We really liked the HTC 10 when it came out earlier this spring. Apparently, so did Sprint, because the carrier has taken the core of HTC's most recent flagship and made a few important changes inside. The result is the HTC Bolt, available exclusively through Sprint.
Sprint says the Bolt (available for $600 upfront or $25 a month for 2 years) will be the fastest smartphone in its portfolio, mostly because of its Snapdragon X10 LTE modem. The X10 modem features carrier aggregation, meaning it can combine data from multiple LTE frequencies to provide super fast speed for both downloads and uploads.
However, a closer look at the phone's specs reveals that the Bolt uses a slightly older Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip, rather than the 820 processor that shipped on the HTC 10. Even so, when I got a chance to get a little hands-on time with the Bolt, the phone still felt pretty snappy. You also get 3GB of RAM, 32GBs of built-in storage and a microSD card slot if you need even more room for media and apps.
The Bolt also comes with water-resistance, which according to Sprint, is a first for an aluminum unibody Android phone. And with its IP-57 rating, the Bolt should be able to withstand dunks up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
Other specs included a larger 5.5-inch QHD LCD display (versus the HTC 10's 5.2-inch screen), HTC's innovative Boomsound speaker setup, 8-megapixel front cam and a 16-MP shooter in back with optical image stabilization. The Bolt will also run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.
One thing you won't find on the Bolt is a headphone jack. That's because HTC is looking to deliver crisp 24-bit audio over the phone's lone USB Type-C port, and to help sweeten the experience, the Bolt will also come with special USB-C earbuds in the box too.
The Bolt features what HTC calls Adaptive Audio, which scans your ears and ambient noise to dynamically adjust sound for the best listening experience. Unfortunately, because the tech is spread across both the handset and the earbuds, Adaptive Audio won't work with any USB-C headphones you may already own. When I tried the headphones out for myself, I liked the deep bass response I heard from the headphones, but more in-depth impressions will have to wait for the review.
The Bolt sports one other neat trick. While it's home button/fingerprint sensor looks like a traditional physical key, it's actually just a capacitive touch key like the hidden home and menu keys flanking it left and right.
The HTC Bolt goes on sale today (Nov. 11), both online and in store. It's available in silver and gunmetal.