Today, we are testing the HTC U Play – a smaller and more affordable variant of the U series. HTC has never been very conscious about the pricing of its premium smartphones. So if we have used the word economical it is associated with the U Ultra. Rs 39,990 is a big deal, especially if you can afford to pay a little more to buy Samsung’s stunning Galaxy S7 (Review).
Does U Play not only look beautiful or does it show power in performance too? Let’s know.
HTC U Play design and texture
Personally, we have not been a fan of big screen smartphones. We preferred the HTC U Play with its 5.2-inch display for everyday use.
Talking about design and beauty, HTC has introduced another great smartphone. The smartphone looks great from all sides but it is also a difficult thing to keep it clean. While the phone is easy to use with one hand, its sliding rear makes it a bit of a challenge to hold the phone. We got a black variant for review but this phone is also available in sapphire blue, snow and white and make-up powder pink color variants on HTC India’s online store.
The 5.2-inch Super LCD display on the phone comes with Gorilla Glass protection and comes with a Full HD resolution. The density of the screen is 428 ppi. Brightness is bright and viewing angles are also very good. The colors are well saturated without any blurring. The color temperature can be adjusted according to your need by going to the Settings app. While the display is sharp, we noticed a difference in color when we moved the phone slightly. There is a notification LED on top of the screen and backlit Android navigation buttons near the home button. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the home button itself.
HTC U Play is a slim device with a thickness of 7.99mm and it weighs just 145 grams. The metal edges of the phone provide good grip. We feel that these could have been placed better for easy access to the power and volume buttons.
The phone has a USB Type-C port and mono speaker grille at the bottom. On the top and hybrid SIM slot is given. The phone’s storage can be expanded up to 2TB via microSD card. The rear camera of the phone protrudes slightly but not much. Like the U Ultra, this phone has a 3.5mm headphone socket.
Overall, the U Play is easier to operate than the U Ultra while it is equally premium. In the retail box, you’ll find a Type-C cable, a plastic case, a 10-watt power adapter, a SIM ejector tool, a microfiber cloth, and a Usonic headset.
HTC U Play Specifications and Features
An octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor has been given in HTC U Play. The phone has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. We do not expect a MediaTek chipset in a flagship product and it is not a flagship processor. So we are a bit surprised when HTC uses this processor. Let us tell you that the Moto M priced at Rs 16,000 has also been given a faster Helio P15 processor. But still this processor is fine for everyday activities. In benchmarks, we got 10-15 percent less figures than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 with the same power.
Talking about other specifications, this phone has features like 4.2 for connectivity, dual-band Wi-Fi AC, NFC, USB-OTG, GPS and GLONASS. The phone does not have FM radio. Apart from this, 4G VoLTE support is also available. There is also a gyroscope and a magnetic sensor.
U Play runs on Android Marshmallow, which is a big question. Especially considering its larger variant, which runs on Android Nougat. Apart from this, there is also a lesser version of HTC’s Sense UI which was seen in HTC 10 last year. In the phone, HTC has given Google’s app suite instead of many of its apps. For example, the gallery is provided with the Photos app while the audio is played with music.
One can access HTC’s Blinkfeed news reader by first swiping right on the homescreen. And it comes pre-installed with several other apps like Underarmor Records, Themes, and News Republic. HTC has given a new UI Assistant to make its U series different. When we first set up the HTC U Play, we didn’t get any prompts to use this feature. And till we got the app, we could not be sure whether this feature is there in the phone or not.
htc u play performance
Due to clean software and large RAM, the performance of the phone is excellent. Multitasking is very good in U Play and we never faced any problem while doing normal tasks on the phone and running social apps. We could also play games well in the phone. However, there was a slight problem during select graphics games.
During the use of the camera and charging in the phone, the upper part of the rear gets hot. But there was no problem of heat during normal use. The call quality from the phone is good and the sound coming from the earpiece is good even in noisy places. The fingerprint sensor also works well and can quickly identify the fingers.
Media playback isn’t too bad, as the phone didn’t have any issues playing full HD videos. High-bitrate files also played well in the phone. Due to the processor in the phone, 4K video cannot be played. The loudspeaker is fine for alerts but not the best for media files. The U Play comes with a Type-C Usonic headset, the performance of which you can read in detail in the performance section of the HTC U Ultra.
Overall performance of both the cameras is good, though we would have been more happy with video features like slow-motion. The 16-megapixel rear camera comes with PDAF and optical image stabilization (OIS) and aperture f/2.0 and captures pictures with decent detail even in low light. Auto HDR mode helps in enhancing the detailing in backlit scenes. Due to the wide aperture, good depth-of-field is available in close-up shots. In the second shooting mode, there is a zoom camera – which can record pictures and a three-second video. Apart from this, there is also Panorama and Pro mode. Detail is lacking in landscape photos in low light but close-up shots are better.
The quality of the recorded videos is good, but the phone does not have the option of 4K video recording. U Play has a 16-megapixel fixed focus front camera, which is equipped with aperture F / 2.0. Selfies coming from the phone look good and selfie panorama mode can be used to take a group picture with many people. The front camera also supports video recording up to 1080 pixels, and has a screen flash, timer.
HTC has given a 2500 mAh battery in the U Play. But the battery lasted only 8 hours and 44 minutes in our HD video loop test. During normal usage, we could last the phone for a full day, which is not bad. The 10W adapter that comes with the phone does not provide fast charging support. The phone has HTC’s Xtreme Power Saving Mode, which allows basic features like calling and messaging by turning off the background connectivity feature.
HTC is a good looking device with good build and overall performance. This phone has a good display, great capacity cameras and long battery life. This phone is available for purchase. We did not get any information about the time when the phone will get the Android Nougat update, but it is expected to get this update soon.
Talking about the shortcomings of the phone, the high price and a budget processor reduce its rating. With a price of Rs 39,990, it is difficult to recommend HTC U Play. By paying a little more than this price, you can go for a flagship smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or an alternative option like the Moto Z (Review).