Phone Scoop Review
Mar 18, 2011 by Eric M. Zeman
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? read review ›
Best phone I've ever had, blazing fast, battery can be dealt with
I've had my Thunderbolt for nearly a week now, and I absolutely LOVE this phone. Its few drawbacks and more than compensated for by its advantages.
-Blazingly fast (I live in a 4G area)
-FINALLY the ability to talk and use data simultaneously
-Potential World Phone usability with SIM card
-Tons of storage space (40GB total including 32GB MicroSD card)
-Stable OS (doesn't crash like my Eris did)
-Very customizable without root
-Kickstand makes browsing pleasant
-Speaker is great, makes movie previews sound like a theater
-Beautiful screen that actually works outside in the sun
-Fast boot! This is amazing - my phone starts from its "hibernation mode" in about 5 seconds
-Eye candy...not going to lie, everyone keeps asking what kind of phone this is. They think it's a mini iPad.
-Well yes, it's obviously large, but I really don't notice it in my pocket that often
-By default, the battery life is abysmal. However, with a bit of tweaking, it can be fine (and I'm definitely a power user)
-Kickstand is stupidly placed such that when you charge the phone the charger is in the way of the kickstand...design flaw
-This is very minor but the power button and volume rocker are almost flush with the phone, so that in its case, it's a little difficult to press the buttons
For The Battery Life. I have a fix.
Download Phone Info in the market. You can also dial *#*#4636#*#* and choose CDMA Prl that will help on battery life. Choose CDMA / LTE when you want 4g. I leave it on CDMA PRL unless I want 4g.
HTC sense gotta say I love it!
Feels like sturdy build.
Camera is awesome. I love the touch to focus and zoom.
Audio quality is supurb, speaker and earpiece. Bluetooth also
I also like the touch buttons.
Battery but have a fix.
No Skype. Yet.
AD reviews continues below...
amazing phone, but not for me.
I got this phone a week ago, I read a bunch of different reviews so I wasn't sure what to expect. After using it for a week, I think i'm going to return it.
-the phones sensitivity is crazy.
-it's super fast in the 4g and 3g areas.
-the screen is gorgeous.
-the battery life is horrible when your in the 4g area, it's not so bad in 3g.
-when the volume is turned all the way up
during a call, it's still kind of hard to hear.
-camera isn't that good.
Great phone, but need to manage the power
I live in a 4G area, and the internet and data speeds are fantastic. Doing various speed tests such the the Speakeasy test, I get download speeds of 15 to 20MB! Then, using the phone as a hotspot, it can provide high speed internet to any laptop or tablet, so no need to get a data plan for your Ipad, Xoom, or laptop PC. Everything works well, but negative issue is the battery life. At first, I would only get 4 hours out of a charge with moderate use.
With some easy to do power management steps, I was able to extend the life to over a day, without a charge.
I use a power management app to turn off everything I am not using at the moment--WIFI, GPS, and Autosync. Also, I changed my Exchange email not to push email, but to fetch once per hour. On my 3 personal email accounts, I set them up to retreive the mail manually, on demand. Also, one thing that seems to really help in to change the setting in your browser for add-ons (such as Adobe Flash). Instead of having them enabled at all times, I have them set to "enable on demand". When I go to a website that requires Adobe Flash, I get prompted to turn on the Adobe Flash add-on temporarily. With these steps, power is not a problem. This steps obviously work on any smartphone to extend battery life.
I purchased an extended battery also, and, if I do all the power saving steps above, with moderate usage, I still have 80% power remaining at the end of the day. I can even use live wallpaper all day. It's really not all that bulky. The phone is already somewhat thick and heavy compared to an Iphone. Adding an extended battery doesn't make it that much heavier or bulkier.
Great speed in 4G (up to 20MB),
Great call clarity,
Large beautiful screen.
Heavier and thicker than a lot of other phones such as Iphone, Incredible, or DroidX. Battery life is not good if you don't take steps to preserve power.
(Though, with some power saving steps, and getting an extended battery, that issue has been resolved for me.)
Happy with my switch from Incredible to Thunderbolt
I am a typical gadget freak, as I love to jump in to the latest and greatest. That said, I kept my Incredible for over a year and was very happy with it. However, now that I leaped into 4G with the Thunderbolt's big screen, big virtual keys and quick response time, I am even happier. I tested 4G in Crofton/Baltimore, MD and hit almost 17MB/s download speeds. Absolutely stunning; faster than my quad core desktop on Comcast at home. Really. I also tested surfing while on a call in 3G at the Verizon store in Bel Air, Md and it worked great. I don't get people who have nothing to do but complain about minor details like where the charging port is located. Clearly you can't put it on the bottom otherwise you won;t be able to place it in a docking station. You can't put it on the same side as the volume rocker because then you can't adjust the volume while watching a movie. A simple solution is to place the Bolt on top of a book or on the edge of your nightstand,with the charging cable hanging down over the edge. Works for me, no problem. I got the extended battery and never used the standard battery so I can't speak to it's life, but the extended one works great all day for me (many phone calls, FB, texting and emailing - moderate use). I picked up a leather pouch at Best Buy and it fits snugly but is no trouble to remove with the extended battery. The screen is amazing, pinch and zoom are smooth, 4G speeds are beyond what you can imagine, and HTC Sense is my favorite overlay. The only thing I would have liked to see is the HDMI out because with 40GB of memory, I am going to put a ton of movies on this thing! Go get one, you will love it too.
Great Device, But Be Aware
If you are coming from an iPhone and expecting a phone that is as "easy" to use as the iPhone, you will be disappointed. Android in itself requires a bit of time and patience if you are not use to the OS. That said, if you spend the needed time (a couple hours) to learn the phone and work Android, you will love it.
- Fast Processor - Screen Lag reduced significantly from Any of the past Verizon Android phones.
- Large phone, but fits well in your hand.
- Doesn't feel like plastic, has some weight to it.
- Typing messages were more accurate than the iPhone (for me) due to the larger screen.
- Like everyone else has stated, the battery life suffers due to the 1350 battery. HTC could have done a better job here. a 2750 battery is available for $50, but increases the thickness of the phone by about 1/4 inch or more.
All in all great phone. Know what you are getting into. Manage your battery life as best you can by using the build in application killer (not the ones from the market) And spend the time to learn the phone. It's not an iPhone, so don't expect it to be...It's better than the iPhone (imho)
A Big Deal for Big Red
This is a pretty important milestone for VZW and they may have pulled it off with the Thunderbolt. The 4G speeds on the device are super fast, not that I need that much speed.
The Thunderbolt has great voice call quality, audio, the text messaging worked properly as well as the simultaneous talk and browse.
The device did hiccup a few times, but I may have asked it to do too many things at once, since it was SO fast.
The device ran a little hot on it's first day, but I powered it down and back on. It was struggling to find a signal in my home. VZW swears the coverage in my home is EXCELLENT, well it's NOT; but you can't tell VZW ANYTHING.
The phone has been off charge for 5.5 hours now. I browsed the web, sent a few texts and stream audio for an hour and the indicator is still GREEN. I haven't fully calibrated the battery, so it should only improve.
On the Thunderbolt
Before I start, I want to say that I am not affiliated with any cell phone service or cell phone maker; I am an honest to goodness user.
I am coming from a BB 9650 and an HTC Ozone. I have been extremely happy with both of these phones, but was jazzed with the idea of getting Verizons first 4G offering.
1.Extremely fast 4G service for internet browsing.
2.Signal reception is very acceptable
3.Huge screen, can be very bright and is has great colors
4.Great camera; huge imaging area
5.You can use the phone as a tethered modem
6.There are many apps to use with this phone.
1.The battery life is an issue. Standard battery lasted me a little over 4 hours and the larger battery lasted me about 7 hours. I went through the settings, downloaded task-killing apps and turned down the display brightness; I still could not get the battery life to go longer than 8 hours.
2.While the mail was easy to setup, I had to make sure that the settings were changed because the defaults were very untimely for me (every two hours until 8pm, then nothing at night).
3.Had an issue synchronizing media with computer via the HTC sync software. Software locked a few times and I could not manually transfer images and video from the phone to computer via Windows explorer. While I believe these issues will be fixed, it was still an issue for me.
4.There appears to be an issue coming from Wi-Fi back to accessing internet / mail through the cell service. I linked up with a hot-spot fine, but when I left it and turned off the Wi-Fi; it said I did not have an internet connection to browse or refresh mail. I had to turn the phone off and then back on to resolve the issue.
Overall, it is a good phone. It is almost like having a walk-around laptop in your hands that you can make phone calls on; unfortunately, the battery life is a big issue. For me I need to have a phone that I am confident in for at least the whole day and I just am not sure with this phone.
From MOTO DROID to HTC THUNDERBOLT
I ordered this phone because I am a ANDROID fan, and I wanted the experience of 4G.
Although Verizon Wireless doesn't have much 4G coverage in my area yet, I wanted to experience it anyway.
My only 4G choice was between these 2 models:
Samsung CHARGE and the HTC THUNDERBOLT
(The LG 4G phone came out a few days later.)
Coming from the MOTOROLA DROID phone,
I found the following features upsetting..
1) PICS - After taking a pic, there is no option to SHARE PIC...
So the pic gets saved to your gallery.
Then you can go into MESSAGES, and send it as a text to someone. Or log into Facebook and post it. Or go into your email account, compose an email and attach it. That's a lot of extra steps from a former MOTO Droid user.
2) MULTI MEDIA MESSAGES - When someone sends you a picture message, HTC Automatically processes it with the SLIDESHOW software. The SLIDESHOW software, shows you the pic for about 5 seconds, and then closes it. If you want to see the picture, zoom in, etc - you have to Save it to your phone, and then go into it.. Kind of a pain for pictures you don't really want to keep. You can set the viewing slideshow options to longer than 5 seconds, but it reverts back on other messages. It also converts every SENT picture to this SLIDESHOW format, so if you are looking at your text log and want to zoom in on a pic, again you have to save it to your phone, just to zoom in, etc. NONE of your pics are viewable from your text log itself, you just see a lil icon that says slideshow. I reviewed tech bulletin boards & the only way around the slideshow is to use an texting application from Android Market.
In messaging & email, the system has to predict every single word you type. On Moto droid, if you knew how to spell and type, you didn't have to see interruptions on every word. Sometimes I spell the word correctly and hit space bar, and it changes my perfectly spelled word to a completely different word!
A long time Blackberry user (last phone was a Bold) I wanted more/better multimedia. Choice (on VZW) was narrowed between iPhone and the Tbolt. While they are identical on core functions -- mail, internet, apps, maps -- feature-for-feature the Tbolt easily wins:
- Larger screen
- Replaceable battery and memory
- 8mp camera
- Free turn-by-turn GPS
- Adobe Flash in web pages
- USB port
- FM Radio
- $100 less (with a discount)
- Higher screen resolution
- Better battery life
- Easier fit in hand/smaller/lighter
- Tons of after-market accessories
- iTunes (for ease of media management)
The phone is a blast, and I look forward to my commuter bus ride where I can tinker with it... until I get the low battery warnings. Yeah the battery issue is a MAJOR daily battle that forces me to curb usage and apply power settings. Though not willing to purchase the ridiculously large and heavy extended battery, over the next two years I can only hope/assume battery technology will improve.