The HTC U Ultra is a phone that doesn’t really know where it sits in the market, and it’s hard to fathom who it was built for. It takes a lot of what made the HTC 10 a great device and sprinkles on a little extra, but the design is very different, and it all comes at a higher price.
The lack of powerful speakers and an overtly premium design don’t help the U Ultra to shine, though, and it’s a little disappointing that HTC hasn’t just super-sized the metal HTC 10 with a larger display.
Who’s this for?
The U Ultra is built for those who like the HTC look and ethos, but who want a larger device than the HTC 10.
Most of what made the HTC 10 one of the best Android devices on the market is on display here, packaged with a larger screen and a few extra added features.
The secondary display on its own isn’t a reason to buy this phone, but it’s a nice little addition – and it makes some of the irritating elements of jumping around on an Android phone that little bit easier to handle.
The screen on the HTC U Ultra is also another big plus. The large QHD display is a thing of beauty, and if you’re going to be regularly gaming or watching video, this is a great phone for doing both.
The Sense Companion though is a solution in search of a problem, while it might be useful for some, it often feels like just another distraction.
Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for the best battery life on the market, go for the slightly smaller Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The battery life isn’t atrocious on the U Ultra, but we’ve certainly seen better, and that’s a disappointment in the latest from HTC.
We’d also recommend taking a good look at the design of the U Ultra before you splash out. It can look great from afar, but this certainly isn’t a design that will appeal to everybody, especially those who are used to phones with full-metal unibody designs.
If you want a big phone and you’re a fan of HTC’s design ethos, the U Ultra may well be the handset for you. Just bear in mind that you won’t be getting that much more than the HTC 10 offers, while paying a good deal more.
First reviewed: February 2017
Not a fan of the HTC U Ultra? Here are the phones you may want to consider instead.
Last year’s flagship HTC phone continues to feature in our roundups of the best phones money can buy. It has a stylish all-metal uni-body design, a beautiful QHD display and amazing audio capabilities.
It also features an improved battery, but it’s only running Android 6 Marshmallow software at the moment, and doesn’t have the dual screen you get on the HTC U Ultra. However, considering that the HTC 10 costs quite a bit less than the U Ultra it’s hard to recommend the U Ultra over it if you’re looking for a great-value HTC device.
Read our full HTC 10 review
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
At the time of writing the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is ranked our number one phone in the world – and it’s clear that with the U Ultra, HTC is trying to achieve a lot of what Samsung has done fantastically well with this device.
While you don’t get the U Ultra’s secondary display you do get a lovely curved display here, along with phenomenal picture quality that arguably makes this the better pick.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review
Huawei Mate 9
Looking for a phone with a large display that doesn’t cost as much as the U Ultra? Huawei’s latest phablet may be the best option for you. It features a 5.9-inch Full HD display and the latest Kirin 955 SoC (system-on-a-chip) inside, as well as a 20MP rear camera.
The spec isn’t as impressive on Huawei’s latest phablet, but it’s quite a bit cheaper than the U Ultra at $599.99 (£579, AU$999).
Read our full Huawei Mate 9 review