Hands-On: HTC ThunderBolt
We go hands-on with HTC's new LTE phone for Verizon. Find out what we like, what we don't, how it compares to the other LTE phones, and how it compares to phones like the Inspire 4G.
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The HTC ThunderBolt has a very refined, stylish-yet-businesslike design. It looks and feels extremely solid. The body clearly includes metal and has a soft-touch finish on the back that feels very nice. The rounded sides are very comfortable in the hand and help offset the large size of the device.
Speaking of size, it's not small, not remarkably thin, and not especially light. It's a smidge smaller than the LG Revolution, but it's substantially thicker than the Inspire 4G, a phone with the same screen, camera, and overall design. It's true that the ThunderBolt adds a kickstand, large speaker and front camera compared to the Inspire, but that doesn't seem to account for all of the thickness difference. In fact, the Thunderbolt has a larger battery (1400 mAh vs. 1230 mAh.) It seems that LTE requires a bigger battery, adding some size and weight. All four LTE phones are on the large side compared to non-LTE phones. This may change with future LTE chipsets, but for now there does seem to be a trade-off there.
The kickstand flips out in a way that allows the phone to stand freely either vertically or in landscape. Behind the kickstand is a large speaker grille. The kickstand feels surprisingly sturdy.
We were disappointed to find that the microSD memory card slot requires that you remove the battery to access.
The touch keys below the screen work well, even if we'd prefer physical keys. The power and volume keys work well. There's no camera key, although the front-facing camera means you can take self-portraits without turning the phone around.
The LCD display looks very nice. Unfortunately, the Thunderbolt lacks an HDMI jack for connecting to a TV; Verizon's other three LTE phones all have HDMI-out. The Thunderbolt does have an FM radio, though.
All aspects of the interface run fast and smoothly. The ThunderBolt does sport Sense 2.0 from HTC. It has the usual selection of excellent HTC home screen widgets and social network integration. Sense also includes some new shortcuts to make it very easy personalize your phone from the home screen, including a selection of skins, in case you prefer Sense features but with the look of wood grain, for example.
The camera interface for the 8-megapixel shooter is very nice, with pretty on-screen controls including touch focus and face detection. Dual LED flash should help in dark scenes.
Video Tour: HTC Thunderbolt
Phone Scoop shows off HTC's Thunderbolt, the first LTE 4G smartphone to become available from Verizon Wireless. Check out our quick video tour.
Review: HTC Thunderbolt
Phone Scoop takes an in-depth look at HTC's Thunderbolt, the first LTE 4G smartphone to become available from Verizon Wireless. Can it live up to the hype — and the hope — for the future of 4G?
Hands-On with Wireless Charging Phones for Verizon
We've discovered that Verizon is quietly pushing Qi wireless charging technology, by requiring manufacturers to include the technology in their LTE phones. Read on for photos and details of the first Qi products for Verizon.
HTC Thunderbolt Update Squashes Bugs
Verizon Wireless has made a system software update available to the HTC Thunderbolt that resolves a significant number of bugs. According to the changelog published by Verizon, the update improves data connectivity, reduces the number of system crashes/reboots, improves Bluetooth discovery, improves the call history options, offers a tabbed main menu, and enables the people search function.
Update to Help Smooth Out Thunderbolt Data Issues
Verizon Wireless published details about a forthcoming software update for the HTC Thunderbolt. Though many of the improvements are minor, Verizon says that the update will improve the Thunderbolt's data connectivity with its 3G network.
TV Out Function?
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