With a name somewhat reminiscent of Verizon’s 2012-discontinued first 4G LTE smartphone, bizarre Sprint exclusivity, at least stateside, no headphone jack in tow, and a controversial Snapdragon 810 processor making an unlikely comeback to replace the safe SD820 bet, you were probably not overly excited about the HTC Bolt.
But the oversized HTC 10 lookalike available today on America’s Now Network isn’t that bad all in all. It very closely resembles the company’s global 5.2-inch flagship, same all-metal unibody, chamfered contour and front-firing fingerprint reader, adding 0.3 Quad HD-capable inches of screen real estate.
The elegant and robust 5.5-incher is also HTC’s very first water-resistant aluminum-made hero, with a solid IP57 rating for partial dust protection and liquid immersion up to 1 m depth and 30 minutes.
At $600 outright, $200 with two-year contracts, or $25 a month for 24 months, the HTC Bolt provides plenty of raw power, thanks to 3GB RAM and a respectably spacious 3,200 mAh battery. Pre-installed Android 7.0 Nougat is obviously a first for the slowly-recovering Taiwanese OEM too, although Sprint elects to focus its initial marketing efforts on LTE Plus connectivity.
Since it’s capable of technically unlocking the next-gen cellular network, the Bolt is fittingly billed as Sprint’s “fastest smartphone ever.” Unfortunately, new 4G speeds are only available in a few places nationwide.
If it’s any consolation, HTC tries to make up for the 3.5 mm audio port absence with the world’s first “adaptive earphones that fine-tune the listening experience for how you hear individually.” You of course get USB Type-C support, as well as 32GB expandable storage, 16 and 8MP cameras. Not easy to tell if this is an HTC 10 upgrade or downgrade at the end of the day.