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  1. #1
    tavenger5
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    The HTC Thunderbolt is Verizon's first release of a 4G LTE phone. It's boasting the super-fast 4G network that is setting the bar for future smartphones. CPF got a chance to play with the Thunderbolt back in January at CES . We were impressed then, and remain impressed now.



    Here are the standout features of the HTC Thunderbolt:
    • Android 2.2.1 w/ HTC Sense
    • 4g LTE data (translates to 5-12 mbps download & 2-5 mbps upload)
    • 4.3" WVGA display
    • 8mp camera with 720p HD video recording
    • 1.3mp front camera
    • 1GHz snapdragon processor
    • 768mb RAM
    • 8gb onboard memory - 32gb microSD card pre-installed
    • DLNA connectivity
    • Mobile hotspot capability
    • Talk & use 4g data at the same time

    The Thunderbolt is priced slightly higher than your average smartphone - it's available now from Verizon for $249.99 with a 2 year contract.

    Unboxing
    A flat, unassuming black box with subtlety raised lettering leads you to believe you're opening something boring - then 'BOOM'! It's the Thunderbolt surrounded by red.



    Inside you'll find the 4G SIM card in a little paper wallet, the USB cable/charger, and the quick start guide:


    Cosmetics
    The Thunderbolt has sleek lines and feels well-made. It looks like it can handle an occasional drop (or a rough day in lady's handbag). The rubberized backing with the rounded corners feels surprising nice in the hand. It's a welcome change square edges I've come to expect in today's smartphones. The phone comes with a kickstand over the speaker for your viewing pleasure.



    The Thunderbolt is slightly thicker and shorter than the Motorola Droid X. Here's some more comparison shots of other 4G LTE phones coming soon to Verizon.



    Under the snap-on back cover (and behind the battery) you'll find the 32GB microSD card and 4G SIM card.



    The volume buttons are on the right, and the charger port is on the left. The top of the phone features a 3.5mm headphone jack and lock/power button.


    Missing from this phone are physical buttons on the front screen, and a dedicated camera button. Perhaps the HTC is taking a page from the rumored iPhone5? Also missing is a message notification light that makes sense. It actually flashes from behind the top speaker. This makes it hard to see in unless you're in a dark room. This may be a plus for those who are bothered by light notifications, but I happen to be a fan and feel like someone added this in at the last minute.

    Screen
    The Thunderbolt's 480x800 screen is just a tiny bit smaller than the Droid X's 480x854. So in other words, it's pretty large. The WVGA screen is no super AMOLED, but it does look crystal clear. You won't have any issues viewing videos with this screen.

    If you're used to a Motorola or Samsung Android phone you'll notice that the home and menu bottons are swapped.




    Keyboard
    Thanks to dual touch and the size of the screen, the keyboard is as easy to type on as the Droid X. The haptic feedback is nice. Missing from the keyboard options is Swype, but I'm sure you can get a hold of it if you really want to.



    Software
    The Thunderbolt is running Android 2.2 with HTC Sense. You'll find the layout very similar to the HTC Thunderbolt.

    What you get with the HTC Sense:
    • 7 home screens
    • HTC Widgets
    • Music, video, and photo browsing apps are all improved
    • Improved camera application includes different types of effects and filters.
    • More friendly calendar application
    • Copy/paste is improved
    • A "Friend Stream" widget & app that hooks into Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr
    • A mobile IM app that includes Windows Live, Yahoo, and AIM
    • Recently used apps in the notification menu
    • Consolidated e-mail


    Added in the gallery application a dedicated Facebook album viewer. With this you can select a friend and browse their albums independent of the Facebook application. It's actually easier to use than the Facebook application for viewing your friends pictures.



    I'm really liking these improvements over the stock Android. They add to the overall phone experience. The processor really helps with the flow of things as well.

    One thing that is very useful is the addition of a feature that asks you to sync merged contacts. For example, if you sign into your Facebook account the phone will give you a list of contacts that it thinks are the same between Facebook and your Google contacts. You can then confirm or deny each one. On every other Android phone I've ever used, the phone just merges whatever contacts it thinks are the same and if names are not entered consistently you can end up with a mess.

    With the Thunderbolt you also get 4g mobile hotspot, an FM radio app, Quickoffice, Rhapsody, Rock Bank, TuneWiki, and Weather and News applications.



    Unfortunately, they didn't do much with the text message application. It's kind of bland in comparison to the Moto Blur equivalent. This is definitely not a big deal though.

    Browsing & Data
    Thanks to the Thunderbolt's 4g antenna, data speeds and internet browsing are amazing. I was skeptical at first, but was very surprised at the results. Check out this video for a comparison of 3g vs 4g:
    [VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sAgzEmRvjc[/VIDEO]

    [VIDEO]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRCKlzWGU4M[/VIDEO]

    Keep in mind that results may vary depending on your area. I've actually seen reports of much higher download speeds.

    Update
    Here is a speed test done (connecting to the same server as in the video) right from the phone's browser:


    Here is the same test done again in a different room:


    So as you can see, your results can vary greatly. Regardless, the point proven in the video is that if you have two phones right next to each other, running the same test, at the same time, in the same place - 4g is going to beat 3g hands down.



    Performance & Battery
    I am very impressed by the 1GHz Snapdragon processor. Everything is smooth and applications open and close in a blink of the eye. You definitely shouldn't have a problem running CPU intensive applications on the Thunderbolt. As you can see in the benchmark picture below (test done using Quadrant), the Thunderbolt outperforms anything available right now.



    The battery is 1400mAh and is rated at 6.3 hours talk time and 330 standby time. In comparison the Droid X (1540mAh) is 8 hours talk time and 220 hours standby time. Regardless, I was able to use the phone most of the day before having the plug it in. I suspect the battery will not be a problem for those of us who habitually charge your phone every night. However, if you use the phone to tether, browse the internet, and watch Youtube a lot, you won't get as much out of it on a single charge as you would the Droid X. It seems that the 4g antenna may be sucking up some power as well.

    When the battery gets low the screen dims and the 4g antenna is turned off to save power. Unfortunately there is no way to disable turning off the 4g antenna, but it's probably better that way.

    Camera
    The Thunderbolt's camera and supporting software are fantastic. I would go as far to say that this is the best camera on a phone that I've ever used. It's great in low light, fast, has a bright flash, face detection, and you can do tons of things with the camera application.



    In the effects menu you have options to distort, vignette, depth of field, vintage, vintage warm, vintage cold, grayscale, sepia, negative, solarize, posterize, aqua.

    Under the settings menu you have the options to switch the camera to the front facing, turn on the self-timer, make image adjustments, change the white balance, change resolution, adjust the ISO, change the review duration, widescreen format, and set things to on/off; geo-tag, autofocus, face detection, shutter sound, and grid.



    The 720p video is just as fantastic. You won't be disappointed with this camera.

    Here are a couple sample shots:


    Missing is a dedicated camera button, but honestly it's really not that big of a deal. Also missing is a way to view your Picasa albums. You can easily sync and view your Flickr account, but Picasa is on only found in the share menu.

    Conclusion
    If you can't tell by my review, I'm really excited about this phone. The Thunderbolt will meet your expectations and more. It's a great first step in the 4G direction for Verizon and it makes me hopeful for the next 3 4G devices that are coming our way this year.

    Here are some reasons you should get this phone now:
    • You don't care about the price and want the latest and greatest
    • You want a practical phone that is well rounded in all areas
    • You don't have a wi-fi connection a lot and could use 4g data


    Why get something else?


    Go to the HTC Forum to ask questions about the Thunderbolt


    See More: HTC Thunderbolt Review
    Last edited by tavenger5; 03-19-2011 at 09:03 AM.
    aepple likes this.
    John

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  2. #2
    Abraham Laker
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    i like it ... it is very nice and beautiful !!!



  3. #3
    aepple
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    Great review... I look at a demo model two days before it was released, nice phone, it had a big screen nice for viewing, but for me personally it was too heavy and too thick.


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  4. #4
    tavenger5
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    Yeah, the phone is a little heavy (a little bit heavier than the Droid X) but it's not very noticeable.
    John

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  5. #5
    bossdragon
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    I played with this phone a week or so ago. It is definately a nice phone. John's pretty much covered all there is to know.

    I currently use a Samsung Galaxy S with the super AMOLED screen. I did notice a difference outside between the two. Where the AMOLED screen was still visiable (by moving it around a bit), I had to use my other hand to shadow the screen on this one to see it...and then I could just barely see it then.

    That little kick stand would last me about a week before it would break off. It's a nice idea though.

    I'd get it, if Samsung wasn't coming out with it's own 4G phone soon with my screen.
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  6. #6
    Abraham Laker
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    may be it is nice a god idea, i will have a try



  7. #7
    grouchoEMTC
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    I currently have the HTC EVO and love the phone... I tried playing with this phone since my buddy has it and it was ok... I didn't notice much difference... don't really know if there should be..



  8. #8
    Abraham Laker
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    good .. i like many people have the same feelings as me



  9. #9
    IzzyAnderson
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    I can't wait until my current contract expires so that I can get a better phone. I currently have a "feature" phone and yeah, it stinks already. Definitely going to check this bad boy out.



  10. #10
    tomibraniste
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    Re: HTC Thunderbolt Review

    This is the best phone in the world?
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