Review: HTC Thunderbolt
The HTC Thunderbolt is a big, big phone. Its 4.3-inch display mandates a dinner-plate sized footprint and that's exactly what you get. It is moderately thick, though by no means the thickest phone we've tested here at Phone Scoop. It is weighty, too. Apparently cutting-edge radio circuits and thin profiles aren't yet a possibility. Despite its sheer size, it's not uncomfortable to hold and use. The back edges are pleasantly rounded, and the soft touch paint job on the back cover has an organic feel to it. If you've got big pockets, the Thunderbolt will fit.
HTC doesn't break any new ground in terms of the appearance and design of the Thunderbolt. In fact, it looks nearly identical to the wide range of super slabs that HTC has produced of late. The colors are conservative (greys, silver and black), and the Thunderbolt doesn't stand out visually from the large pack of Android devices in the market.
The four standard Android controls are placed on the front of the device under the screen. I am really beginning to wish these buttons appeared in a mandated order. Every handset seems to jumble them up at will. These buttons are the touch-sensitive type, and produce haptic feedback when pressed.
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The microUSB port is on the left edge, close to the bottom of the handset. The volume toggle is on the right side, closer to the top. I am tired of HTC's volume toggle designs. This is another string-thin dash that is mushy to use. It doesn't feel good under your thumb, and the travel and feedback are simply not enough. I want something better from a $250 handset. The power/lock key and 3.5mm headset jack are on the top of the Thunderbolt. Thankfully, the power/lock key is easy to find and use.
Nowhere to be found? A dedicated camera key. For a device that packs an 8 megapixel camera, I expected HTC to include a camera button. Nope.
In what appears to be a new staple for its super slabs, HTC has added a kick-stand to the Thunderbolt. It is a thin strip of metal embedded into the back of the device. Pry it out with your fingernail and it will let the Thunderbolt rest at a nice viewing angle on a hard surface. It is one of the few pieces of metal on the device and has a brushed finish to it. It looks nice, and is easier to use than the kick stand that was on the HTC Surround. Due to where the kickstand and microUSB port are located, it is impossible to charge the Thunderbolt while watching a movie.
The microSD card slot is located in the battery compartment. Unfortunately, you have to remove the battery cover and the battery to get at the card slot.
From a design standpoint, the Thunderbolt follows the beaten path.
Video Tour: HTC Thunderbolt
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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.
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.