Editor’s note: HTC did not allow us to record any footage of the HTC U Ultra and U Play due to the non-final software.

While the new HTC U Ultra is certainly the star of the new U line-up, the U Play is the perfect mid-range device for HTC fans that want something a bit smaller and don’t mind less aggressive specs as as result.

Read: HTC U Ultra hands-on: a major change for HTC

Not only is the HTC U Play smaller than its more powerful brother, it also offers a somewhat different take on design. While both phones swap metal for glass this time around, different camera shapes and other refinements make it pretty easy to tell the two models apart, in addition to the obvious size difference.

On the spec side of things, the HTC U Play is powered by a MediaTek Helio processor and offers a more modest 5.2-inch 1080p display. Other specs include 32 or 64GB storage with microSD for expansion, a 16MP rear camera, a 16MP front cam with UltraPixel switching tech, and a 2,500 mAh battery.

The specs here obviously aren’t as premium as the U Ultra, but they are still pretty solid, including little extras like high-quality sound and USonic adaptive sound that figures out the optimal sound conditions for your ear based on the noise around it.

For a full look at what is under the hood, check out the spec sheet below:

Display5.2-inch Super LCD display with 1920x1080 resolution
ProcessorOcta-core 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 processor
Storage32/64 GB
expandable via microSD card up to 2 TB
Camera16 MP rear camera, OIS, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, dual tone LED flash
16 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
Battery2,500 mAh
SoftwareAndroid 7.0 Nougat
Dimensions145.99 x 72.9 x 3.5-7.99 mm
145 grams

On the software front, the HTC U Play offers Android 7.0 Nougat with Sense on top. That also means you get the brand new Sense Companion, just like the HTC U Ultra.

What is this companion feature exactly? Basically it is a personal assistant that HTC is always learning from your habits and can remind you of all sorts of things like if you need to give your phone a little extra charge to make it through the day depending on your schedule, recommending restaurants, warning you to leave for work early based on weather and road conditions, and more.

Not much is known about the pricing or release details for the HTC U Play just yet, other than we can expect it in “select global markets” in early 2017. What do you think of the mid-range U Play, would you consider picking one up if the price is right? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.

Andrew Grush
Andrew is one of the three Managing Editors of Android Authority, primarily responsible for the overseeing of US team of writers, in addition to several other projects such as VR Source and more. He loves tech, gaming, his family, and good conversations with like-minded folks.
  • Daan Brandt

    To be honest, it looks ugly and far more fragile than the htc10. And a 2500 battery just isn’t enough.

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    • Jack_Package

      Exactly, that battery is just tiny. And we’re talking about HTC here, so you bet your ass the pricing will be unrealistic.

      • David Martrano

        Oh boy, more crap from the barn of HTC!!

        • David Martrano

          You will be hitting the plug a couple of times a day with this battery! I just don’t understand their reasoning with this entry! And too top it off last year’s specs. Why oh why!!

          • dawhoda


  • #Note5 IsBoss

    Pretty sad useless and worthless this handset is dead just like HTC.

    • squiddy20

      “Pretty sad useless and worthless”
      Awww, just like you!

  • Kunal Narang

    If the price is less $200, then someone can at least consider it.

  • Zealot

    I took both my hands to my face when I saw it’s a Mediatek SOC and not Qualcomm. Disappointed beyond belief. HTC continues to insist in ridiculously large phones that only a minority wants, then gives idiotic battery capacity and cut down camera features in the smaller model, just like in the One mini. I can’t be sympathetic to such stupidity by design. I have the HTC 10 and I find it too large and too heavy, my wife wants to upgrade her One M7, which is 4.7″, but insists she doesn’t want a bigger phone, just a much better camera. What the heck am I supposed to do now that HTC refuses to listen, despite me saying this in the Elevate forum for years?
    Also, since it’s a Mediatek chip, there’s no QuickCharge in it, or is there? Can anyone confirm this?

    • Confucius Say ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Mediatek has their own form of proprietary quick charging, so you should be fine on that front. Plus at 2500 mah, I’m sure it’ll juice up quickly.

      • Zealot

        Hold on, I’m only going to “be fine on that front” if the QuickCharge 3.0 chargers that I bought since going for the HTC 10 also give a quick charge on this HTC U Play. Which I don’t think so, since you said it yourself, Mediatek has their own proprietary quick charging!

        • Confucius Say ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          Hold on to your panties there Zealot. Most likely, no your QC 3.0 will not work with the U Play because the technology is different. But then again, why would you want to purchase the U Play when you own an HTC 10? The Snapdragon 820 is far superior to the P10 in this high-end midranger. And yes it does suck that there are so many different standards of fast charging these days, but it is what it is. At least the many different standards are good for competition and innovation in this space.

          • Zealot

            Like I said on my first comment, my wife wants to upgrade her 4.7″ HTC One M7.

          • Confucius Say ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            If you’re looking for a smallish flagship I’d recommend the Honor 8. It’s 5.2 inches has flagship specs and can be had for under $300.00 new online. The Sony Xperia X Compact is another good option at only 4.7 inches, but it’s specs aren’t quite as good for the same price. Both would be definitely upgrades coming from the M7 though.

            Also, if your wife isn’t opposed to iOS the Iphone SE is a beast at only 4 inches.

    • Margaret

      I have a HTC desire eye and it’s wonderful. I love this phone to bits and my only gripe is there is only 16Gb of memory. That’s why I was looking for a better version but I don’t really trust any other brand but apple to have such great camera quality. It’s 13MP front facing and rear. The battery isn’t much better than the HTC U play but I can go an entire day texting and from 0:00 to 18:00 and I would barely be at 30%. The only reason I bought the desire eye was because my Galaxy s6 died and I was looking for something with better camera quality. Yeah this phone certainly is as big as I could every want it (maybe even too big) sitting at 5.97 x 2.91 inches, but I got used to it quickly. I’m an artist and I love it when my art looks as crisp in pictures as it does in real life. You can put an sd card in it. I got it for $200 on amazon because it’s out of stock on the HTC website. If I’m being honest here I’m actually excited for the HTC U play because it’s an upgrade to my current phone.

  • disqus_MCH1WGg

    Dear Google, besides the oft-mentioned and obvious hardware improvements to the Pixel, how about these things, too:
    1. Re-brand Android already. It is a tarnished brand and confuses people by simply existing. Call it GoogleOS and get it over with.
    2. Make GoogleOS (ex-Android) morph into a desktop, windowed OS, AUTOMATICALLY once you have connected your Pixel to a monitor and keyboard (yes, just like Microsoft’s continuum!).
    3. Then use this “new” GoogleOS on you other products, as well, like laptops and boxes. ChromeOS w/Android apps is great, but Android AKA GoogleOS on EVERYTHING would be much better and easier for people to comprehend.
    Google has all the ingredients needed to create the one ecosystem to rule them all, and with the pixel as their flagship, it is theirs for the taking,

  • The One

    I love this review! Thank you for being honest and calling out both Sprint and HTC for their bull sh!t. The phone makes no sense with the 810 and lack of audio adapter and Sprint’s data network is just trash. Even T-Mobile is better. How sad is that?!

  • Georgi Marinov

    2500 mAh battery for a pretty old 28 nm SoC and FullHD display? The perfect recipe for yet another huge HTC disaster.