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Review: HTC Thunderbolt

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If the Thunderbolt were a regular 3G smartphone, it would be a near home run. Aside perhaps from the large and weighty size, everything about the Thunderbolt is solid. It has a good design; solid signal performance; good voice call performance; and good battery life when in 3G-only areas.

The Sense user interface and other applications customized by HTC make this Android device a cinch to use and adjust. The camera application is great, and mostly produces great results. Aside from a severe case of the shakes, the HD camcorder also does well.

With LTE 4G coverage, the Thunderbolt's browsing and download prowess is second to none. Speeds are Millennium Falcon-fast and are capable of out-pacing most wired home broadband connections. But it comes at a severe cost in battery life. Intense LTE use can wreck the battery in just a couple of hours. Two-hour battery life isn't acceptable in any device, let alone a smartphone.

(It's a shame, really. I have to question why the Thunderbolt doesn't have a larger battery. At only 1400mAh, it seems HTC is limiting the battery on purpose in order to sell the extended-life battery, which packs 2750mAh at a cost of $50.)

Would I recommend the HTC Thunderbolt, Verizon's first LTE handset? Sure. It's a great smartphone. The only significant drawback is the crippled battery life when using the Thunderbolt's best feature.

The Thunderbolt is like a Ferrari. It may be fast as all get-out, but that speedy engine consumes a lot of fuel.

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