Do we have a good one for you today – the new LG G6 takes on the new HTC U Ultra. Rather than a huge advertising blitz, HTC introduced us to their new HTC U Ultra somewhere in between CES 2017 and MWC 2017 with little fanfare and what must be a slim advertising budget. The complete opposite is true for the LG G6 – there were rumors, then real device leaks, and finally the real McCoy with plenty of advertising. Both devices use a glass front and back with a metal frame, but it is at that point they part company and go in different directions. The HTC U Ultra looks like a traditional symmetrical smartphone with a large top and bottom bezel where its fingerprint sensor is located, whereas the LG G6 just looks more modern as it continues to thin its bezels and adds the 18:9 display ratio making it look thinner and taller. The HTC U Ultra will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US whereas the LG G6 will work on all major carriers. Let’s see just what these two smartphones have in common and just how much they differ.
The LG G6 and the HTC U Ultra do have a few things in common. The first would be that they are both packing a 5.7-inch display and they both use the LCD technology and the same QHD (QHD+ on the G6) resolution. Both displays have an always-on or second screen from notifications. However, because of the LG G6’s 18:9 ratio and small bezels and the HTC U Ultra’s large bezels, the HTC is larger and weighs 7 grams more than the LG G6. They both use the same Snapdragon 821 processor and the same 530 Adreno GPU for graphics. They both are packing 4GB of DDR4 RAM and both have expandable internal memory via a microSD card. They each have a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device as well as to authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. Both devices have Hi-Res audio and a non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 capabilities. They both have the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and a reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer – and they are both running Android 7.0 Nougat.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below, and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the “View Full Comparison” link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
There are no visible remains of the LG G5 left on the newly designed LG G6, leaving many LG G5 owners out in the cold without any new promised modules that support the G5 design. The LG G6 went for a new sleek, all glass design with smaller bezels and did away with the LG G5’s unpopular painted metal and modular body form. The new design, while modern and sleek, allowed it to gain an IP68 certification, but did away with one of LG’s most beloved features – the removable battery. LG helped ease that loss by increasing the battery size and giving it standard wireless charging. LG not only increased the display from 5.3-inches to 5.7-inches, it also gave it an 18:9 screen ratio that makes it slightly taller and narrower. LG kept the dual cameras but changed their megapixels. Let’s see if LG did enough to their LG G6 and see just how it stacks up to the HTC U Ultra.
The new LG G6 sports a larger 5.7-inch IPS LCD QHD+ display with a new 18:9 screen ratio. This makes the display slightly taller and narrower and allows more display in a smaller area. The display uses the ‘always on’ feature to save battery life on the G6 and to make glancing at notifications much easier. The resolution comes in at 2880 x 1440 pixels with an impressive 564 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and is now Dolby Vision/HDR10 compliant. This ratio gives a more natural theater-like view when watching movies and allows two perfect squares for on-screen multi-tasking. Many are criticizing LG for going with last year’s Snapdragon 821 rather than wait for the SD835 – however, with its availability issues, it may turn out to be a wise move that LG chose the SD821 quad-core processor over the SD835. It has dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and another dual-core clocked at 2.35GHz. The LG G6 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable to 2TB via a microUSB card.
LG likes to use dual cameras on its smartphones – just look at the LG V10, V20, G5, and now the G6. The LG G6 uses dual cameras with the same 13MP sensor for both the primary and secondary camera. The LG G6’s primary shooter comes with an f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, OIS, and dual-tone LED flash for regular picture taking. The second 13MP camera has an ultra-wide-angle lens for capturing a wider group shot or a landscape picture. The secondary camera has fewer features, such as fixed focus and an f/2.4 aperture. LG lowered the FFC from an 8MP to a 5MP and gave it an f/2.4 aperture for selfies and video chatting. LG did take away the removable battery, but increased the size from 2800mAh to a 3300mAh, added Quick Charge 3.0, and standard wireless charging.
LG kept the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device, as well as the on/off switch. LG G6 did away with its perennial IR Blaster, but kept the FM radio around in certain markets. The LG also included Google Assistant on G6 – a first for a non-Google smartphone – so if you are into the Google ecosystem, you can use your LG G6 to communicate with Google Home and Chromecast. The LG G6 measures 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 163 grams and comes in Mystic White, Astro Black, or Ice Platinum. The device is available on all the leading carriers for about $700 for the 32GB model.
HTC U Ultra
HTC is a company that you really want to like and support, but their newest HTC U Ultra smartphone is another example of why they make it so hard to do so. They completely abandoned their signature all-metal housing and jumped into an all-glass design, which many others are doing, but then they made it so shiny on the back, you may need a case just to ward off the fingerprints and to add some grip to the device. Then, HTC takes away half of their potential US customers by making it a GSM only phone, eliminating Verizon and Sprint customers from their potential customer pool. HTC, loves to beat LG and Samsung to the punch, and had to use last year’s Snapdragon 821 processor. They made their announcement between the big electronic shows when nobody was listening and then took their good old time in physically releasing the device. The HTC U Ultra is a beautiful looking smartphone, but in an age where bezels are disappearing, we wonder just how well it will sell – especially with its high price tag.
The HTC U Ultra sports a primary 5.7-inch Super LCD5 display with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 513 PPI. The secondary display, used for notifications, is 1040 x 160 pixels (2.05-inches). It is much like the dual display on the LG V20 or the ‘always-on’ display on the LG G6. It is using the Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6GHZ and a dual-core clocked at 2.15GHz. According to Qualcomm, it produces 10-percent better performance than the SD820 and it continues to use the very capable Adreno 530 GPU for graphics. The HTC U Ultra packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of base internal memory, although a 128GB version is coming, and both will allow expansion of the memory via a microSD card.
HTC has never had a problem tinkering with their camera area, but it was never quite up to par with the competition – until last year when they put it all together and produced a great camera. Fortunately, not much has changed in the new HTC U Ultra, and it still uses the 12MP UltraPixel 2 sensor for their main camera along with an aperture of f/1.8, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) and Laser focus, a dual-tone LED flash, and OIS. HTC included a huge 16MP front-facing camera (FFC) that comes with an f/2.0 aperture, UltraPixel mode, Full HD 1080p, and offers excellent selfies and video chatting. For power, the HTC U Ultra uses a 3000mAh non-removable battery with Quick Charge 3.0 capabilities.
Because of the large bezels, HTC was able to use a front-mounted fingerprint sensor will allow you to unlock your device or authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. HTC Sense Companion is built into the device and is HTC’s version of Google Assistant. HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi is also part of the HTC package and HTC offers a complimentary UH OH Warranty for a 30-day no questions asked return and a one-year, one-time, replacement for broken screens or water damage. The HTC U Ultra measures in at 162.41 x 79.79 x 3.6 – 7.99mm, and weighs in at 170 grams. In the box, you will receive a pair of HTC USonic Adaptive Earphones. HTC Connect is included for connection to items that use Chromecast, DLNA, Airplay, and Miracast Devices. It comes in Brilliant Black, Ice White, and Sapphire Blue. It will be running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and the 64GB will cost you about $749.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
I have to give this easy win to the LG G6 – not because I am anti-HTC by any means – but because it has the superior design, forward thinking, availability on all US networks, and the price for the LG G6 is almost $50 cheaper than the HTC U Ultra.
The LG G6 has a better 18:9 ratio, Dolby Vision/HDR10 compliant display, an as good or better camera, the same amount of RAM, it's physically smaller and lighter in size, has an IP68 certification, features wireless charging, has a larger battery, includes Google Assistant, and is more modern looking with its smaller bezels.
The HTC U Ultra is a nice device and certainly has better speaker sound than the LG G6, but I can find little else to entice me to pick the HTC U Ultra over the LG G6. If you take into account that the U Ultra costs more than LG G6, it makes the G6 the clear winner of this comparison.