the U Ultra does have a bonus feature in the form of the second display, housed just above the main screen. This 2.05-inch always-on panel is used to display important notifications and can even learn which apps you prioritise, to only offer the information you really need.

The U Ultra also ditches that traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, found on the HTC 10, in favour of the Type-C port (or Bluetooth, of course). You get some USonic headphones bundled which plug into the charging port and offer decent audio, which can even automatically adjust to suit your ear shape. Nice.

Both handsets offer powerful and good-quality BoomSound stereo speaker output, as well as microSD expansion to carry a large media collection.

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Features and OS

Underneath the screen of both HTC handsets, you’ll find a sunken home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. In both cases this is responsive enough to unlock your phone almost the instant you tap your digit to the surface.

You get the latest version of Android (7.0 Nougat) pre-installed on the U Ultra, something we’re still waiting on with the HTC 10. The U Ultra is also going to be the first HTC phone (alongside the dinkier U Play) to come packing Sense Companion, a fresh new mobile AI designed by HTC.

Unfortunately at the time of review the Companion was not actually available to test, so we can’t vouch for its quality. But regardless, this feature should come to the HTC 10 in a future update.

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Performance and battery life

While the HTC 10 is still a powerful beast thanks to its Snapdragon 820 chipset, the U Ultra is a step above with its new 821 quad-core processor. Check out our handy Snapdragon 821 vs 820 feature to see what the difference is.

Regardless, either phone will happily blast through the latest games without stutter or pause. And you can enjoy a silky smooth everyday experience too.

When it comes to battery life, the HTC 10 offers a day and a half of use between charges, as long as you don’t hammer it too hard. Despite its increased size and that massive screen, the U Ultra has the exact same size of battery (3000mAh). However, it can still make it well past the 24 hour mark with a bit of restraint.

HTC U Ultra vs HTC 10: Cameras

We’re still big fans of the HTC 10’s 12-megapixel camera, which was one of its finest mobile snappers in quite some time.

In everyday conditions, the 10 offers up natural-looking photos and rarely oversaturates when you’re shooting against a bright sky or dealing with other tricky lighting conditions. It’s also very good at handling moving subjects, keeping your manic kids or pets as sharp as possible. Only its low light efforts failed to impress. You can also shoot Full HD or 4K video footage, with solid results.

Head over to our in-depth HTC 10 camera review for full samples and more info.

The U Ultra sports HTC’s latest UltraPixel 2 camera, and it’s once again a solid effort. A few small hiccups mean it doesn’t offer quite the same ease and reliability as the latest iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 or the Google Pixel phones, but it looks to be the best cameraphone HTC offers right now, not only due to its well-designed hardware but its considered interface and strong range of shooting modes.

For samples and in-depth analysis, have a gander at our full HTC U Ultra camera review.

Check out our HTC 10 long-term review to see what we think of HTC’s flagship phone in 2017.