HTC has been as clear as mud on whether the new U Ultra is considered the company's true 2017 flagship, or whether it's an experimental offshoot ahead of an HTC 11 (or an otherwise-named successor to last year's high-ender). Either way, let's see how the Ultra stacks up next to the firm's unquestioned 2016 flagship, the HTC 10.
The HTC U Ultra is considerably bigger, and the first high-end phablet we've seen from HTC since late 2013. (Remember the pocket-busting HTC One Max?) Compared to the HTC 10, the Ultra measures 11-percent taller and wider, but also 11-percent thinner.
Considering the size difference, it's impressive that the U Ultra is only about 6-percent heavier than the HTC 10.
When imagining the U Ultra, it looks like HTC's designers sat down at their drafting tables with a picture of a Samsung Galaxy phone hanging on the wall. Not only does the Ultra share a glass back and aluminum frame with recent Galaxies, they also look strikingly similar from behind.
You have one more color option to choose from with the HTC 10.
The HTC U Ultra has a 20-percent bigger display (measured by area, which is more meaningful than diagonals).
Both have ultra-sharp QHD displays, which means the much-smaller screen on the 10 has the better PPI.
Both use IPS panels.
In a bizarre clone-job of LG's V series, HTC added a strip of second display to the upper-right of the main screen. Just like LG's, it gives you shortcuts and notifications that don't intrude on your primary real estate.
One of our favorite features in the HTC 10 was its 24-bit DAC to please the audiophiles. That's gone this year.
HTC also followed the trend of ditching the headphone jack. While we understand that there are points in history where you need to ditch a legacy port, what's the reason for this one? If losing the 3.5-mm port adds space, how is that space being utilized? What does that add to the user experience?
Or is it just "Apple is doing it, so we are too?"
While it's launching a year later, the U Ultra only has a half-generation-newer processor. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 will be arriving soon, but the Ultra skips the latest mobile silicon.
RAM stays even, at 4 GB.
HTC is skipping a lower 32 GB tier for the Ultra, simplifying things with a lone 64 GB option.
Both let you pop in a microSD card to augment your internal storage.
HTC isn't messing around with the front shooter in the Ultra, providing high-resolution selfies.
Camera aperture (rear)
Aperture, which often determines the quality of low-lit shots, stays put at ƒ/1.8.
On paper, neither phone is breaking any records with battery capacity. On the other hand, the HTC 10 had a fine score in our battery benchmark, so we'll withhold judgment on the Ultra until we run it through tests. (Many factors determine actual battery life.)
Both phones have capacitive, home-button fingerprint sensors.
Both run Android Nougat, with HTC's Sense UI (one of the tamer of custom Android skins) layered on top.
The HTC U Ultra is up for pre-order now, but doesn't start shipping until mid-March.
Starting price (full retail)
The HTC 10 currently rings up for US$599, but if you're open to a lightly-used model, you can likely snag it for much less.
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