HTC U Play
Price & Availability
First ImpressionsView All
About the Phone
What captured hearts: the design
The turn-off: battery life (when will you be consistent with this, HTC?) and the absence of a headphone jack (yes, we were in disbelief, too).
Released in February 2017 and a part of HTC’s new U series, comes HTC U Play. The U Series has a beautiful design at its core and incorporates a ‘liquid surface’ treatment which is akin to the surface tension in liquids. The end result is a treat for the eyes. Notwithstanding the kinks in all of its models, HTC always strives to roll a visually pleasing look – and succeeds in it too.
The HTC U Play Brilliant Black, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant will cost you Rs. 36,191. Weighing 145 g and measuring 5.75 x 2.87 x .31 inches, the HTC U Play comes with Android 6.0 Nougat with the HTC Sense UI. It houses a Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 (28 nm). It comes in 3GB RAM/32GB storage or 4GB RAM/64GB Storage variants. The display is 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass, having a 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution. It has a 16MP front camera and 16MP rear camera with auto HDR, speedy focus, and optical image stabilization. It has a non-removable 2500 mAH battery, and a plastic body with a curved glass back and an aluminum frame. It also houses a Mali-T860MP2 GPU.
The HTC U Play is one of the more affordable options in the U series. At the set price, it looks stunning but can be a bit difficult to handle due to the slippery back. You just don’t get the grip right. Be careful and use a case if you have a case of butterfingers. Depending on the color, the back will be a panorama of different hues during different times of the day. You might sit in your office and muse over an important decision while watching the colors play!
On the front, HTC did well by removing its branding, resulting in a cleaner look. The home button doubles as a fingerprint scanner. The dimensions aren’t fully blown out and at 145g, the phone is lightweight which makes it easy to operate one-handed. The power and volume buttons could also have been more comfortably placed.
The 5.2-inch Super LCD has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 which results in excellent brightness and comfortable viewing angles. The colors are saturated just the right amount and do not pain your eyes. Color temperature can be adjusted according to your preference in the Settings app.
The first thing you notice is that while Android has scaled to 7 and 8 as of now, the U Play still operates on 6.0 Nougat OS which seems very outdated. You don’t feel the difference when you use it, though, since HTC’s Sense makes for a relatively clean interface.
There are a couple of extra features but the most useful one is the double tap to wake the screen up. You could do without the others.
The BlinkFeed widget is retained and it shows the most important notifications from various apps like the front page of a newspaper. Use or ditch as you please.
Overall, the interface offers no problems.
What it lacked in the battery department, it tries to make up in the camera department. You won’t be disappointed.
The front camera, lacking in OIS and HDR, is not as good as the rear one. For those who are fond of taking selfies, the front camera won’t disappoint and the the makeup mode won’t morph you into an unrecognizable person with too much foundation.
The rear camera, on the other hand, is bound to make anyone happy. It performs well in low light and the responsive sensor means you can snap some high-quality, fast-moving shots back-to-back.
Apart from the standard photo option, you have the Panorama and Pro modes. The Zoe feature makes a 3 second HD video clip with every shot but stores them separately which means you can’t see your pictures ‘move’ as you scroll through them.
You’ll need to carry around a charger with this one. The phone needs a mid-afternoon or early-evening refilling which is a disappointment. Everyone might not be into visual aesthetics or extra shabang when it comes to a phone, but a reliable battery life is a must. The U Play fails to deliver on this front.
Even if you do not use your phone much, you will be disappointed. You buy a phone to use it. The U Play doesn’t allow you to do much of that, sadly. You can use the power saving modes – both the normal and the extreme one – but they aren’t much help. If anything, they limit your phone usage.
For its accompanying price tag, the HTC U Play needs to have something spectacular, a ‘wow’ factor that compels people to have a look and then makes it hard for them to say no to it.
Unfortunately, it falls short here. And once your friend starts listing off other names that offer much more for the same amount, you are convinced to walk away.
The design and the cameras are satisfactory. But the battery life and absence of a headphone jack are disappointing. If you are willing to carry around your charger and a set of Bluetooth speakers or headphones, you might say yes to buying it.