My Review of the HTC Bolt

McPlot

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May 25, 2010
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Part one. Day of the, Dawn of the, Night of the, Attack of the, Terror of the, Son of the, Bride of the, Revenge of the, Return of the, Hell bound, subhuman, flesh eating, Living Dead: Part 2

Most of this review is opinion. Someone’s opinion can never be wrong. Feel free to provide information you think I may not have known, or considered, to change my opinion. But please, do not tell me my opinion is wrong.

First, a little background:

I have had the phone for about a week now. I previously had an Galaxy Note 4. Which I loved. I was going to upgrade to the Note 7, but we all know how that went down. I have been using Android since version 1.6.

There has been some negative remarks about the phone using a Snapdragon 810 instead of an 820 or 821. I think they used the 810 as a cost savings measure. Whatever was causing the 810 to overheat (for those of you who know about it) seems to have been corrected. The phone does get really warm while on a heavy load, but so far, it has not overheated.

Price. I got an early Black Friday special for $300. Which at that price, it is a great deal! The current offer is for $480, which is still really good. The normal $600 I think is OK, but seems a little bit more than it should be for this phone. Like $550 would be good.

Speed: I live in Denver, which has Sprints Advanced LTE service. This is where the phone shines. I can always tell when I am on the advanced LTE as my phone speeds match my home internet speeds of 200gbps. I will post some speed test results sooner or later to prove it. It lives up to Sprints claim of being its fastest phone.

Part two: The HTC 10 Evo with a side of spam.

I have read that internationally, this phone will be (maybe has been?) released as the HTC 10 Evo! If so, this phone does live up to the Evo name on Sprint! As in a LOT, I mean a heck of a lot, of crapware! Which I tend not to call bloatware, if it can be removed. And most of it can, in one way or another. You have all your Sprint branded apps. Such as Sprint Zone, Nascar, TV, Fun and games, etc. All but Sprint Zone can be uninstalled. There are a slew of Amazon apps as well. And none of them can be uninstalled, but can be disabled and the space they take cleared. Which is the same for Facebook and Instagram. The most annoying one to me was App Check List. It made a full screen popup whenever I went to the apps suggesting I download this or that app. I disabled it as well. While annoying and taking time to remove all these “pre-installed apps” Sprint so kindly had installed for me, it is not a deal breaker. Most of the space they took was recovered, and some of them were not even installed. When you tap on their icon, it prompts you to install. Just be prepared to do some work in removing/disabling those apps you don’t want.

Part 3: You better get some Sense in you or I’ll slam your Interface!

I have not used an HTC phone in several years. I am glad they scaled down “HTC Sense”. It is there, but it is fast and you can have it be almost like vanilla Android, or customize the heck out of it and make it look nothing like Android. Which I like as I can change it based on the mood I am in at the time. It should also make those who want Vanilla Android happy, and those who like to customize it happy as well.
Speaking of Android, It comes with Android 7 out of the box. But not 7.1. Currently only those Pixel phones have 7.1

Part 4: Let’s get physical! Come on and get physical!

The phone looks good but there is nothing special about its look either. There is only so much you can do with a piece of rectangular glass. But honestly, does it really matter how a phone looks as you are just going to slap a case on it anyhow? Both the power button and the volume buttons are on the right side. The access to the SIM and SD card is on the left. There are no physical home, back, or menu buttons. Instead they are touch sensitive spots at the bottom. There appears to be a physical home button, but that too is just touch. It is also the finger print sensor. Which I like the way it does it over my Note 4. The Note 4 you had to slide you finger across it. This one you can just place you finger on it. I have to also say the dust resistance of it works great. I am not sure if it is the new Gorilla Glass, the dust resistance coating, or something else, but it sort of feels like I am touching a plastic instead of a glass. It may just be me.
The screen looks great! It is a 4k resolution with true to life color. The only thing I do not like about it is I liked the OLED of my Note 4. The option to boost color beyond true to life. While most people find that to be cartoony, I liked the look. If I wanted true to life, I would just get outdoors. If I am watching a screen, false color to make things pop works for me!

Part 5: USB-C and how to kill a hamster with a 3.5mm headset.

The USB-C is great and sucks at the same time. I love how I do not need to pay attention on which direction I have to plug the charger in. But I hate having to use that same port for the headset. The phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headset jack. The headphones it comes with are actually pretty darn good, and the adaptive sound option is to die for. HTC has said that they will be releasing a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in December. They will be packing it in with future HTC Bolt phones and current users can get one for free. I do not know any more details with it. What I hate about USB-C is that nothing else I have uses USB-C. So I have to purchase some USB to USB-C cables as the phone only comes with one. I will need them anyhow in the future so it really isn’t a big deal. Just the cost of being an early adopter.

Part 6: Now let’s just use the heck out of it!

Ok, the sound is awesome! It truly has a great sound processor in it. The sound is great with my Bluetooth headset, and even better with the USB-C headset the phone comes with. I know, a phone coming with a decent pair of headphones? NEVER! The way USB-C does the sound is all digital. So the digital to analog conversion is done in the headset and not the phone. You can read more about this elsewhere. I thought it would not be as good, but I actually love it. Most likely because of HTC’s adaptive Boom sound. It is night and day with that option turned on. I suggest turning it on and leaving it on.
Once I got the phone setup the way I wanted to use it (for now), it does seem to be pretty responsive. Sense runs like it wasn’t even there, unlike other HTC phones I have had. Everything is fast to load and responsive. While this isn’t a great leap over my Note 4, it feels like it is. The only think I miss on the note 4 is the pen. I actually used it. As said before, the phone does get warm. Almost hot when I was using it with Google Cardboard (I have one of those plastic headsets that uses the cardboard interface). It never got hot enough to cause any problems though. When I took it out of the headset, it was not hot enough to burn or even leave a red mark on my hand, but it was hot enough for me to be concerned for a moment. Then it cooled off right away. That is the only time I would say it got hot. When I play other games, such as Pokemon Go, it just gets a bit warm.

Part I lost count: The cycle of Battery Life and Death.

Like every Smartphone I have ever used (starting with PocketPC 2002), the batter life sucks if you don’t turn on the batter saver. With it on, I can go walking around with Pokemon Go running, while listing to streaming music, and only use about 5% life in 30 minutes. With Battery saver off, it takes about 10 minutes to kill 5% battery doing the same things. However, the batter saver is NOT on by default. The phone also comes with a batter saving program called Boost+. I would not say the batter life is better than I was getting with my Note 4, but it is not any worse. Considering this is a faster phone, that is actually not bad.

Camera: It has 2. Front and rear. I don't care for cell phone camera's much. I have a nice camera that takes pictures much better than any cell phone camera can. Plus, the majority of the time the pictures are just going to things like Facebook and instagram so they don't need to be spectacular. I do think it takes better pictures than my Note 4 did. Especially in low light.

Final thoughts and cream cheese.

The HTC Bolt is worth the current price of $480, but only worth the full price of $600 if you really want the network speeds. As stated, if you are in an area with Sprints Advanced LTE service, you cannot get a faster phone.

Pros: It is a fast and responsive smartphone. The call quality has been an improvement over my Note 4. The network speeds are awesome (something I never thought I would say about Sprint). A good price at $480. The new HTC Sense provides a lot of options. Great screen!

Cons: Full of bloatware. At $600 it may not be such a good deal. Last years Snapdragon 801 SOC that does run a bit hot.
 
Last edited:

McPlot

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May 25, 2010
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Update:
After using it for 3 weeks now, my impression is mostly the same. I do miss the heart rate monitor that my Note 4 had. I still do not have any issues with over heating even with a case on it. It does get noticeably hot when running VR (via a plastic Google Cardboard headset). I do love how I can just touch the fingerprint sensor instead of having to swipe my finger over it (Like I had to on the Note 4).

As for the data speed, I can tell when I am on the Advanced LTE vs not being. However, there were some places that my Note 4 would lose 4G LTE data and go to 3G. This phone stays on 4G LTE but at a slower data rate. Faster than 3g, but not as fast as everywhere else. Which is a good thing.

It seems to be a bit over zealous with the screen rotation. I find it rotating with the slightest tilt. Which is annoying. I end up turning off the screen rotation until I actually need it.
 

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