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HTC Bolt review: Where's its spark?

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The Good HTC's Bolt is one of Sprint's fastest phones. It's water-resistant and has enhanced audio.

The Bad The Bolt gets hot when you use it, photos sometimes look dark and if you want to plug in your usual headphones, you can only use HTC's proprietary adapter.

The Bottom Line HTC's Bolt is a decent handset plagued by a lot of small problems. You're better off with a different phone.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Camera 7
  • Battery 7

The HTC Bolt is a Sprint exclusive that sells for $600, and it's simply too much for the phone. Part of its high price comes from its 5.5-inch screen size and some comes from its faster speeds on Sprint's LTE Plus network. But at the heart of it, HTC can do better and so can you.

On paper, the Bolt looks pretty good. It's current with Android Nougat 7.0, the camera takes raw photos if you want them and it has a pro mode if you wanna get fancy. Enhanced audio sounds great out of the included earbuds, and you can add a new profile if you use a different set of headphones. The Bolt is also water-resistant (IP57) and upload speeds are on fire. Download speeds in my area, San Francisco, ranged from the lower end of average to pretty darn fast, but that will fluctuate depending on where you live.

But there are things you should be wary of if you're thinking about getting this phone. Like its design. It feels like an angular shingle: flat, wide and pokey. But you can always buy a case, so there's that. The metal back heats up when the phone charges or the processor works hard -- a lot of phones do this, I should add.

The cameras take decent photos that you'll be able to use anywhere and everywhere, but there is a noticeable blue cast to some of them; others came out dark and some selfies have a gray sheen. HTC got rid of the awesome set of audio speakers that once upon a time graced the top and bottom of the phone face in favor of a static home button/fingerprint reader, and I miss that booming, party-starting bass.

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