HTC U Play: Pricing, specifications & availability

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HTC’s U Play pitches to the more budget-conscious parts of the market.

HTC U Play: What is it?

While HTC is headlining its current smartphone efforts around the premium HTC U Ultra handset, it’s not the only member of its freshly branded "U" family you can opt to buy. The smaller and less powerful HTC U Play is designed as the handset for those who prefer a lighter touch in both the hand and hit to the wallet.

The HTC U Play is very much the shrunk-down version of the HTC U Ultra, and in many ways reflects the kind of strategy Apple has had with its iPhone models ever since it introduced plus-sized models. If you want the latest and greatest, you’ll have to opt for the bigger handset, but if you don’t like big phones or your budget is constrained, then the smaller model may be more to your taste.

The HTC U Play is an Android 7.0 ("Nougat") phone that uses the same design style and colour schemes as its bigger brethren. It’s a style that HTC calls "Liquid Surface", with the colourful rear casings of the phone gliding gently around to the display screen. HTC has eschewed full metal casings this year, which at least makes the U Play look different.

While the HTC U Ultra scores a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, underneath the HTC U Play’s screen you’ll find the more moderate octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 and 3GB of RAM for the local version. HTC will produce 4GB variants of the HTC U Play, but that’s not the version we’ll see in Australia officially. Storage is likewise 32GB for the local phone although a 64GB version will appear in other markets. That may be moot given that the HTC U Play will support external microSD card storage up to 2TB.

HTC layers its own Sense UI over the top of Android 7.0 on the HTC U Play, as well as the Sense Companion software. HTC’s pitch is that Sense Companion is always listening and learning so that it can provide more useful information when you give it a voice query than the existing Google Now voice assistant.

The HTC U Play has a 5.2 inch 1080p display, putting it squarely into the mid-range bracket as far as screen resolution goes.

Like its larger sibling, you won’t find a headphone socket on the HTC U Play. HTC’s gone down the Apple path here, talking up USB-C’s superior audio quality thanks to the included USB C connected headphones that HTC will bundle in every box. These will, according to HTC, adjust to your unique listening profile to provide you with the best possible audio equalisation no matter what your hearing is actually like.

On the camera front, the HTC U Play sports twin 16MP rear and front sensors. Like the HTC U Ultra, the HTC U Play can use software to emulate HTC’s low-light "ultrapixel" mode on the front camera, although doing so drops it to an effective 4MP rating.

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HTC U Play: Australian release date

HTC Australia has officially launched in Australia on contract with Vodafone. It's also available through JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman Stores around Australia.

HTC U Play: Price

As expected, the HTC U Play is a mid-range phone, and retails for $799 when purchased outright. The phone is available on a range of plans through Vodafone as well, which lowers the up front price substantially.

HTC U Play Specifications:

HTCU Play
Screen size5.2in
Storage32/64GB
Weight145g
ProcessorMediaTek Helio P10
Rear camera16MP
Front camera16MP
Battery2500mAh
Resolution1920x1080
Display density423ppi
RRP$799

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