Technology

HTC U23 Pro review

The HTC U23 Pro is a mid-range smartphone that was released in 2023. It has a 6.67-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. The rear camera system consists of a 108MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 5MP macro sensor. The front-facing camera is 32MP.

The HTC U23 Pro runs Android 13 and has a clean, bloatware-free software experience. The phone is also IP67 water and dust resistant.

Here is a more detailed look at the pros and cons of the HTC U23 Pro:

Pros:

  • Clean, bloatware-free software
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • 120Hz OLED display
  • Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset
  • 12GB of RAM
  • 256GB of storage
  • 108MP main camera
  • 8MP ultrawide camera
  • 5MP macro camera

Cons:

  • Display could be brighter
  • Thick bezels
  • High refresh rate handling could be better
  • Battery life is disappointing
  • Camera experience is decent at best

Overall, the HTC U23 Pro is a decent mid-range smartphone. It has a good mix of features and performance, but it is let down by its display, battery life, and camera. If you are looking for a better mid-range smartphone, I would recommend the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G or the Google Pixel 6.

Design & Build

  • Flat, angled plastic rim and plush plastic rear
  • Somewhat hefty at 205g and 8.9mm thick
  • IP67 rated

HTC, a company previously acclaimed for its innovative smartphone design, now focuses on the HTC U23 Pro model with a goal of providing cost-effective reliability. The flat plastic rim, plastic back, and flat display of the device do not evoke reminiscent memories of the HTC One M7.

There exist subtle embellishments that can be observed in this context, yet they are notably discreet. The flat rim of the phone exhibits a slight inclination, thereby creating the perceptual illusion of a marginally reduced rear aspect compared to the front.

The plastic back panel also exhibits a tactile soft-touch texture providing a luxurious sensation, while visually portraying an understated opulence, particularly in the distinctive Coffee Black hue of my analyzed model, which incorporates a subtle dark brown tint under certain lighting conditions. If desired, one may also opt to acquire the telephone through a more traditional interpretation of the Snow White fairy tale.

The U23 Pro’s screen is protected with the highly durable Gorilla Glass Victus, rendering it aptly resilient for a smartphone positioned within the mid-range segment. In addition, one avails the nearly commensurate certification of dust and water resistance typically associated with high-end devices, courtesy of an IP67 rating.

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Although the design of the HTC U23 Pro may seem understated, it fails to mask the device’s inherent characteristics of being significantly large and heavy. The device possesses a thickness of 8. 9mm and a weight of 205g. These dimensions do not render it burdensome to transport, nor does it easily get lost when placed in one’s pocket.

The device comes equipped with a pair of sonically prominent stereo speakers, albeit with a slightly metallic tone, and its increased thickness allows for the incorporation of a 3. 5mm headphone jack on the upper edge. Authentication is effectively managed through the utilization of a fingerprint sensor that is conveniently located within the power button positioned on the right edge. While the authentication process is generally dependable, it does not particularly excel in terms of speed.

Screen

  • 6.7in FHD+ 120Hz OLED
  • Colour accuracy way off the mark
  • Auto-brightness flaky

The U23 Pro by HTC incorporates a 6. 7-inch OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution and a rapid refresh rate of 120Hz. The aforementioned specification list possesses characteristics indicative of competitiveness, and it is commendable to observe the default inclusion of a 120Hz feature, obviating the need to navigate through the settings menu in order to activate it.

Nevertheless, this particular exhibition has proven to be decidedly disagreeable, as it ranks among the most displeasing instances I have encountered in recent memory. The subject primarily concerns the excessive vibrancy of colors displayed on the screen.

Each of the three color mode options, namely Natural, Boosted, and Adaptive, exhibits a striking and excessive level of saturation, resulting in an ostentatious appearance for various visual elements ranging from web content to video footage. Possibly due to a sense of nostalgia associated with the HTC brand, the author was reminded of the early phase of Android smartphones, characterized by Samsung’s initial OLED panels exhibiting excessive color vibrancy.

The application of a colorimeter in a standardized examination of the HTC U23 Pro has substantiated the lack of color accuracy in all modes, particularly in reference to the prevalent sRGB color space, which is commonly calibrated for most content.

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The illuminance level achieved is 488 nits when the auto brightness functionality is disabled. Enabling the auto brightness feature on the LED device resulted in anomalous functionality, wherein the screen alternated between excessive brightness and excessive darkness in varied environmental circumstances.

In addition to an observed deficiency in HDR10 and Dolby Vision compatibility, the display of the HTC U23 Pro exhibits qualities of an OLED component of lesser quality compared to those typically encountered in the £500 category.

Specs & Performance

  • Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor
  • 12GB of RAM
  • 256GB storage, microSD slot

The HTC U23 Pro is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor, a chip that belongs to the mid-range category and has not been widely incorporated in previous mobile devices. One of the most prominently notable instances in recent times involves the Xiaomi 13 Lite, which directly competes with the HTC U23 Pro. The presence of this feature is additionally found in the Motorola Razr 40.

In a similar fashion to the aforementioned Xiaomi mid-range smartphone, the HTC U23 Pro demonstrates satisfactory performance capabilities with the advantage of an impressive 12GB of RAM. This configuration allows for smooth transitions between applications and effortless navigation through menus, facilitated by the device’s remarkable 120Hz refresh rate. As elucidated in the preceding section, the process of unlocking the phone with the utilization of the fingerprint sensor does not exhibit remarkable expeditiousness.

The gaming performance is commendable, as the physics-intensive console racing game Wreckfest runs smoothly, albeit not flawlessly, when played on settings ranging from medium to high.

In the realm of CPU benchmarking, the HTC U23 Pro outperforms the Xiaomi 13 Lite, achieves a comparable performance to the Nothing Phone (1), yet significantly underperforms in comparison to the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion and the Poco F5. In terms of customary graphical processing unit (GPU) benchmarks, the HTC device exhibits comparable performance to the Xiaomi 13 Lite and the Nothing Phone (1); however, it significantly lags behind the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, the Poco F5, and even the Pixel 6a in terms of GPU performance.

Cameras

  • 108Mp main camera with OIS
  • 8Mp ultra-wide, 5Mp macro, 2Mp depth
  • Struggles with lighting extremes

The camera system of the HTC U23 Pro exhibits characteristics fitting for a mid-range device. This proposition holds superficial appeal, considering the phone’s moderate price range; however, in light of the Pixel 7a (and presently reduced Pixel 6a) being offered at significantly lower prices, it is improbable that this particular device would evoke admiration from potential customers.

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The setup of the device is robust, anchored by a 108-megapixel primary sensor that incorporates both optical image stabilization (OIS) and electronic image stabilization (EIS). Additionally, it boasts a broad aperture of f/1. 7 This phenomenon leads to moderately sharp and aesthetically natural-looking photographs under favorable lighting conditions. HTC demonstrates a restraint in enhancing color saturation, a practice commonly observed among mid-range manufacturers.

The limitations of the U23 Pro became apparent when capturing footage on a day with abundant sunlight, as the resulting images exhibited a lack of definition and appeared excessively pale, indicating the camera’s inability to adequately adjust for these conditions. In alternative frames wherein the brightness did not excessively invade the scene, subtle indications of overexposure in the background were observed.

On separate occasions, during an endeavor to capture a detailed image of a beer glass juxtaposed against a harbor backdrop with diminished sunlight, the U23 Pro camera was proficient in accurately representing the desired tonal quality. However, it encountered difficulty in promptly focusing on the primary subject situated in the foreground, necessitating three successive attempts to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Battery Life & Charging

  • 4600mAh battery yields mediocre battery life
  • Slow 30W wired charging
  • 15W wireless charging support

Given the HTC U23 Pro’s thick, heavy body and heavy use of plastic, it’s a bit of a surprise to learn that it only has a 4600mAh battery. I would have expected a standard 5000mAh cell.

As anticipated, I discovered the phone’s endurance to be somewhat subpar. During a day of moderately frequent usage (approximately 14 hours of being disconnected from the charger, accompanied by slightly over 3 hours of active screen usage), I noted a decrease in the phone’s battery level to 38%. In such a scenario, it is not uncommon to have approximately fifty percent of fuel capacity remaining.

Specs

  • Android 13
  • 6.7in, FHD+, OLED, 120Hz, flat display
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
  • 12GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • 108Mp, f/1.7 main camera
  • 8Mp ultra-wide camera
  • 5Mp macro camera
  • 2Mp depth
  • Up to 4K @ 30fps rear video
  • 32Mp front-facing camera
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dual-SIM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • 4600mAh battery
  • 30W wired charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 166.6 x 77.1 X 8.9mm
  • 205g
  • Launch colours: Coffee Black, Snow White