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March Release For New HTC U Smartphone

At a press briefing in Sydney today, HTC Australia confirmed that its new HTC U series of handsets will be rolling out for Australian customers from March 8th.

Both the HTC U Ultra and U Play are available for pre-sale in the meantime.

First revealed back in January, the Ultra features a dual-display, on-board support for 24-bit audio and integration with HTC’s AI (accelerating intelligence) software (called the HTC Sense Companion).

Camera-wise, the Ultra boasts a 16-megapixel sensor, with support for UltraPixel images, laser auto-focus and 4K video recording.

Comparing to the specs of last year’s HTC 10, HTC Product Manager Thomas Dexmier highlighted the Ultra’s laser-focus.

He says it focuses faster and is better at focusing on moving objects.

Dexmier says that they treated the camera of the HTC 10 as a “baseline” and then made improvements to the laser-focus, optical image stabilisation and sensor involved.

What’s more, users are able to toggle between Ultra-Pixel and standard image modes with ease.

He went on to explain that the Ultra-Pixel mode would be better suited for selfies (as it could capture more light) while the traditional or HDR camera settings would work better for outdoor environments.

If nothing else, it should finally provide a clear and demonstrable tool for explaining the difference between regular and Ultra Pixels, which popular tech blog Gizmodo has previously slammed as a “made-up marketing word.”

It’ll arrive at an RRP of $1199 outright through JB Hi-Fi and Harvey-Norman or through a plan via Vodafone.

Meanwhile the HTC U Play drops the second-display, reduces the specs on the camera and processor but reduces the build size. It’s a slimmer device that comes with sharp-but-smaller screen.

The Play will retail for $799, and is available through the same channels as its higher-end companion.

Both will arrive in four different color variants – Indigo Blue, Black Oil, Cosmic Pink Gold, and Iceberg White.

HTC confirmed that the premium Sapphire version of the handset, available in the US, won’t be making its way here.

Expect a review of the products on ChannelNews in the near future.

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