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HTC ThunderBolt

*Est. $100 with new contract
Reviewed
May 2011
by ConsumerSearch

HTC ThunderBolt's lightning-fast speed zaps battery life

Pros
  • Fast web browsing
  • Large touch screen with wide viewing angle
  • High-quality camera
  • Kickstand for video viewing
Cons
  • Poor battery life when using 4G
  • Occasional bugs
Where to Buy
 

Verizon's first 4G phone is a blast

The first smartphone on Verizon's speedy 4G LTE network, the HTC ThunderBolt, not only offers blazing fast web browsing speeds, but also serves as a mobile hotspot for up to eight other devices. The Thunderbolt smartphone features a fast 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, though not the dual-core technology that the Motorola Atrix 4G (*Est. $200 with contract) boasts. Experts agree that the ThunderBolt is one of the best Android phones in Verizon's lineup, and it earns PCMag.com's Editors' Choice. On the downside, reviewers did run into occasional errors and warn that if you're taking advantage of the ThunderBolt's 4G capabilities, you'll need to pack a charger to keep up with the phone's short battery life.

Still, the HTC ThunderBolt offers "scorching speed," says Sascha Segan at PCMag.com. He says the ThunderBolt sends "mere 3G phones fleeing for cover." It also outpaces other 4G phones, experts say. Reviewers saw average download speeds of  5 and 12 MBps compared to an average of 3 to 4 MBps on Sprint's Evo Shift 4G (*Est. $150 with contract). The only downside of 4G? "It burns up the phone's battery," Segan says. With the ThunderBolt lasting only four to five hours during heavy usage, customers may want to consider buying an extra battery.

Hefty, but with power and features to match

Reviewers agree that the ThunderBolt, sporting a 4.3-inch screen and weighing 6.23 ounces (close to the hefty Evo 4G), is a "beast," as Chris Ziegler of Engadget.com puts it. Although it might not fit in all pants pockets, the ThunderBolt has a "slicker, more modern look" than the Evo, according to Mark Spoonauer of Laptop Magazine. The massive WVGA TFT capacitive touch screen features a wide viewing angle and bright, vibrant colors. Inside the ThunderBolt lies a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with the Android 2.2 operating system and HTC Sense interface. The Snapdragon's general performance is "just fine," says Bonnie Cha of CNET. Segan says that only an "avid gamer" is likely to benefit from a dual-core phone.

On the media end, the ThunderBolt is a "powerful smartphone that's ideal for users who plan to watch -- and take -- videos often," says Bridget Carey of The Miami Herald. Videos look gorgeous on the giant display, but reviewers dislike the lack of an HDMI port. The phone also features a kickstand that can prop it up during music and video playback. For those who can tear themselves away from texting and web browsing long enough to make a phone call, the ThunderBolt garners good reviews for its call quality. Zeigler describes quality as ranging from "good" to "great," but says the speakerphone is muffled when the kickstand is closed and that volume isn't loud enough. In the end, the ThunderBolt is a well-rounded phone that Segan recommends even for those still stuck in 3G zones.

Our sources take the HTC ThunderBolt's impressive 4G speeds out for a spin and put its processor through its paces. PCMag.com awards the phone an Editors' Choice, and CNET ranks it 4 out of 5 stars. PhoneArena.com and The Miami Herald provide quick rundowns of the phone's pros and cons, and Engadget and Laptop Magazine pick the HTC ThunderBolt apart to see whether it warrants the hype.

Where To Buy
HTC ThunderBolt 4G Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

 (208 reviews)
Buy new: $699.99   5 Used from $43.25

 

Our Sources

1. PCMag.com

The ThunderBolt wins the Editors' Choice award for touch-screen smartphones on Verizon from PCMag.com. Sascha Segan reviews its "scorching" speeds and digs deeper into the hardware and software powering this hefty device.

Review: HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon Wireless), Sascha Segan, March 18, 2011

2. Engadget.com

Chris Ziegler of Engadget.com notes the HTC ThunderBolt's striking resemblance to the HTC Evo 4G but finds that though they're similar, the ThunderBolt has a lot more to offer, including speeds that other smartphones can't match.

Review: HTC Thunderbolt Review, Chris Ziegler, March 18, 2011

3. Laptop Magazine

In an in-depth review of the HTC ThunderBolt, Mark Spoonauer examines features, like display and weight, and takes a look under the hood to test out 4G speeds and processor performance.

Review: HTC Thunderbolt Review, Mark Spoonauer, March 17, 2011

4. CNET

Awarding the ThunderBolt 4 out of 5 stars, Bonnie Cha of CNET praises it for its fast 4G speeds and ability to support data and voice at the same time. She says she dislikes the poor battery life and the inability to manually switch between 3G and 4G.

Review: HTC ThunderBolt (Verizon Wireless), Bonnie Cha, March 18, 2011

5. PhoneArena.com

PhoneArena editors preview the ThunderBolt at a Verizon press event. They emphasize how much the ThunderBolt feels like a "more polished version" of the HTC Evo 4G. The HTC Sense platform "isn't radically different" from other devices, they say, but it is still "one of the more favorable skins" running over Android.

Review: HTC ThunderBolt Hands-on, Editors of PhoneArena.com, Jan. 6, 2011

6. Miami Herald

In a short review, Bridget Carey notes the ups and downs of the HTC ThunderBolt, including its "first-rate" camera quality and large screen, on the plus side, and intrusive pop-up errors, on the downside.

Review: Jolting Bug Aside, Verizon's HTC ThunderBolt Is Striking, Bridget Carey, April 11, 2011

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