HTC's second venture into the cryptocurrency-focused smartphone segment, the HTC EXODUS 1s, is now available to buy. The latest device from HTC, first spotted for sale today, marks the company's first budget foray into that segment, following the company's EXODUS 1 smartphone.
HTC effectively helped create the crypto-phone market and is still one of the only occupants. Since this is a market intended for those who are reliant on cryptocurrency, this isn't going to be a smartphone for everybody.
Exact details about dimensions, hardware, and other aspects of the HTC EXODUS 1s are still a bit slim. That's not surprising since its a common enough practice for budget-friendly phones. But it does seem to be a decent offering for that market. In particular, it will undoubtedly be appealing for anybody who might have been interested in a smartphone that can both access, store, and complete transactions surrounding cryptocurrency without paying for a new flagship.
EXODUS 1s mostly keeps its namesake packaging
The design of the new HTC budget device is eerily similar to that of its namesake counterpart, the HTC EXODUS. So it's a dark blue-gray coloration in a uniquely HTC package aesthetically.
While not immediately marketed as such, HTC also seems to have kept its semi-transparent rear panel. So the backside of the device will showcase at least some of its internal workings. That's not wholly unexpected since HTC actually revealed the device much earlier in the year.
The design is as expected, accented by smooth curves at every edge and corner. A power button occupies the right-hand side — viewed from the front. The opposing side houses a volume rocker.
A single-sensor camera sits at the top of the device in a housing that's offset slightly to the left. That also contains the LED flash for the camera. HTC has embedded a fingerprint scanner just below the main camera.
A 3.5mm headphone jack is included at the top. Around the front, large top and bottom bezels reveal its budget-friendly nature.
Made to keep things locked down at the budget end
The headlining features for the HTC EXODUS 1s are going to be its cryptocurrency leanings and supporting build-ins. Although the HTC EXODUS 1s won't be able to operate as a mining node, it does support holding a full copy of the Bitcoin ledger.
One of the key features of the phone includes Zion Vault. That utilizes a separated partition in the form of a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to protect both private keys and sensitive data. Users can also set up trusted contacts to render aid if they happen to lose their key.
Stepping beyond that and the cryptocurrency features found in the original EXODUS 1, HTC says this smaller counterpart can run a full bitcoin node. That's going to be a first for any smartphone, according to HTC. The implication of that is that it will be able to relay, confirm, and validate bitcoin transactions. So cryptocurrency transactions will be far more secure and private.
A fairly standard battery and cameras
Under the hood, HTC has built the EXODUS 1s around Qualcomm's wallet-friendly 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 435 SoC. That's backed by a fairly standard 4GB RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Users will need to buy a 400GB MicroSD card to take full advantage of the crypto-currency features though. That's because that's the minimum needed to hold a full copy of the Bitcoin ledger, according to HTC.
Behind that hardware is a 3,000mAh battery. That's going to be drained heavily while running the full node, so users are recommended by HTC to plug it in when it's being used that way.
HTC included two cameras with the new device as well. Neither is meant to be a central feature here and both are 13-megapixel sensors. There's one on the back and one on the front. The primary snapper does feature phase detection autofocus but HTC is keeping the full details under wraps for this budget device.
Android 8.1 Oreo is a let-down
One big drawback to this new device is that HTC has chosen to go with a somewhat out-of-date version of Android. While Android 10 rollouts are well underway or at least planned, HTC includes Android 8.1 Oreo with its latest handset. That's going to be a let-down for anybody who might have hoped for something newer — especially since Android 10 includes system-wide dark mode and other long-sought-after features.
HTC undoubtedly includes a recent security patch level to match the security-heavy intent of this phone. But the company could have at least included Android 9 Pie for a device releasing in 2019. Even that version of the OS steps things forward significantly on user-facing features.
The OS on HTC EXODUS 1s most likely won't include a gesture-based interface, Digital Wellbeing features, or any number of other software that was brought with the latest versions of the software.
Here are the EXODUS 1s specs
For those looking for exact specifications, these are those that have been outlined by HTC.
|SoC||Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 435|
|Storage||64GB, MicroSD expandable|
|Cameras||13MP primary camera with PDAF|
13MP front camera with LED flash
4G+3G Dual standby
2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE/
850/900/1800/1900 MHz3G UMTS
850/900/1900/2100 (B1/B2/B5/B8); HSDPA 42, HSUPA 5.764G LTE
FDD: Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28
TDD: Bands 38, 40, 41
|OS||Android 8.1 Oreo|
Pricing and Availability – Cryptocurrencies only, please
As with HTC's previous EXODUS-branded smartphone, this one is chiefly meant to be purchased with cryptocurrency. In fact, that's the only way to buy it via the company's site for the time being. HTC accepts bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, Binance coin, and bitcoin cash.
Following another trend with HTC devices, availability is severely limited too. The HTC EXODUS won't be available in the U.S., to begin with. Instead, sales are being limited to Europe, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. But pricing is set to start well below the original EXODUS at €219.00 in those regions — or around $244.
Down from the cost of the EXODUS 1 by more than half, that package ships with a charger, USB cable, and headphones in the box.
HTC may be holding off on mass manufacturing for the EXODUS 1s like its predecessor too, making the devices in smaller batches instead. The phone is set to ship within 30-days of order confirmation.