HTC brings the U23 pro to the market in Europe. In older HTC phones, U stood for “high-end.” The HTC Desire 22 Pro from the year before had a different name because we didn’t like the high RRP and poor update support. In Germany, HTC only sells one version of the U23 pro. It has 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Even though it’s called “Pro,” the HTC U23 Pro is a good mid-range phone, which is a little frustrating in some ways. Not too long ago, HTC was known for making some of the best smartphones on the market. Their build quality, speakers, and pictures set the standard.
HTC U23 Pro: Description
The company seems to be focusing more on virtual reality headsets these days, but at least the name is back to making reliable (if a little boring) Android phones. The most current one is the HTC U23 Pro, and on paper, this $499/£500 mid-range phone looks like it could beat the best phones. You get a big battery, a camera with 108MP, wireless charging, and a screen that refreshes every 120Hz. The HTC U23 Pro has a 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED screen, a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor, and a (sort of) quad camera system all packed into an IP67-rated body with Gorilla Glass Victus on the front.
In this “quad” camera setup, you get a main camera with 108MP, OIS, and a wide f/1.7 lens, an ultra-wide camera with 8MP, a macro camera with 5MP, and a depth sensor with 2MP. All of this makes us think that it’s more like a set-up with two cameras. Other features include 12GB of RAM and 256GB of built-in storage. A microSD slot lets you add more storage. There is a 4,600mAh battery that looks pretty small, as well as support for 30W wired charging and 15W wireless charging. There is also a 3.5mm jack for headphones. The HTC U23 Pro costs £499, which is also a mid-range price. It looks like a pretty complete mid-range package.
HTC U23 Pro: Price and Availability
HTC has set the U23 pro’s at $596. The company that makes the phone sells it through its own online store. Users can also buy the item through Amazon US. At £499, the Pixel 7a, the Poco F5, and the Xiaomi 13 Lite are all £50 cheaper than the HTC U23 Pro.
It’s the same price as the stylish Motorola Edge 30 Fusion, but since that phone is so old, you can get it for much less than RRP now. You can buy the HTC U23 Pro from Amazon or from HTC’s online store.
HTC U23 Pro Specifications Table
HTC makes the U23 pro with a mix of materials. The frame is made out of metal, and the back is made out of plastic. Gorilla Glass Victus protects the screen. The 6.7-inch screen is flat, and the edges on the forehead and chin are a little bit bigger. The front camera is in a hole that was made for it.
|Display||6.7 inches FHD+ OLED, 120Hz|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1|
|Camera||108MP, f/1.7 + 8MP, f/2.4 ultrawide + 5MP, f/2.2 macro + 2MP depth rear|
|Operating system||Android 13|
|Battery||4600mAh w/ 30W wired, 15W wireless, 5W reverse wireless charging|
|Ports||USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack|
HTC U23 Pro: Design and Build
HTC used to be known for pushing the limits of smartphone design, but the HTC U23 Pro aims for reliability at a low price. It doesn’t really remind me of the HTC One M7 with its flat plastic edge, plastic back, and flat screen. There are some touches in this piece, but they are very subtle. For example, that flat rim is just a little bit curved, which makes it look like the back of the phone is a little bit smaller than the front. The back of the phone is made of plastic, but it has a soft-touch finish that feels quite plush and looks quietly luxurious, especially in my review model’s odd Coffee Black color, which looks dark brown in the light.
You can also pick up the phone in a more traditional Snow White way if you want to. For a mid-range phone, the U23 Pro’s screen is made of Gorilla Glass Victus, which is nice and tough. With an IP67 grade, you also get certification against dust and water that is almost as good as that of a flagship phone. Even though this design is simple, it can’t hide the fact that the HTC U23 Pro is quite big and heavy. It’s 8.9mm thick and weighs 205g, which doesn’t make it hard to carry around and doesn’t mean it won’t fit in your pocket.
HTC U23 Pro: Display
The U23 pro from HTC has a 6.7-inch OLED screen with a ratio of 20:9 and a highest refresh rate of 120 Hz. HTC, unlike many other companies, doesn’t let the program choose the refresh rate. There are only fixed numbers of 60, 90, or 120 Hz. First, let’s talk about light. On the slider, we measure a maximum of 725 nits, which is good enough for most outdoor situations but doesn’t do much to surprise. Auto brightness works pretty well on the U23 Pro, but it doesn’t seem to make the highest brightness any brighter.
There are three different color choices for the U23 Pro’s screen: Natural, Boosted, and Adaptive. All three try to reach DCI-P3 and offer a wide range of colors. In terms of how true the colors are, all three modes look pretty much the same, and none of them are very accurate. All of the main color channels tend to be oversaturated on the U23 Pro. This is likely done to give the screen that “pop” that OLEDs are known for. Most of the time, the U23 Pro does that job well.
The screen on the HTC U23 Pro doesn’t work with HDR. But some HDR processing is already built in, especially for HDR10 and HLG. But there is neither HDR10+ nor Dolby Vision. The U23 Pro has the highest level of L1 Widevine DRM approval. This means that streaming services like Netflix can offer FullHD streams and use the full native resolution of the display.
HTC U23 Pro: Cameras
Don’t think that the back of the HTC U23 Pro has four big cameras. You have a normal 108MP camera, an 8MP ultrawide lens for wide landscapes or group shots, and a 5MP macro lens for close-up shots of products, plants, and textures. However, that fourth ring is just a 2MP depth camera. No matter which lens you use, you’ll get photos with good color and lots of detail. Inside shots lacked a little warmth, and details were lost in dark areas, but this is nothing that a little editing on the device can’t fix.
Out in my garden on a bright and sunny summer day, the sensors had no trouble showing the difference in color between a row of colorful plant pots. The macro lens was able to make sense of the fruits and flowers, and video was able to keep up with the changing lighting conditions. If you use your phone a lot and quickly fill up your storage, you can use the bottom slider of the Camera app to switch to Pro mode, which gives you a lot of direct control, and 108MP mode.
Yes, the sensor’s full range is not set to a single level. You’ll have to choose it by hand each time. It’s a good way to get a lot of information for later framing, reusing, and cropping, but it’s not very useful because it’s locked at 1x zoom and can’t be used with portrait mode, night mode, or almost any other settings. The 32MP front-facing camera has a lot to offer people who love taking selfies and making video calls. There are even some built-in ways to make yourself look better, like making your eyes bigger or making your cheeks smaller.
HTC U23 Pro: Speaker
The U23 Pro only comes with a single bottom-firing speaker. There isn’t even a hybrid sound setup. That’s kind of a bummer, since you can get a sound system for this price. On the plus side, the U23 Pro got a “VERY GOOD” score for noise in our tests, even if it was just by a hair. The U23 Pro’s sound is pretty clean in terms of frequency response.
Especially mids like it when voices sound good and clear. There are no other audio choices that you can change or try out. There is no balance or anything similar. You have to use what HTC gives you right out of the box.
HTC U23 Pro: Performance
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is used in the HTC U23 Pro. This is a mid-range chip that we haven’t seen in too many phones before. The Xiaomi 13 Lite, which is a straight competitor of the HTC U23 Pro, may be the most well-known example from the past few years. The Motorola Razr 40 also has it. As with that other mid-range Xiaomi phone, the HTC U23 Pro runs well, and its amazing 12GB of RAM helps it do so. You can switch between apps and scroll through menus at a smooth 120Hz. The gaming performance is good. The physics-heavy console racer Wreckfest runs well on medium to high settings, if not perfectly.
In CPU benchmarks, the HTC U23 Pro beats the Xiaomi 13 Lite, ties with the Nothing Phone (1), and is far behind the Motorola Edge 30 Fusion and the Poco F5. In short, the HTC U23 Pro works well enough for its category, but players can get much faster phones for the same price or even less. One last feature that stands out is that it comes with 256GB of internal storage as normal, and you can add more storage with a microSD slot. HTC did a great job of going the extra mile here.
HTC U23 Pro: Battery Life
Given that the HTC U23 Pro is thick, heavy, and mostly made of plastic, the fact that it only has a 4600mAh battery comes as a bit of a surprise. I thought it would be a regular 5000mAh cell. With only 4600mAh, the HTC U23 Pro doesn’t have a very good battery. It seems like the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is being asked to save a little too much power here. Don’t get me wrong; the phone will easily last a whole day. It’s just that I’d like to see it last a second day without needing to be charged every night.
For normal daily use, which for me means about an hour of gaming, a lot of Twitter, Discord, Slack, and emails, a full charge won’t need to be quickly topped up at lunch to get you home. And if you’re happy with how much power you have left in your battery, you can use the reverse charging tool to give some of that power to another connected device, like a friend’s phone. That one works wirelessly on gadgets that can do that.
HTC U23 Pro: Pros and Cons
The HTC U23 Pro is a mid-range phone with a 120Hz OLED screen, a 108MP main camera, and IP67 water resistance. But it has some problems, like a thick design, a short battery life, and a high price. Overall, the U23 Pro is a good mid-range phone, but it’s not the best value for money.
- Decent performance from Snapdragon 7 Gen 1
- wireless charging
- Reverse charging
- expandable memory
- IP67 rated
- Mediocre battery life
- All-plastic chassis
- short update support
The HTC U23 Pro is a very good mid-range smartphone. It does a lot of things right, like having a big screen with a high refresh rate and stock software that works well. But this smartphone is far from perfect. We think the style could be a little more interesting, and most importantly, the camera needs to be much better. With that in mind, we don’t think the HTC U23 Pro is a bad choice per se. You could buy it and be very happy with it, but there is a lot of competition at this price point (around $500/£500). For instance, for the same amount of money, you can get a Samsung Galaxy A54 or a Google Pixel 7a, both of which are much better smartphones.