The HTC U Ultra supports VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling (which needs carrier support to work). The chipset supports several LTE bands (both FDD and TDD) so you should have no trouble traveling abroad, but the phone will not work on CDMA carriers. The Home dialing assistant will make sure to add the correct country code to numbers that don't have it.
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.
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 describe their best uses.
Music goes for traditional stereo sound and creates good 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 good too. However, it affects the sound, especially vocals and high frequencies, so it's best to use the right mode.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
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.
HTC continues to use 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 use (and there's even emoji prediction, imagine that!).
Note that this is the free version of the keyboard. You can get 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).
HTC preloaded the Record app - as you may have heard, the company partnered with Under Armour to make fitness tracking solutions. This app is how you control them. You can use 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 famous people as they post updates (you can post too), a mini social network to keep your motivation up.
The Voice recorder app seems basic, but it's worth pointing out that it has high-quality recording modes - AAC LC (good 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.
It was nice to see the Flashlight, an old 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.
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).