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HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: Which is best for me?

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T comparison review: We compare HTC’s new U Ultra mobile phone with the OnePlus 3T, to see which rocks the best performance, features, camera tech and more. Here’s all you need to know.

HTC just launched its first new smartphone of 2017, dubbed the HTC U Ultra, alongside its more affordable sibling the HTC U Play. However, it’s the U Ultra that we’re really interested in, thanks to that nifty second screen wedged above the main display, as well as the premium specs and camera tech.

Question is, can the HTC U Ultra provide stiff competition for our favourite phone of 2016, the OnePlus 3T? Both handsets boast premium specs, blazing performance and some cool features, but which is best for you? Here’s our full HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T comparison review.

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: Specs

Phone HTC U Ultra OnePlus 3T
Weight 170g 158g
Screen size 5.7-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Quad HD (2560×1440) Full HD (1920×1080)
Second screen? Yes (2-inch 1040×160) No
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Water resistant? No No
OS Android 7.0 Nougat Android 6.1 Marshmallow
Processor Snapdragon 821 Snapdragon 821
Memory 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB or 128GB 64GB or 128GB
microSD? Yes (up to 2TB) No
Battery 3000mAh 3400mAh
Rear camera 12MP UltraPixel 2 f/1.8 16MP f/2.0
Front camera 16MP f/2.0 16MP f/2.0

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: Design

The HTC U Ultra boasts a rather funky design, with a back constructed entirely out of shiny, curvy glass. It certainly looks lovely and feels good in the hand, but that glass surfacing is rather smudgy. In comparison, the OnePlus 3T sports a sleek and smart metal frame that’s a little more serious but also pleasingly rugged too.

As for size, the 5.7-inch U Ultra is only marginally bigger and heavier than the 5.5-inch OnePlus 3T. Neither could be described as ‘compact’, that’s for sure. Neither handset is water resistant but they do both boast a fingerprint sensor, so you can quickly unlock to your home screen without needing to enter a PIN every time.

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: Features and performance

The HTC U Ultra really stands out from the crowd with its second display, which sits just above the main screen. This compact 2-inch panel works independently from the main screen, just as on the LG X Screen, to deliver essential info without the need to power up the energy-sapping main display.

Thanks to HTC’s Sense Companion “AI”, this secondary screen can even learn your daily habits and only display information that’s really important to you. As a result, you should only need to turn on that 5.7-inch panel when you want to kick back with a movie, browse the web and so on.

Speaking of screens, the U Ultra’s mighty 5.7-inch Quad HD screen boasts a crisp 2560×1400 pixel resolution, producing sharper images than the OnePlus 3T’s Full HD 1920×1080 display. However, there shouldn’t be much difference in real world use, especially as the OnePlus 3T pumps out gorgeous, vibrant visuals thanks to the AMOLED technology at play.

Hopefully, you’ll get longer life from the U Ultra’s 3000mAh battery, although we’re wondering whether it’ll be able to beat the OnePlus 3T’s impressively long life from its 3400mAh cell. We’ll be sure to let you know in our full HTC U Ultra review. We’ll also be testing the U Ultra’s Qualcomm-powered Quick Charge 3.0 speeds with the OnePlus’ Dash Charge, to see which phone powers back to full the fastest.

As for audio, the HTC U Ultra’s BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition stereo speakers are better for headphones-free media enjoyment. But the OnePlus 3T still churns out quite a powerful sound, if you can’t be bothered to reach for the ‘phones. What’s more, whilst the 3T is still accommodating to the humble 3.5mm headphone jack, the U Ultra is all about Type-C USB with Hi-Res Audio support, compatible with the bundled USonic headphones.

When it comes to performance, the HTC U Ultra and OnePlus 3T both boast the latest Snapdragon 821 processor. However, while the U Ultra packs in a respectable 4GB of memory, the OnePlus 3T wins with a mighty 6GB of RAM on board.

That said, the HTC U Ultra is the victor when it comes to storage as the phone supports microSD memory cards up to a whopping 2TB. That’s a feature missing from the OnePlus 3T, although both mobiles boast up to 128GB of built-in storage.

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: Cameras

When it comes to camera tech, the Ultra U might possibly capture better pictures than the OnePlus 3T in low light. That new UltraPixel 2 12-megapixel camera sports a larger f/1.8 aperture lens, which can suck up more light than the OnePlus 3T’s f/2.0 lens. Plus HTC’s UltraPixel tech usually operates better in the dark than standard sensors.

That said, both phones boast Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), laser autofocus and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). And we expect the OnePlus 3T’s 16-megapixel snapper to capture more detailed shots in decent light.

Serious photographers can snap RAW images on either phone, as well as up to 4K video. Both also feature sizeable front-facing 16-megapixel snappers, but we suspect the HTC will once again win out thanks to a new specialised UltraPixel mode, which combines the image data from four pixels to create a higher quality low light 4-megapixel image.

HTC U Ultra vs OnePlus 3T: UK price and release date

So far HTC is yet to tell us an official UK price and release date for its new phones, but we do know that the HTC U Ultra will be hitting stores in mid-to-late February. More when we have it, and stay tuned for our full HTC U Ultra review.

The OnePlus 3T is available right now starting at £399 SIM-free. It can also be picked up on contract exclusively from O2.

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