As you might’ve already gathered from the photos, the Bolt shares a lot of design language with the HTC 10. In fact, the easiest way to tell them apart is to turn them over: The Bolt lacks the telltale hump that helped the 10 settle so nicely into my hands. It’s definitely a slab of a phone, but that’s not to say it’s without charm. HTC’s first-rate build quality is on full display here, with a fully metal frame wrapped around a 5.5-inch, 2K LCD screen. That brings us to the Bolt’s first improvement: That body meets IP57 standards for water and dust resistance — a first for HTC’s unibody metal smartphones. There’s little point in griping about how long it took HTC to get here. I’m just glad they did.
There’s a powerful Snapdragon chipset inside, too, though not the one you’d probably expect. The Bolt rolls with an octa-core Snapdragon 810 plus 3GB of RAM, which makes for some slick performance. Device makers seemed to shy away from the 810 for a while because of concerns about overheating, but I haven’t noticed anything abnormal during the few days I’ve been using the Bolt. Long story short: There’s plenty of power here for anyone who needs it, and the inclusion of Android 7.0 Nougat only helps.
Speaking of software, don’t expect too many changes on that front — the lightly tweaked Sense interface works exactly how it did on the 10, from the inclusion of BlinkFeed (meh) to those curious Freestyle layouts to the deeper integration of Google apps. Stock is still the way to go as far as I’m concerned, but HTC’s approach is still one of the more palatable ones out there.