HTC U Ultra Review: All That Glitters: Telephony, Messaging, Loudspeaker, Other Apps

By 12:21 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Telephony

The HTC U Ultra supports VoLTE and Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) calling (which needs carrier support to work). The chipset supports several LTE bands (both FDD and TDD) so you should have no distress traveling abroad, but the phone will not work on CDirect Memory Access (DMA) carriers. The Home dialing assistant will create sure to add the correct country code to numbers that don't have it.






HTC U Ultra dialer

Flip to mute, Quiet ring on pickup and Pocket mode are available (the latter boosts the loudspeaker volume when the phone is in your pocket or bag). The U Ultra supports Android Nougat's native call blocking abilities.

Loudspeaker

The HTC U Ultra has stereo speakers in a setup that has become popular on HTC phones - the earpiece is used as the second speaker in the stereo pair. Two modes are available, Theater and Music and their names portray their best uses.

Music goes for traditional stereo sound and creates fine separation. The Theater mode feels more like multi-channel emulation and creates a more immersive sound.

The effect is quite pronounced and we think quite fine too. However, it affects the sound, especially vocals and high frequencies, so it's best to utilize the correct mode.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score

Meizu Pro 6 Plus 60.6 69.5 70.3 Below Average

Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus 65.0 68.2 70.8 Average

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 70.0 69.1 71.8 Good

Apple iPhone 7 Plus 68.3 72.2 72.9 Good

LG V20 68.2 68.6 80.9 Good

HTC U Ultra (Theater) 67.3 73.1 80.6 Very Good

HTC U Ultra (Music) 61.7 73.1 86.7 Very Good

HTC 10 evo 65.8 75.4 80.6 Very Good

ZTE Axon 7 66.4 72.2 84.1 Very Good

Huawei Mate 9 83.1 74.5 85.0 Excellent

Messaging

The messaging app is simple and with clean Material Design looks. You can adjust the message preview between 1 and 3 lines for the threaded view. The app's wallpaper and speech bubble colors can be customized.






Basic messaging app • Saying hi • Blocking contacts • Changing speech bubble colors

HTC continues to utilize the TouchPal keyboard as the default on its phones. It offers solid customization options like 2-axis resizing, split view and themes (including custom fonts). You can add a number row, pick which emoji to utilize (and there's even emoji prediction, imagine that!).






The TouchPal keyboard • 2-axis resizing • Split keyboard • Themes

Note that this is the free version of the keyboard. You can acquire a bit extra out of it, by enabling TouchPal Cloud, which will offer better word suggestions and teach you about trends in words and phrases. The Cloud will also sync your personal dictionary (privacy-minded people may not like that).

Other apps

HTC preloaded the Record app - as you may have heard, the company partnered with Under Armour to create fitness tracking solutions. This app is how you control them. You can utilize the full HTC Healthbox combo - a smart band, chest heart rate monitor and a smart scale. It was nice to see that this isn't locked to just the UA brand, also supported are: the Samsung Gears (S2, S3, Fit2), Withings watches, Fibtit, Garmin, Jawbone and so on.

The app can work without accessories. It can count steps and calories, track activity and sleep time, even your general mood. You can follow friends and well-known people as they post updates (you can post too), a mini social network to haged your motivation up.






UA Record app • Logging your exercises • Samsung Gears are supported • And many others

The Voice recorder app seems basic, but it's worth pointing out that it has high-quality recording modes - AAC LC (fine but lossy) and FLAC (lossless and Hi-Res, but takes up a lot of space). There is no option to record 360° audio. However, we assume that's the default mode though, just like it is in the camera.





Voice recorder • Switching audio codecs • Lossless FLAC recording

It was nice to see the Flashlight, an recent HTC standby, but it has lost its ability to change the light power of the LEDs. We're used to a certain standard of living, HTC, that includes three brightness levels for the flashlight app.




The flashlight app has only one brightness level

Jokes aside, this about exhausts the list of useful pre-loaded apps. Facebook (+ Messenger) and Instagram came pre-installed, a dead-simple Weather app and some bloatware (to be fair, it seems that it was region-dependent cruft).


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