The HTC Bolt offers a big boost in data speeds – for a select few

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The HTC Bolt will boost your download speeds but isn't quite as fast in terms of performance

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HTC isn't finished with smartphones for 2016: it's just announced the HTC Bolt, exclusive to the Sprint network in the US, which mixes some new networking tech with other components that look distinctly 2015.

The phone also follows Apple's lead by ditching the headphone jack, which may signal HTC's intentions for 2017 as far as legacy audio ports go. The phone has a built-in DAC (digital-analog converter) designed to help deliver high-end 24-bit audio through its USB-C port.

In terms of looks, the aluminum-and-glass Bolt is very reminiscent of the HTC 10, the flagship phone the company launched earlier this year and which we were very impressed with. Unfortunately, it's not quite as powerful, going with the Snapdragon 810 processor that was cutting edge last year but isn't so high-end now.

Still, it will get most jobs done speedily enough. The phone has 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of internal storage (which you can expand with a microSD card), and a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,440 screen. There's a 16 MP camera around the back, complete with optical image stabilization, and that USB-C port for all your charging and wired audio listening needs.

The Bolt is rated as IP57 water and dust resistant (good for a submersion of 3.2 feet or 0.98 meters for up to 30 minutes), and comes with Android 7.0 Nougat on board, wrapped in HTC's Sense skin.

The phone's main party trick is its support for US carrier Sprint's LTE Plus network and the 3 x 20 MHz carrier aggregation that means it can achieve the fastest possible data speeds – around 50 percent faster than two-channel aggregation in optimal conditions, Sprint says. There's also the Snapdragon X10 LTE modem inside to make sure your websites, streaming media and files appear in the shortest time possible.

Sprint's three-channel aggregation – which basically means the fastest possible LTE speeds around right now – is live in Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio right now, and if you live in one of those areas then the HTC Bolt might beworth considering. For the rest of us, the HTC 10 is still likely to be a better proposition for fans of the Taiwanese company.

The HTC Bolt is available from Sprint now for $599 full retail, along with financed options.

Product page: HTC

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