HTC 10 Evo (Bolt) revives Snapdragon 810, everyone wonders why – Ars Technica

 In Technology
Mark Walton

Specs at a glance: HTC 10 Evo (Bolt)
Screen 5.5 inch, Quad HD (2560×1440, 534 pixels per inch) Super LCD 3 with Gorilla Glass 5
OS Android 7 Nougat with HTC Sense
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (octa-core up to 2.0GHz)
GPU Qualcomm Adreno 430
Storage 32GB or 64GB, plus micro SD expansion
Networking 802.11 Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Ports USB 2.0 Type-C
Camera 16MP camera, OIS, PDAF, and f/2.0 lens. 8MP selfie camera.
Size 153.59mm x 77.3mm x 8.09mm
Weight 147g
Battery 3200mAh
Network Bands 2G: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; 3G: 850/900/1900/2100MHz; 4G: FDD bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28; TDD bands 38, 40, 41
Other perks Quick Charge 0.0 support, 24-bit DSP and DAC
Price Between £450-£500 ($599 in US)

According to HTC, the HTC 10 Evo—known as the HTC Bolt and sold exclusively by Sprint in the US—is the ideal phone for the lucrative £450-£500 smartphone market (its exact price is TBC). It’s a market dominated by companies that sell last-generation flagships which once sold for upwards of £600 at cut-down prices, it says, and phones from the likes of Huawei and ZTE that contain own-brand chipsets rather than full-blown Qualcomm Snapdragons. The HTC 10 Evo, with its full-metal body, large 1440p display, and Snapdragon SoC should, on paper at least, cover that segment nicely.

Except I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would buy one.

The HTC 10 Evo is powered by a Snapdragon 810, an octa-core SoC that first made an appearance in 2014, and was used in HTC’s M9 during 2015. Which is not to say that the 810 makes the Evo slow. Indeed, performance under Android 7.0 Nougat was fine during a brief hands-on. But a brand new, unlocked 32GB HTC 10—which Ars named one of the best Android smartphones released this year—costs less than £500 from numerous online stores. This is a phone that packs the latest (or near-enough latest) Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, and a 3,000mAh battery inside a slick metal chassis.

In the US, where the HTC Bolt is sold for $599 on Sprint, you can buy a a brand new, unlocked HTC 10 directly from HTC’s website for $499.

How HTC expects anyone to buy a phone that has a two-year-old SoC when it also sells one with a much newer chip—for the same price or less—is a mystery. Hell, OnePlus will sell you the OnePlus 3T for just £400 ($439)—and that comes with a Snapdragon 821, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and similarly great build-quality and materials. It’s hard to see where the Evo makes sense.

But what the hey, let’s give it a go.

Outwardly, the HTC 10 Evo shares the same design language as the HTC 10, with an all-metal body and a clean front-fascia free from any lurid branding. Because the bright and colourful 1440p LCD display has been widened out to 5.5 inches (dropping the pixel density to 534 PPI—not that you’d ever notice), the curve on the rear has been reduced, resulting in a much flatter, and arguably more modern-feeling back. It’s a wee bit thinner than the HTC 10 too at 8.09mm, and thanks to its small bezels the Evo is surprisingly comfortable to hold for such a large phone.

The fast fingerprint-scanner on the front of the HTC 10 has been brought over and works just as well, along with the capacitive back and multitasking buttons. Both the front- and rear-facing cameras have been given a boost, going from 5MP to 8MP on the front, and 12MP to 16MP on the rear. However, they are slightly worse in all other respects, with HTC replacing the fast laser-autofocus with phase-detection autofocus, and dropping the aperture from f/1.8 to f/2.0.

As mentioned, the Evo is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 810, a 64-bit SoC made up of four ARM Cortex A57 CPU cores, four ARM Cortex A53 cores, a 2.0GHz clock speed, and an Adreno 430 GPU. That’s paired with 32GB of microSD expandable storage and 3GB of RAM. The 810 is still fast, even on the GPU side, but given how quickly Android is dropping support for older SoCs these days, it’s not the best idea to spend £500 on a phone with one inside. That’s not to mention all the heat and power improvements built into the 820, which help with battery life.

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