Sprint Exclusive HTC Bolt Hardware Impressions – Part 1 Review

HTC Bolt

Those on Sprint looking for a really fast smartphone might want to check out HTC’s latest, the HTC Bolt. An exclusive to Sprint, the HTC Bolt is marketed as Sprints fastest device built to make use of Sprint’s LTE Plus Network. The HTC Bolt is not available on any other network so if you want a device similar to this, I suggest looking at the HTC 10.

What you get here with the HTC Bolt is a very well made smartphone that has a very premium look, thanks in part to its clean design and all aluminum and glass construction. Not only that, the HTC Bolt is first water-resistant aluminum unibody Android phone with an IP57 rating that allows it to stay for half an hour under 1m of water.

Disclaimer: HTC sent me the HTC Bolt to evaluate. This is the Cast Iron variant of the device with 32gb of memory running on Sprint’s network in Miami, FL.

HTC Bolt


The new HTC Bolt looks very much like previous HTC devices and shares much in common with the HTC 10. Like the HTC 10, the new HTC Bolt is a gorgeous slab of aluminum that feels very solid in your hands. It has the same type of look as the HTC 10 with the large chamfer edge that runs along the rear of the device. If you hold the HTC 10 and HTC Bolt up next to each other, they look very very alike except for the fact that the HTC Bolt does not have a curved back. Instead, HTC went for a much flatter look here which I actually prefer more.

The HTC Bolt is also larger than the HTC 10 with a 5.5-inch screen, making the phone itself a bit taller and wider, but is thinner than the HTC 10. The screen is a Quad-HD display (2K) and again is one of the few HTC devices that does not have the HTC logo up front. It’s just one really clean looking sheet of glass.

There is a fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen that also acts as a home button. Not only that, the HTC Bolt also features capacitive buttons hidden in the bezel so you no longer need the software buttons that used to take up space on the older HTC phones. This makes the usable space on the screen much bigger.

A familiar HTC design element is also present here and that’s the textured power button located on the right hand side. Many recent HTC devices have this and I’m glad to see that it’s present here too. The textured button makes it much easier to distinguish the power button from the volume buttons allowing your thumb to find it much quicker.

HTC Bolt

Other Interesting Bits

Fans of expandable memory will be happy to hear that it’s still present here in the HTC Bolt and can accommodate up to 2TB of extra memory. While the phone itself has 32gb built in, more storage space is always better. I know there are some modern devices out there that don’t have expandable memory so it’s a welcome feature with the HTC Bolt.

I’ll touch on the camera bit here as more than likely, there will be a separate post about it later. The rear camera on the HTC bolt is a 16MP unit that includes Optical Image Stabilization and can also record video in 4K resolution. The camera also boasts ultra-fast autofocus of 0.3s with Phase Detection Auto Focus.

The front is no slouch either and is a 8MP unit with auto HDR. It even has a super-wide panorama mode and integrated screen flash.

The battery in the HTC Bolt is a 3200mAh unit that is the same size as what is found on the LG V20. It’s not a tiny battery, but it isn’t huge either. You can get a decent days worth of usage from it, although using certain apps or games will drain it fairly quickly. Luckily the HTC Bolt features Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology for fast charging.

Lastly, the HTC Bolt features HTC BoomSound Adaptive Audio, which scans your ears and the ambient noise around you to adjust audio output to suit your personal hearing capabilities. Not only that, it includes Hi-Res audio that delivers 24-bit sounds for that extra bit of oomph.

HTC Bolt

What’s Missing

While the HTC Bolt may look like a larger HTC 10 with pretty much all the same hardware features including the new USB-C port, it’s missing something. That’s right, there is no 3.5mm audio jack here meaning if you want to use headphones, you’ll need to either go the wireless route or get some new USB-C headphones. Luckily, the HTC Bolt includes a pair of HTC branded USB-C earphones for you to use.

It doesn’t matter to me much though as I’ve gone pretty much wireless with all my headphones and haven’t used the aux jack on any of my devices in a long time.

However, I do believe you will have to use the USB-C headphones if you want to make use of HTC BoomSound Adaptive Audio and the Hi-Res 24-bit mode.

HTC Bolt

Final Thoughts

As far as hardware is concerned, the HTC Bolt is a very well built device. It’s solid and the all aluminum and glass build gives the phone a very premium feel. I like the small evolutionary feel of the device and while it’s very similar to the HTC 10, it’s slightly larger but still manageable. I like the flatter back too and somehow HTC has made this phone thinner while still being larger.

The only thing hardware related that some may not like is the fact that the HTC Bolt is running a slightly older Snapdragon 810 processor instead of an 820 or 821. I haven’t quite put the HTC Bolt through its software paces yet so only time will tell if this will affect performance much.

For the most part though, I am impressed with the dive overall. It’s a great looking device and if you’re on Sprint, you may want to give it a look.

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