With a new year comes a new flagship, though, and this time HTC is taking a very different approach. Meet the new HTC U Ultra, a peculiar little machine that’ll feel at least a little familiar to fans of other high-end smartphones. This mark the debut of the company’s new HTC U series, which is positioned as a premium line, just below its flagship One series.

A stunning liquid surface design

But the first thing you will probably notice about the U Ultra is their all-new design. HTC has moved to a new all-glass exterior, which it calls the Liquid Surface construction, and the company has spent a lot of the time creating a material that mimics the properties, not just the look, of liquid. What that means in practice is that you will sometimes get sensational-looking reflections that lend the U phone a quite unique appearance, but more often than not, you will just wish for something less ‘liquidy’ to grip. The surface of phone is ultra smooth and if you do not put them inside a case, they are liable to keep slipping out of your hand.


HTC U Ultra

HTC U Ultra Display

The other big change on the outside is the U Ultra’s second screen, that is a thin 2-inch strip residing to the right of the front-facing camera and immediately above the Super LCD 5 screen. The 5.7-inch Ultra has what’s now a pretty standard Quad HD resolution on its main display, it maintains the same pixel density on the 160 x 1040 second screen. Exactly as with LG’s V10 and LG’s V20, this strip serves as a landing spot for notifications, shortcuts to frequent contacts, reminders, and music playback controls.

HTC U Ultra Specification

The specs of the U Ultra are in line with current flagship tier expectations: there’s a Snapdragon 821 at the heart of this new smartphone, with 4GB of RAM, and a choice of 64GB or 128GB of the storage. HTC makes an increasingly rare inclusion by also offering a MicroSD card slot for expansion by up to 2TB of extra storage. The camera has upgraded with the addition of phase-detect autofocus, but is otherwise unchanged from the 12MP UltraPixel shooter on the HTC 10. You still get laser autofocus, large pixels, optical image stabilization, and an f/1.8 aperture. Amusingly, the front camera of the HTC U Ultra scales to a higher resolution of 16MP, though it has an UltraPixel mode that produces 4MP snaps.

HTC U Ultra Price

The HTC U Ultra with 64GB of storage goes on pre-sale for $749 from HTC.com in a choice of either black, pink, white, or blue. Deliveries in Taiwan will begin by the end of the January, but the rest of the world will have to wait until March.

HTC is also going to launch a limited edition U Ultra with a sapphire glass screen on the front and 128GB of storage. Launch date and Pricing for that device have yet to be announced.