HTC Bolt review

A water- and dust-proof Android phone undone by software and price

TechRadar Verdict

HTC Bolt would have been a decent phone if Sprint didn’t get its hands on it. The included bloatware is bordering on unacceptable and the phone is just too expensive for what you get.


  • +

    Solid design and build

  • +

    Water resistant

  • +

    Android 7.0 out of the box


  • -

    Incredible amount of bloatware

  • -

    No headphone jack or adapter

  • -


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HTC Bolt, on its unibody aluminum surface, looks and feels like a larger 5.5-inch version of HTC’s flagship, the HTC 10. However, when you dig deeper, you’ll find that the Bolt is a phone full of compromises and flawed software.

The HTC Bolt is a Sprint exclusive in the US (and known as the HTC 10 Evo in the UK and elsewhere) and it's one of the first phones to run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Nougat is an excellent update for Android fans, but, here, the experience is tainted on the Bolt thanks to the atrocious amount of bloatware installed on the phone.

Sure, HTC’s design language and legendary build quality are present in the Bolt, but its outdated hardware, frustrating software and, worst of all, high price, make it difficult to recommend. 

With the excellent HTC 10 only $49 more than the Bolt, it’s hard to vouch for this phablet, unless you desperately need a large screen.

HTC Bolt price and release date

  • Costs $600, or $25/month for 24 months with good credit
  • Available now through Sprint in the US
  • Called the HTC 10 Evo in the UK and elsewhere

Looking at the specs and price of the HTC Bolt, it’s apparent you’ll be paying a premium for last year’s technology. The Bolt features last year’s Snapdragon 810 chip, which can be found in the Hauwei Nexus 6P.

When you look at phones in the $400 range, it gets even harder to justify the price tag of the HTC Bolt. For example, the excellent OnePlus 3T has the latest Snapdragon 821, 6GB of RAM and a headphone jack (more on this later). The ZTE Axon 7 also features a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM.

The $600 price point puts the HTC Bolt up against flagship phones like the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7. At this price, the Bolt is simply outclassed by the competition in terms of performance and features.

To make matters worse, the HTC Bolt is a Sprint exclusive, so you won't find it available on AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. 

If you happen to be stuck on Sprint, well, there's some good news: the Bolt is one of the fastest Android phones on offer. But you’ll have to plop down your money knowing it could have bought you a better phone for the same price on another carrier.


  • Aluminum built feels great, albeit slippery
  • Downward firing speaker gets loud, but quality is subpar

If you like HTC’s design language, you’ll love the Bolt. The HTC DNA is clear here with a satinized aluminum back, large chamfered edges that make it feel like a smaller phone, and a unique midnight blue color. The black on blue color scheme is understated and almost stealthy.

The HTC Bolt looks like a larger version of the HTC 10, but with a flat back instead of a curved one like HTC flagship. This makes the Bolt less comfortable to hold, but it’s not bad for a big phone.

On the front of the phone you’ll find a fingerprint sensor, capacitive buttons for back and multitasking and an 8MP 1080p webcam for video calls. On the rear, you’ll find a 16MP optically stabilized shooter with dual LED flash. On the left side of the phone you’ll find dual trays; one for your SIM card and one for microSD for expandable storage.

At the bottom of the phone you’ll find the HTC Bolt’s single USB-C port. That’s right, the HTC Bolt went full iPhone 7 and did away with its headphone jack. While HTC includes a pair of decent USB-C earbuds, the company failed to include a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to use with your existing wired headphones, which is frustrating to say the least.

The phone is IP57 water resistant though, which means it can survive in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. You shouldn’t go swimming with the Bolt but it will survive a spilled drink.

Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.