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HTC U Play Unboxing, Quick Review: A Different Breed Of Mid-range


Here’s our quick look at the U Play!

Aside from the high profile U11 and the U Ultra, HTC will also be releasing a few mid-range smartphones in the Philippine market when they officially launch next month. One of these phones is the U Play, and while it’s supposedly a mid-range phone, we were pleasantly surprised at home premium it looked and felt once we got our hands on it.

HTC U Play

  • Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 processor
  • 3GB/4GB RAM
  • 5.2-inch full HD display, Corning Gorilla Glass protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB/64GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 16-megapixel rear camera, f/2.0 aperture, OIS, PDAF, dual LED flash
  • 16-megapixel front camera, f/2.0 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C connector
  • Android Marshmallow
  • 2500mAh battery

Packaging and contents:

This is our second unboxing for HTC’s current crop of devices, and from the looks of it the Taiwanese company is looking to have a uniform look and feel when it comes to the packaging of their products. The U Play comes in an identical white box that the U Ultra came in, with a silhouette of the phone embossed in the front of the paper box.

Inside is much of the same stuff that came with the U Ultra – a hard plastic case for the back of the phone, USB Type-C headphones, USB Type-C cable and a charger. There’s also a cleaning cloth in the package, documentation and a SIM ejector for the device.

Initial impressions: feels more like a flagship than a mid-range phone

While we’ve seen our fair share of mid-range phones before, the U Play really stands out from the pack in terms of build quality and overall quality.

The HTC U Play utilizes the same Liquid Surface design philosophy that’s present on the U Ultra – specifically, a metal and glass build that has that dazzling finish applied on the rear. It’s one of the best looking finishes we’ve ever seen on phones to date, and we’re more than happy to see it on a mid-range phone that’s easy to hold in one hand.

The U Play has a curved sides and back, terminating in the metal frame that surrounds the sides of the phone. The build quality is fantastic, and is very similar to the one on the U Ultra.

The 16-megapixel rear camera juts a little bit from the rear of the phone, and while it’s not as bad as the one in the U Ultra, you’ll still have to keep an eye where you put the phone face up if you don’t have the included plastic case on.

The two physical buttons are located on the right side of the phone, with the power button textured for easier manipulation. The USB Type-C port is on the bottom, flanked by the microphone hole and the speaker grille. Just like the U Ultra, HTC took the “courageous” step of removing the 3.5mm jack, though the company does include headphones that connect directly to the USB Type-C port.

The display is a 5.2-inch, full HD panel protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, and has a fingerprint scanner located right below it. That’s flanked by Android navigation keys. The display quality is pretty ace for what is, with vibrant colors and good blacks.

Despite the gorgeous externals, the U Play comes with mid-range hardware, notably a MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. MediaTek’s Helio P10 is not new to us and we’ve already reviewed a couple of phones running the processor before so we already know what to expect – processing power that’s good enough for most apps but sorely lacking if you’re looking for a high-powered device.

What’s nice about HTC’s offerings is the nearly stock Android experience that you get with their devices. There’s very little bloatware on the phone, and while HTC tried to inject their own flavor via a few apps (most notably BlinkFeed, a news aggregator accessible by swiping right from the home screen) you’re getting a more or less unmolested version of Android Marshmallow. Speaking of, we don’t know when HTC will update the U Play to Android Nougat, which is unfortunate.

That’s pretty much it for this hands-on. We have no idea of pricing for the HTC U Play as of yet – we’ll all have to find out together when HTC officially announces local pricing by next month.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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