HTC ThunderBolt (Verizon Wireless)
Manufacturer: HTC Part number: ThunderBolt
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CNET editors' review
price range: $279.99
- Reviewed by: Bonnie Cha
- Reviewed on: 03/17/2011
- Released on: 03/17/2011
The good: The HTC ThunderBolt offers incredibly fast 4G data speeds. The Android 2.2 smartphone also supports simultaneous voice and data over 3G and boasts a large 4.3-inch touch screen, ample storage, and an excellent camera.
The bad: Battery life takes a big hit when using 4G. There is no way to toggle between 3G and 4G.
The bottom line: The HTC ThunderBolt lights up with blazingly fast data speeds, but those who want 4G now should be aware that it takes a big toll on the smartphone's battery life.
by Roberto4to on October 14, 2011
Pros: The phone is slick, beautiful and lightweight
Camera, video recording and voice recording worked well
Very sensitive touch screen
Call quality is very good
768M of memory is great
Cons: Home screen and app screen does not auto-rotate
Summary: I upgraded to the HTC Thunderbolt after using Blackberry products (most recently the BB Storm 2) for years. The HTC products are amazing.
Processor Speed. This has to be the ...
Summary: I upgraded to the HTC Thunderbolt after using Blackberry products (most recently the BB Storm 2) for years. The HTC products are amazing.
Processor Speed. This has to be the fastest smartphone on the market. Opening applications, working through applications, scrolling emails/Tweets...etc, all are a flash. This is the first phone I've owned where I've had to "slow down" the scrolling speed to see what's passing on the screen.
Large Screen. Amazing viewing for mobile web, pictures, and video. However, some people have been surprised with the effect this has on battery life. As with a laptop, the more you task the video and the brighter you want it, the shorter your battery life. You'll need a portable charger and/or the extended battery which is now being introduced. Manage your applications, screen brightness, and battery capacity with this phone!
Android Apps. I found that my Blackberry Storm (stalled at BB OS 5.0) had limited application functionality. I was pleasantly surprised to find upgraded features in Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc with the newer/faster phone. (I didn't know what I was missing).
32GB External Hard Drive. Yes...plug this into your computer and "mount" the device and you now have a very useful portable flash drive. The HTC comes with the 32GB microUSB card installed.
Size. The device is noticably larger than my BB Storm (due to the larger screen). As a huge plus, the phone fits perfectly in my hand during phone calls (i.e., not too big, not too small...as some phones are becoming). However, if you want to wear the HTC Thunderbolt on your belt...prepare for "Geek Style". (It's big). Get screen protectors and a rubber "skin" if you want to carry in your coat pocket, etc. Otherwise, be prepared to deal with how to carry this small computer.
Office/Acrobat. I installed many PDF and Word files on the device. This is the first device where I'll actually use this function (i.e., good viewability on the screen). Given the 32GB of storage, you can take files to read/review and the installed applications open them very quickly. Scrolling and "pinch" to zoom/unzoom is a breeze.
Battery Capacity. Again, the biggest user complaint/concern. Manage it. Turn off WiFi when not in use, don't run GPS-intensive apps unless you need them (or you have a car charger), remove unwanted/unneeded apps. Be prepared to plug the device into a charger (i.e., home/work/car) if you're using a lot of GPS, Video, or Application power. You can't ask for an "SUV of Technology" without expecting to use more energy. Easy to deal with, in my opinion and worth the tradeoff from my outdated Blackberry Storm. ( If you are purchasing the ThunderBolt 4G, I suggest you have to check for best deal at: sites.google.com/site/htcthunderboltdeal )
25 out of 29 users found this user opinion helpful.
There is a way to turn 4G off!
by mikeytcarpenter on March 20, 2011
Pros: - Don't have the phone yet but might get one when I can upgrade in May
Cons: -I've heard the battery is awful, there is an extended battery, turning 4G off may help
Summary: To turn 4G off Dial: *#*#4636#*#* > phone information > Scroll down and Select preferred network type to be "CDMA auto (PRL)" rather than the default "CDMA + LTE/EvDo auto
Updated on ...
Summary: To turn 4G off Dial: *#*#4636#*#* > phone information > Scroll down and Select preferred network type to be "CDMA auto (PRL)" rather than the default "CDMA + LTE/EvDo autoPlease vote up so people see this!
Updated on Mar 20, 2011
Updated on Apr 11, 2011I got the phone about 3 weeks ago, full price. I have to say not bad, I'll keep the 3 stars I had put up before I got the phone. Turning 4G off does help with battery. I get about 10 hours with moderate use.
- Very fast transitions/loading times.
- I really do like HTC Sense
- Camera is lacking a bit in my opinion.
- I wish I could charge while the kickstand is out
-Speaker not very loud (even with kickstand out)
-No physical camera button
I will be selling this phone to get either the Droid Bionic or the Galaxy S2 (if/when it comes to Verizon)
35 out of 61 users found this user opinion helpful.
I Jumped ship for this Phone and it was Worth it.
by indiantechie on March 17, 2011
Pros: - Simultaneous Voice and Data
-Fast as anything.
-Large and Radiant Screen
-Camera's are Good
--720p HD video performs great.
- Sturdy Design.
-FAST Mobile Hotspot
Cons: -Not Dual-Core
-Battery is just okay.
Summary: I have been on T-Mobile, and have had a Galaxy S 4G, I honestly thought LTE was not that important, until recently I stopped in a store, while my friend ...
Summary: I have been on T-Mobile, and have had a Galaxy S 4G, I honestly thought LTE was not that important, until recently I stopped in a store, while my friend negotiated something about his plan, I decided to check out this phone, The LTE speeds blew me away. So I gave my little brother a gift ;D.
Anyway the real reason I switched so soon is the unlimited plan. Now on to the phones actual hardware and software.
The biggest reason why I was able to switch over was the promise of simultaneous Voice and Data, This was a needed feature for me, and I am happy to say it works fine, we'll see again when the 4G network get's more populated, however for now the simultaneous Voice and Data works fine great even. Plus the network is really sturdy I have strong clear voice and no dropped call's although I have only had it a day.
The hardware of this phone isn't anything special it's classic HTC, however it still gives off a sense of power and just overall sturdiness, and I'm fine with going without a case until Otterbox comes out with one (a screen protector is a must though), because the phone just feels that solid. As for the screen it's bright vibrant and amazing. However it won't win any best screen award's, and coming from a SAMOLED screen, I can tell the difference normally it won't make a difference, but in viewing video and gaming the screen really does make a big difference.
The camera's on this phone are about as good as you can get, pictures were vibrant colors were solid I honestly couldn't find a picture that took better picture's than this phone did(probably because I haven't compared a N8's real life pictures to mine. However if you are a shutterbug this phone's camera really is top of the line. However the point and shoot yet, because this is still just a camera on a phone. The front facing one is just ok nothing special but nothing too bad either just O.K. 720p is great I took a video of some flower's and then some grayish concrete color's were rich and full, the video was also not as compressed at the Evo's were other than that really not too much to say about the Camera's.
This phone's speed is unreal, and I don't just mean LTE I'm talking about overall speed including everything from swiping the screen, to having slacker play in the background while browsing some seriously flash heavy sites. I saw NO lag at ALL. It was amazing, I called in my family (Dad had a G2, Mom a myTouch 4G, Brother a Galaxy S 4G) friend's (One has a Evo, another a Atrix, hey we are phone nerd's) and we tested general speed, my Thunderbolt beat everyone in (nearly) everything, my friend's Atrix beat me in just general use and 3D gaming, so Dual Core's really do make a difference but for me it wasn't a essential. LTE meanwhile smoked the competition, the closest anyone got was my brother's (and my old) Galaxy S 4G, it averaged around 4 mbps down and 3 up, while mine averaged 7 mbps up and 6 down. It's a substantial difference as you can see. The Mobile Hotspot also averaged the same speeds on my laptop and iPod Touch.
The overall performance of the phone is great, HTC Sense runs almost eerily smooth, and nothing is even close to complaint worthy about this phone yet.
Now to the cons of this phone for one thing, it seems to be the year of the Dual core, and this phone isn't included in the goodies, frankly compared side to side next to the Atrix I saw close to no difference in just overall speed. However now that dual core has been released there will be special app's designed only for Dual-Core phones and more app's will be made to take advantage of that capability, and if you want the latest and greatest then it probably isn't this phone. Also the battery life is rather iffy LTE completely drain's the battery but even so with setting on lowest(LTE on) I was getting a full day of use with moderate use, heavy user's might want to wait till other bigger batteries are available.
The bottom line is that this phone is one heck of a well?.a heck of a phone. People expecting a Evo 2 will be disappointed because this is more of a Evo 1.5, but I have no regrets about the decision because this phone is amazingly fast does everything I need it too, performs admirably in everything and fully satisfies.
20 out of 26 users found this user opinion helpful.
Verizon's first LTE phone was worth the wait
by karmamule on March 18, 2011
Pros: Large, bright colorful screen, Sense 2 UI is fantastic, LTE speeds are blazing fast, phone itself is very fast, solid construction, good sound, excellent call quality
Cons: A large phone that people with smaller hands may not find comfortable, eats battery power like candy, only those in areas w/LTE will see full benefits of the phone
Summary: The HTC Thunderbolt is a bold,large phone that is solidly constructed and people who like big phones will definitely like the form factor. Those who want small, thin, svelte ...
Summary: The HTC Thunderbolt is a bold,large phone that is solidly constructed and people who like big phones will definitely like the form factor. Those who want small, thin, svelte phones may want to look elsewhere.
The rubberized back makes it comfortable to hold, and the bright colorful screen is impressive. It appears faded when viewed at an angle when compared to an AMOLED screen, but is gorgeous when viewed directly.
Call quality is superb: I haven't had a phone with call quality this good in *years*. People sound crisp and clear to me, and they say my voice sounds very clear as well.
LTE speeds are blazing fast (I've seen as high as 18mbps down). They'll no doubt slow down as more people get LTE phones, but it should still stay significantly faster than any other non-LTE "4G" networks.
You also get simultaneous voice and data whether connected via 3G or LTE, so that's a pleasant change for Verizon customers.
The phone comes with a generous 40Gb of memory split between 8Gb internal and a 32Gb microsd card. (However about 5.5gb of that internal memory is already spoken for when you first get your phone.)
Despite being single-core, the Thunderbolt's performance is impressive, and always feels crisply responsive.
From reading the forums it seems a few people are having problems that ultimately seem due to bad sim cards, but my experience has been wonderful: the phone seamlessly and quickly switches between wireless, 3G, and 4G as signals become available, and Sense 2 improves on an already excellent Android-based UI.
Is it worth pulling the trigger and getting a Thunderbolt or waiting for the Motorola Bionic? I'm a big fan of HTC & Sense, so for me the question was an easy answer. If you have an Incredible and really like it, I'd say you should go for the Thunderbolt. If HTC and Sense aren't as important to you, but you live in an area that already has LTE you may want to start taking advantage of that too, it's like night and day!
If you don't have a preference for HTC/Sense, and don't live in an area with LTE yet, then I'd say wait a little longer, but otherwise the HTC Thunderbolt is a very fast phone that is great at meeting the most data-hungry of users' needs.
12 out of 13 users found this user opinion helpful.
A high end phone that falls short on battery life.
by DavidLeNerd on March 19, 2011
Pros: Large, responsive, vibrant touchscreen, runs smoothly, fast network speeds, lots of features, great camera, nice design.
Cons: Battery life.
Summary: A phone is only as good as its weakest link. Having a high-end feature filled smartphone is great, but you can't go a full day's use with it ...
Summary: A phone is only as good as its weakest link. Having a high-end feature filled smartphone is great, but you can't go a full day's use with it if you take full advantage of it's features. Even texting, emailing and light browsing (on Wi-Fi too) with 25% screen brightness and other power saving features has this phone dying a little more than halfway through the day. (6-7 hours)
For me, an ideal phone will last a day and then some. I've been happier with an iPhone or a BlackBerry.
10 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
My 1st Android Phone
by Akiva77 on March 20, 2011
Pros: Speed, Large Display Hi Res Display, Very Customizable, Kickstand, Loud and Clear Speakerphone...
Cons: No dedicated silent button like iPhone. Battery drains fast in 4G. No 3G/4G toggle. Screen shows ALL fingerprints. Heavy integration with Google (con because I'm not a Gmail or Google search user).
Summary: This is my first Android smartphone. I switched from AT&T to Verizon, but not because of the same reasons that everyone else was doing it. I just wanted ...
Summary: This is my first Android smartphone. I switched from AT&T to Verizon, but not because of the same reasons that everyone else was doing it. I just wanted to consolidate bills with my fiance (already on Verizon) and myself.Decided to go back to the iPhone 4. I barely got past lunch on the battery and I can't charge my phone at work. I regret straying from the Mac pack.
My first impressions are that this is the coolest phone available. After 24-hours, I still feel the same way - no buyers remorse. I just regret getting the iPhone as my first smartphone as now I have to retrain myself to use Android.
I like how intuitive iPhone's iOS is, but I really like how much customization is available in Android. Although, I feel like there are too many settings (without enough explanation as to what they all mean).
The store I bought the phone in was in the 4G area and speeds were amazing. The associate warned me about battery life with 4G as well as Android in general. I'll have to test this as I use the phone more.
Most of my apps were available on Android Marketplace. I just have to find a few substitutes. I really like the separate window for all the apps on the phone but just having the ones I use frequently on the main screens to the left or right of the home screen. iPhone made you have everything shown or at least a folder. At least with Android I can hide the apps that I either cannot delete or do not use as frequently.
I wish everything wasn't so tied into Google as it is. Like the Calendar syncs to Gmail. Why not to the phone and nowhere else? I'm sure I might find the positive in this if something where to happen to my phone.
I thing the feature that sold me on the phone the most was the speech-to-text feature. Gone are the days of sneaking a text message while in traffic. Now I can speak my message and concentrate on the road instead.
Updated on Mar 21, 2011
8 out of 9 users found this user opinion helpful.
Not ready for prime time
by UncleRuddy on March 21, 2011
Pros: Screen size and brilliance
Cons: Over all capabilities - read on
Summary: I was able to sync my corporate and personal email and calendar seamlessly. And with the great screen, it looked perfect. But then the clock widget, which showed me the ...
Summary: I was able to sync my corporate and personal email and calendar seamlessly. And with the great screen, it looked perfect. But then the clock widget, which showed me the time at my current location (ie: the nearest town), suddenly changed to Peking, China. And the time showed Peking, an all my appointments were changed to that time zone. Try as I might, there was no way to change it back. Eventually it changed back to where I actually was, but not before taking me to Geneva, Switzerland. There are a couple of blogs talking about this problem. Next, I kept getting a notice "Verizon Navigator" has encountered a problem" and it asked me to "force close" it. This continued to happen even after a hard reset. Next: I downloaded from the web the HTC sync software. I wanted to sync the music and photos I have on my old Samsung. I disabled all my virus shields, etc. As my two year old Dell computer let the software search for my device, I would get a pop up window courtesy, I suppose, of Verizon: "Let Verizon organized your files..." Verizon wanted me to download more software. I clicked "no thanks." The HTC sync was never able to find my device. Additionally, the loaded software to read excel and word documents which were emailed to me: no way to organize them in to files, and no way to delete the files from the device once they were opened. I fount that out from the customer service folks who provided the third-party software. Finally: when the sale person suggests you buy the extended life battery, do it. Either that or have many chargers around your house. Battery life s terrible. So the Thunderbolt is history for me. I cannot imagine any other product roll out that we consumers would put up with as many half-completed tasks and bugs as these hand held devices. I want a product that works when I take it out of the box, not one that I have to discover the drawbacks in as I go along.
7 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Worth Waiting for Better LTE Smartphones
by FuzzyNaval on April 1, 2011
Pros: Screen Size, HTC Sense 2.0, LTE
Cons: Life, Build Quality, Charge Port Placement, Weak Speaker Volume
Summary: Recommend waiting on better 4G devices unless Verizon announces changes to their unlimited 4G data plans. Overall this phone has enough cons to warrant a buyer to wait for something ...
Summary: Recommend waiting on better 4G devices unless Verizon announces changes to their unlimited 4G data plans. Overall this phone has enough cons to warrant a buyer to wait for something better.
+ The battery life has already been discussed extensively, but it's worth repeating that it's not good. I was averaging 4 hours with standard use.
+ The placement of the charge port prevents use of the kickstand while charging; I consider this a very poor design decision. Especially when not present on the HTC EVO 4G.
+ The speakerphone is very weak regardless if the kickstand is up or down.
+ The build quality of the phone isn't tight, and I have noticed units shipping with dust under the screen. There is also light leakage on the bottom of the phone from the navigation buttons. The light leakage also extends into the display which is common with HTC. I have heard some owners using silicon to seal the phone which illustrates weaknesses of the design.
+ No HDMI out. For a flagship phone that cost $250.00 it should ship with an HDMI port as did the EVO 4G.
+ LTE connection is not consistent and switching between 4G and 3G has resulted in a ton of data connection problems for me, at least in parts of Phoenix which has a strong LTE presence. Although this is arguably a Verizon problem it's an issue that comes with owning this phone.
+ The screen is good and has great viewing angles. The screen is also large and is great for viewing video. However, it doesn't match the Super AMOLED screens by Samsung or the Super AMOLED Plus screens soon to come.
+ HTC Sense is nice and the included themes and widgets give a great look to Android.
+ LTE speed is amazing, that is when the connection is consistent.
+ HTC releasing the source code means custom ROMs are soon to come! The phone is much more developer friendly that Motorola or Samsung Android devices.
I returned the device after a week of use. Unless Verizon announces changes to their unlimited 4G data plans on smartphones, I'll wait for Motorola or Samsung LTE devices since it looks like they will be better designed and I hope any LTE issues are addressed over the next couple of months. It's worth waiting for a better designed phone if you don't have to be on a LTE Smartphone immediately.
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
Battery life is unacceptable
by brand3241 on March 20, 2011
Pros: Great size, blazing speed, HTC Sense is an easy to use UI
Cons: The battery will drain quickly regardless of what you do. You will need a car charger, a charger for school/work, and a spare charger if you plan on being on the go all day.
Summary: if these new high performance phones are going to have all these bells and whistles, then they have to come equipped with batteries that can handle the demands of the ...
Summary: if these new high performance phones are going to have all these bells and whistles, then they have to come equipped with batteries that can handle the demands of the consumers. Unless you wanna hunt and search for an outlet at all times, skip buying this phone.
6 out of 7 users found this user opinion helpful.
Big, Fast, Powerful...til the battery dies.
by destardi on March 19, 2011
Pros: The screen is fantastic; the dimensions of this phone are perfect. Almost a tablet it's so big. 4G speeds (wow!). Sense UI is buttery smooth. Camera. Android O/S
Cons: Battery. Battery. Battery. Seriously HTC? Why equip this with a 1400 mah battery, while Moto and Samsung include a minimum of a 1500 mah battery?
Summary: This is a computer, not a phone.
The apps load faster, downloads are faster (even over just 3G), and the tweaked version of the Sense UI is just fantastically smooth. ...
Summary: This is a computer, not a phone.
The apps load faster, downloads are faster (even over just 3G), and the tweaked version of the Sense UI is just fantastically smooth. Transitioning from screen to screen is seamless, no lag. The camera takes excellent still pictures, and videos (lowlight conditions not so good).
I had the Droid X, and the Samsung Fascinate, and while the Droid X screen is 4.3", it's not as wide as the Evo so I don't see any advantage to owning the X. To me, the dimensions of the Thunderbolt and Evo offer a perfect combination of dimensions to allow net surfing, watching videos, reading ebooks, etc. It's almost like a tablet.
This is a great phone; with a few tweaks and better attention to build quality, HTC can rule the roost.
Also, dual core PHONES? I understand the reasoning, but it's a future based reasoning. I do not need a dual core phone, what I want is speed in internet access. If everything is going cloud-based, the processing is not done on the phone, but virtually.
I want 4G access, and wouldn't notice a difference in dual core processing vs. single core as an average user.
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: HTC
- Part number: ThunderBolt
- Description: This isn't your dream phone. It's the one after that. With instant uploads and downloads and more, the HTC ThunderBolt 4G brings you the future, faster.
- Packaged Quantity 1
- Product Type Smartphone
- Form Factor Touch
- Phone Design PDA
- Integrated Components Wi-Fi hotspot,
- Width 2.63 in
- Depth 0.55 in
- Height 4.84 in
- Weight 6.31 oz
- Body Color Black
- Technology LTE,
- Band CDMA2000 1X 1900/800
- Mobile Broadband Generation 4G
- Service Provider Verizon Wireless
- Operating System Android 2.2 OS
- User Interface HTC Sense
- Application Software Adobe Flash Player 10.1
- Input Device(s) Touch sensitive screen (multi-touch) , Capacitive
Messaging & Internet
- Cellular Messaging Services MMS,
- Supported SMS Functions SMS CB (Cell Broadcast)
- Instant Messaging Services Google Talk
- Supported Email Protocols POP3,
- Supported Social Networks and Blogs Twitter,
- Messaging & Data Features Microsoft PowerPoint support,
Microsoft Excel support,
Microsoft Word support,
Adobe Flash support
- Mobile Services Slacker Radio,
- Data Transmission EV-DO
- Wireless Interface LTE,
Bluetooth 2.1 EDR,
- Bluetooth Profiles Object Push Profile (OPP),
Hands Free Profile (HFP),
Headset Profile (HSP),
Dial-up Networking Profile (DUN),
File Transfer Profile (FTP),
Phonebook Access Profile (PBAP),
Generic Object Exchange Profile (GOEP),
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP),
Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
- Communication Features Internet browser,
Mobile Email client
- Phone Functions Voice control,
- Polyphonic Ringer Yes
- Ring Tone Formats MP3
- Sensors Proximity sensor,
Ambient light sensor,
- Additional Features World clock,
Speech-to-Text (speech recognition),
- Personal Information Management Synchronization with PC,
- Supported Digital Audio Standards M4A,
- Supported Digital Video Standards MPEG-4,
- Type QUALCOMM MSM8655
- Clock Speed 1 GHz
- RAM 768 MB
- User Memory 8 GB
- Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDHC - up to 32 GB
- Sensor Resolution 8 megapixels
- Optical Sensor Type CMOS
- Focus Adjustment Automatic
- Self Timer Delay Yes
- White Balance Automatic,
- Camera Light Source LED light
- Video Recorder Resolutions 1280 x 720 (720p)
- Features Video recording,
- GPS Navigation A-GPS receiver - Simultaneous GPS (S-GPS)
- Navigation Software & Services Google Maps,
- Type LCD display - Color
- Technology TFT
- Diagonal Size 4.3 in
- Display Resolution 800 x 480 pixels
- Multi-language Menu Yes
- Features Wallpaper
- Connector Type Headset jack - Mini-phone 3.5 mm,
- Technology Lithium ion
- Capacity 1400 mAh
- Run Time Details Talk ( CDMA ) - up to 378 min,
Standby ( CDMA ) - up to 330 hour(s)
- Compliant Standards HAC(Hearing Aid Compatible)
- Included Accessories Power adapter , Power adapter,
- Also Included microSDHC - 32 GB