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HTC ThunderBolt review

May 25, 2011

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

Post image for HTC ThunderBolt review

The HTC ThunderBolt is an Android-powered phone that’s heavy on multimedia features, and is therefore heavy on fun.

The phone is fast – performance was great for video playback and gaming. (The ThunderBolt comes with many preloaded games, including “Rock Band”, which is kind of like Guitar Hero for Android. It’s fun and I spent too much time playing it.)

Enterprise and communications features are also packed into the ThunderBolt. You have support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync as well as the standard support for IMAP and POP support for services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

As I used the ThunderBolt, I was impressed, and (bear with me) not blown away. As I thought about my reaction, I realized the cause: The ThunderBolt is a great phone, no doubt. I didn’t find any flaws in it, nothing to nitpick or fault. It’s fast, intuitive enough (for Android) and looks nice. All features were either expected for a smartphone or above average (multimedia, 4G, the 8MP camera, etc).

What I realized is that the ThunderBolt – with it’s well-integrated powerful featureset – feels like a “generic smartphone” you’d purchase a year or two from now! That’s not an insult. It’s a good thing – what you’re getting with the ThunderBolt is a comprehensive list of great features that most other phones only have parts of.

HTC ThunderBolt’s standout features

The ThunderBolt supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network. This means that (in supported areas) data access is very fast (download speeds of up to 12Mbps).

The ThunderBolt is a device focused heavily on multimedia. Yes, it has a good screen – 480 by 800 resolution, and the 4.3″ screen size is fine for viewing video. It supports Adobe Flash (10.2 as of this writing). It is DLNA compatible, meaning it can wirelessly stream music and video to other DLNA-compatible devices. The built-in speaker can get LOUD.

It also comes with a “kickstand”, so the phone stands on its own for media playback, ebook reading, or other times where you just want to stare at the screen. Here’s the view from above:

HTC ThunderBolt stats and functionality

Memory: 8GB onboard, 32GB external (microSD)
Screen size: 4.3″ 480×800 WVGA
Network: 4G LTE 700, CDMA EvDO revA. In 4G Mobile Broadband coverage area, expect download speeds of 5-12 Mbps, and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps.
Wireless: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth.
OS: Android 2.2 with HTC Sense 2.0
Cameras: 8MP rear-facing (can record 720p HD video) with dual-LED flash, 1.3MP front-facing
Size: 4.75″ x 2.44″ x 0.56″, 6.23oz
Battery: 1400 mAh, 378 minutes usage, 330 hours standby
Other cool things
: Kickstand for video watching, share Internet with mobile hotspot (Verizon says up to 8 devices, HTC says up to 5), DLNA connectivity


The ThunderBolt is a solid phone with the fairly-mature Android OS. Its powerful focus on multimedia will benefit overall performance (yes, games too), not just media playback. Would I want this phone? Yes.

The HTC ThunderBolt is available for $250 from Verizon Wireless.


Chris June 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Isn’t battery life supposedly *very* poor with this phone?

Andy Kaiser June 4, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi Chris,

I did not have a chance to test battery life on this phone, so can’t answer your question directly. However, it’s my opinion that just about *every* smartphone out there chews up battery far too much. Or rather, battery technology is far behind. We need massive improvements in energy storage.


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