- Poor battery life
- No headphone jack
- Some random freezes and stuttering
HTC has struggled to make a name for itself in the smartphone market. Their flagship phones have caught people’s eyes due to their sleek design, but for the mid-tier market, their devices have slipped into the background. With the U Play, HTC hopes to stand out from the crowd with its design and aesthetics.
But is it enough?
The U Play offers a fairly standard smartphone look with a glass front and metal frame. What sets it apart, however, is the “Liquid Surface” glass rear that gives the back a pearlescent appearance. While reviewers compliment the overall look of the phone, calling it “stunning”, they also note that the coating makes it difficult to keep clean and hold one-handed due to its slipperiness. Luckily, the screen comes coated with Gorilla Glass 5 to help prevent shattering.
While many smartphone manufacturers are opting for larger screens, HTC has kept the U Play at a usable 5.2 inches. The LCD display offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080 for a pixel density of 428ppi. As expected, critics found the screen to be incredibly sharp. They add it also offers excellent brightness, good viewing angles and vivid colors. Trusted Reviews was one of the few that noticed a light texture of diagonal lines on it, but they add that “It’s one of those niggles you’ll notice only when looking for problems;”
While the screen is good enough for watching HD videos, the biggest drawback is its lack of a headphone jack. Although the phone comes bundled with a headset, it plugs into the USB-C port. That means you cannot listen to music with the bundled headset and charge the phone at the same time. The only solutions to this problem? Wireless headphones or a charging/3.5mm adapter.
To stay within the mid-tier price range, HTC opted for a MediaTek octa-core processor instead of Qualcomm and 4GB of RAM. Thanks to the large amount of RAM, experts found the phone fast enough for day-to-day activities. While the specs should be good enough to run almost every program smoothly, some experienced random freezes, reboots and long app load times.
The smaller 2500mAh battery provided mixed results. Some reviewers were able to get through a full day of use while others had to top it off mid-way through the day. To rub salt into the wound, it also does not come with quick charge, though the small size means it reaches full charge fairly quickly.
For shutterbugs, the 16MP rear camera offered critics good all-round performance thanks to built-in optical image stabilization. Thanks to the f/2.0 aperture, they could get good detail even in low light situations and excellent depth of field for pleasing background bokeh. In terms of video recording, it offers decent performance though it lacks 4K capture.
While a solid Android smartphone, many reviewers have a difficult time recommending the U Play due to its price tag, disappointing battery life and lack of headphone jack. Tech Radar states, “...the U Play doesn’t have that knockout punch in its locker to make people sit up and take notice.” Stuff.tv adds, “This a phone that looks and feels expensive...but the closer you get, more and more of the little things you notice chip away its appeal.”
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