HTC Bolt vs Google Pixel: Which is the better smartphone

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It’s a year of courage for smartphone makers. The latest to join the bandwagon of brave troopers trying to make ditching the headphone jack a norm is HTC with their new Sprint Exclusive – the Bolt.

The name isn’t exactly what one would think it’s about. It instead stands as a testament to the improved network speeds offered by the carrier. It claims itself to offer faster network speeds compared to its competition for which the Bolt is meant to showcase. Let’s see how it compares to the Google Pixel – this year’s ultimate Android phone.

Looks

Looks wise, the Bolt looks a lot like the HTC 10, minus the specs. It’s a little bit larger, but also ditches the headphone jack. Instead, a pair of headphones will come bundled that will connect to the USB Type-C port. Funnily enough, they won’t be providing an adapter until next year too.

It’s got aluminium chamfers and a bigger 5.5-inch screen, but is a lot flatter than the 10. It’s also got IP57 certification for submersion under water for up to 30 minutes. It’s good a fingerprint scanner and capacitive keys for the recent menu and the back button too.

Design wise, it’s a chip off the old block.

The Pixel comes in two sizes. It’s got no capacitive keys, but looks very similar to an iPhone. It’s got a very inconvenient big chin however, but it does have a headphone jack. It’s not waterproof, but it’s got very basic water-resistance. It’s a questionable design – one that few people will have to look up close to appreciate, but it’s still a decent-looking phone nonetheless.

Specs

This part is a bit of a downer. It’s got last year’s Snapdragon 810, making its competition go as far as last year’s flagships – the OnePlus 2, the Nexus 6P and the others. It’s got a 3GB of RAM and a 3,200 mAh battery with QuickCharge 2.0 by Qualcomm. There is a 16MP camera on the back and an 8MP camera on the front of the device. Sprint claims that it went with an older processor because it was more easily available. It’s still not a bad choice though, and for daily usage, it’s a very good option. Making it a better deal will be the availability of Nougat when it launches!

The latest Snapdragon 821 – one of only 3 smartphones to have this processing package right now, and the smoothest software UI that’s on any Android smartphone. It’s got direct support from Google 24/7 and has the latest updates rolling out for it the first, before everyone else gets it. There’s basically zero going on here that’s wrong with the Pixel. It’s also got the world’s highest acclaimed set of cameras on it too. It’s right now the perfect Android smartphone for the power user.

The Bolt would be just a small spec in front of the Pixel, really. We know who wins this round.

Verdict

The Bolt isn’t a very good option for those looking for a superb phone for the far end of 2016. Like any carrier phone it’s got a ton of unnecessary bloatware that users will need to install. And most of the bloatware in it isn’t even installed bloatware – it’s a shortcut to install the bloatware. That will cost heavily performance wise for the Bolt.

But more than being the Bolt, it should have been named ‘Bold’ because of its decision to not include a headphone jack at all. It’s also HTC’s first all-metal waterproof phone, so that’s a first, but limited to Sprint. The price tag on the phone will not be something everyone will look forward to. At $600, there are far better options out there today.

It’s a good phone, but it was just released a year too late. The Pixel has too much going for it to really worry about the Bolt. It’s future-proof and has the best performance we’ll see in a phone from 2016, or even well after the better half of 2017 as well. It’s a little pricey, but it’s worth the extra dollars.

In the end, the Pixel is the definite choice. Without a doubt.

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