Review of HTC Thunderbolt

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Today for review I’ve got the fastest phone on the market, the HTC Thunderbolt for Verizon Wireless. Well it’s fast in terms of network speeds since it uses the new 4G network, the phone itself is fast as well with it’s 1Ghz CPU. The Thunderbolt is from HTC so it’s a quality made phone as we’ve come to expect from them. The phone though honestly is rather vanilla, it’s like most other Android phone on the market, yes it’s fast and nicely made but if it wasn’t for the 4G the Thunderbolt wouldn’t really stand out at all in terms of how it works and other features.


Let’s start out with the video unboxing:


Not much comes with the Thunderbolt, just the usual charger and USB cable along with documentation.


Like other Android phone the Thunderbolt has four touch buttons on the bottom for Home, Menu, Back and Search. Above the screen, where the speaker is, you’ll find the front facing camera. My Captivate is about as big as the Thunderbolt but it’s thinner and much lighter I think, the Thunderbolt is  rather heavy phone really. It feels well made though.


On the back you’ll find the 8mp camera with dual flash.

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The Thunderbolt also has a convenient stand built right into it. The stand is nice, but the microUSB port is on the bottom when the stand is out, so you can’t have the phone connected while using the stand, goofy design right there I think.


On the top of the phone is the power button and audio port. On the right side is just the volume button and the left side is the microUSB port.

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Removing the cover you’ll find the battery as you might expect. There’s a slit on the top of the phone where you can stick a fingernail in to pull off the back cover to access the battery compartment, it requires a bit of work for sure.



ThunderBolt by HTC

It’s not your dream phone. It’s the one after that.

The speed you’ve been waiting for
You live in the future. Here’s an idea: a phone that’s right there with you. It’s got lightning–fast Verizon® 4GLTE and a next–generation processor so you can do more with your phone, in more places. It even boots in seconds so you never have to wait. You might find your computer gathering dust.

Make it yours
Make your ThunderBolt by HTC more useful — and more you —with Sound sets, Skins, Widgets, Apps, and Wallpapers. All accessible with one tap of the Personalize button. Save your custom configurations as Scenes so you can switch identities faster than a secret agent.

No wires
Stream content wirelessly from your phone to your DLNA–compatible TV.

Picture the world differently
Apply live effects right in the viewfinder before taking a picture like posterize for a fine art look or distortion for that funhouse feel.

ThunderBolt by HTC. The only phone that can take on the power of 4G LTE.
-A Mobile Hotspot for up to 8 devices
-Take gaming to the next level with access to Android Market’s best games
-Entertainment is at your fingertips with easy access to movies, TV shows, music and exclusive content
-Instant NHL and NCAA stats and games for mobile fandom
-Scorching fast 1 GHz processor for fast access to apps, gaming, entertainment, and more

-8.0 MP rear camera
-Auto Focus
-dual LED Flash
-1.3 MP front camera

-HD Video Capture
-Image & Video Formats Supported: JPEG / GIF87/ GIF89a / PNG / WBMP MPEG4 / H.263 / H.264 / WMV9

-4.75" x 2.44" x 0.56" inches
-Weight: 6.23oz (with standard battery)

Operating System:Android 2.2 with HTC Sense 2.0

-4.3" capacitive touch screen
-480×800 WVGA display
-Orientation in portrait and landscape

Keyboard:Touch screen QWERTY Keyboard

-Usage: 378 mins OR
-Standby: 330 hours
-SAR 1.2 W/kg @ 1g (HEAD)
-SAR 1.46 W/kg @ 1g (BODY)

Full Retail Price: $599.99
PRICE with 2-Year contract: $249.99

When you get the phone you’ll have five home screens populated already with stuff that Verizon and HTC feels you need to have. The Thunderbolt uses the HTC style interface, something which I personally like quite a bit.

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On the bottom of the screens you’ll find the app button, phone and personalization button.

The personalization button gives you instant access to change  most everything about the looks and how your phone acts and sounds. You can access all of this from the Settings of course but the button puts it all right there for you.

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Call quality is very good with the Thunderbolt, calls were clear and I had no issues with dropping. The dialer is nice and big, and it shows most recent calls and part of your contacts list. I of course blacked them out for privacy reasons.


Browsing can be done is either portrait or landscape of course, and it’s fast, pages load in seconds and look great. The screen itself is very responsive, everything just moves along smoothly as you might expect from a high end phone.


I was curious are to speeds and I ran SpeedTest but I can’t believe these speeds myself. Download speeds maybe, but the uploads look amazingly too fast. Even the upload speeds are a bit high, still using the Thunderbolt it feels this fast.


I ran across something I didn’t like, the keyboard, it’s quite a bit different than other Android phones I’ve used. The switch to numbers key is on the right side instead of the left, rather annoying actually. You can go in and change keyboards though as with any Android phone if you don’t like the default one.


The Settings pages are familiar, not much special here.

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I did find out that when I connected the Thunderbolt to my Google account it automatically updated the phone with everything I have on my Captivate, including all of the apps. I actually had to do a factory reset and quickly put the phone is airplane mode to stop it before it added my stuff back. There are a couple apps blacked out in the following screens as 4G is fast and it downloaded them before I could turn it off. In terms of what comes with the phone, surprisingly there isn’t a lot of Verizon branded things like you would expect. Two games come installed, Rock Band and Let’s Golf. The rest is the common things like Maps, Latitude etc. You can see for yourself below everything that comes pre-installed. The Verizon 4G network is blazingly fast, within minutes all of my apps were on the Thunderbolt.

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Gaming on this phone is great, it can handle pretty much everything with no issues. That’s important to me as I’m a gamer and I enjoy playing games while I’m sitting waiting for my kids to come out of school or in their karate class, or when I’m just bored at home. I think most people will be happy with gaming on the Thunderbolt.

A couple of the neat apps that come with the phone are the flashlight and the FM radio. You of course need to plug in headphones to use the radio, but it works well for the most part, better outdoors than in of course. The flashlight allows you to use the dual LED flash on the back of the phone for light, very handy and useful indeed.

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The main camera on the back is 8mp and it’s ok, not as good as I expected really. Here’s the display and all of the settings open:

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Here’s  a few sample photos, the camera does not like movement at all. I deleted several where my dogs moved a bit. The flash works well but it can sometimes be a bit overbearing washing things out.

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Overall I like the Thunderbolt but it feels just like any other Android phone out there today, if it weren’t for the 4G this phone really wouldn’t stand out much for the competitors.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad phone, it’s fast and smooth running, but it’s more of the same Android stuff we’ve come to expect, nothing really groundbreaking here going on.

If you want speed, then this is the phone you want, it’s just extremely fast on the 4G network. If you’re looking for innovative and new, well the Thunderbolt doesn’t have much to offer that we haven’t already seen.


+Fast 4G connections
+Fast phone overall
+Nice looking screen
+Good call quality

-Battery life is not the best
-Rather heavy
-Can’t access USB port when using the stand


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  1 comment for “Review of HTC Thunderbolt

  1. Mike
    April 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

    The stand can be used while plugged in if you use it in portrait rather than landscape.

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