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 ›
Overall this phone is amazing. The speed, and the way the touchscreen works is magnificent.
Cons: Could've used an OLED screen. But not a big deal, the screen's contrast and such are very good.
Pros: Fast, fast, fast! HTC's sense is in action on this one. The phone boots faster than even my old analog phones, and even faster than my Ozone that I've upgraded from. Syncs calender, contacts, and email from my corporate account. The web browsing experience is by far better than my computer. It is also well built, and reminds me of my Ozone, which I had zero troubles with. I'm expecting the same out of the Thunderbolt.
A finely tuned instrument
I was ready to return this phone the day I bought it. The screen seemed less bright than my Droid X, I had trouble staying connected with the hot spot to my MacBook Pro and it didn't load the contents of my Mac account folders. However, 3 days down the road, I'm slowly falling in love. The responsiveness and speed of this phone is remarkable, and I've had an average of 2-3 phones a year for over 10 years.. It feels good to hold--better to me than the X. I am getting used to the HTC UI coming off of Motorola. I have workarounds for most of my issues. Would like to be able to connect to my computers and not lose the signal frequently as is now happening. But when it connects, I get download speeds of from 8-20+ mbps, and upload speeds of 5-10mbps. Which beats the heck out of the 400kbps at my hotel. I wanted the 4g although I travel all over the country and it isn't available everywhere. So I have it, and I am pleased.
Advertisements reviews continues below...
I just got my thunderbolt yesterday and I love it. The 4 g service is lightening fast. I used the mobile hotspot and the speeds were comparable to my cable internet at home. It was a great improvement over my eris. I love the large screen. I love the kickstand too. I thought I never use it. Some users complain that the kickstand is on the wrong side. It still holds up if you stand the phone charger side up. The only cons are that I have found that some of the applications that i used on my previous droid do not work on the Thunderbolt. Most notable is the Yahoo messenger. It just force closes. The other really big con is the battery life. Last night my battery was 90% before I went to bed. When I got up the battery was drained all the way down and the phone was off. I had wifi, bluetooth, and gps off.
hide detailed ratings
Like everyone else, I waited a long time for this phone to be released. While waiting, I researched everything I could about this phone-the good, bad, and indifferent. I've had the phone for about 4 months now and wanted to get used to it (coming from LG Dare) before posting a review of it.
-Snappy response, no lag between screens, phone navigation
-Sturdy phone-seems well built.
-4G speeds are awesome
-HTC Support is very helpful (much better than VZW's)
-Battery life could be better, but that's already been well-documented and was a known issue before getting the phone. It's manageable with the right settings (with light-moderate use, I still have 1/2 battery at end of day and charge it every morning).
-Data connection seems to be unstable using WiFi. It won't connect to a hidden network and after being connected, once the phone has been in 'standby' for a few minutes, once I come back to using the WiFi, it is very slow and unresponsive. I have to re-start the WiFi for it to work again.
-Screen Display is very difficult to see outdoors.
I don't think the phone deserves the low ratings it has received since the things they're complaining about were known issues and well documented. As a phone, I have no complaints (although I wish they would hyphenate the phone numbers throughout), but as a computer, there's still some work to be done. Most of the issues I have with it are software related and the fixes they issue fix some things but cause other problems. Eventually they'll get it right (GB?). PS: before purchasing ANY phone, do your homework, including pricing. I got mine for $175 3 weeks after it was released (and was selling for $250) because the GO WIRELESS dealer price-matched Amazon.com.
Thnks for delays
Took some time and research
Have had Blackberries for a number of years (many good features). Wanted a phone that I could see.
Pros: Screen size and the ability to expand text as much as I needed and speed. That covers what I wanted and the phone delivers
Cons: Not the battery. I put in a 1,600 mAh aftermarket battery which may, or may not, be better than OEM but I can do 2 days if I don't use it too much (1 not a big data pig). I am not totally happy with the calender or the syncing - could be me (likely is) but I am having to wean myself from Outlook or I may have to buy one of the proprietary sync apps.
About the battery issue. I spent some times on the boards and use the tips I saw. 4g (a bit of a pain without a toggle), Bluetooth, and WiFi are off unless being used.
Bloatware - yes there is a lot but I don't think it is slowing it down and it does not even clutter if one personalizes one's screens screens
Overall I am very pleased with the phone
-Fast, Fast, Fast
-HTC Sense works wonders, music app works better then stock android, gallery may not be as pretty but works better in my opinion.
-4G is quick!!
-3G is also quicker then my brother's Droid X
-Battery life is bad, but try it for your self. These people saying it dies during the night, or lasts only 6 hours must have a bunch of emails or programs syncing. I have 3 google accounts, facebook, weather, 2 yahoo accounts. a few missed calls and texts through out the night....and it only went down 10 percent. Woke up with 90 percent full. I was on 3g tho. I turned 3g off at night. On 4G all day, i got thru a full day's use about 15 hours, with moderate use which includes emails, texts, phone calls and about half an hour of games. I have screen at automatic brightness, wifi off and gps off, no need for it. it drained even my other phones, so i only turn on when i need it. after the 15 hours, i still had about 30 percent. I did "bump charge" the device twice. Don't know if it helped, but I'm going thru the multiple claims out there of 4-6 hours. If you play games and download a bunch of APPs...of course it won't last long....people don't understand that.
very good ph
very good phone ! i bought it first thing this morning at the verizon store in brooklyn. the phone is very fast. the 4g coverage in new york is excellent. the phone has a good feel to it not cheap at all. i liked it better then the i phone 4. All the features are amazing. im glad i left AT&T i had the old 3g phone bad coverage and all. the only dislike is the battery life if you use it alot. but otherewise great phone. YOU WONT GO WRONG !
Great data speeds, mediocre phone otherwise
I really wanted 4G speeds, so I "upgraded" from the Droid X to the Thunderbolt. I must say that the Droid X was a superior phone in many respects and I'm not totally pleased with the Thunderbolt.
+Awesome 4G data speeds
+Sturdy build quality
+Great selection of Sense UI widgets
+Easier to customize than most phones which require root
=The screen is very mediocre quality
=The Sense Contacts and Messaging apps are oversimplified
-Reception is worse than the Droid X. More dropped calls and data dropouts.
-Call quality is poor at most volumes.
-Battery life is terrible, I average 10 hours per charge with medium use.
-Must lift the kickstand for the speakerphone to be loud enough
-The phone is very heavy/bulky
All in all, I really want a 4G version of my Droid X, so I will be getting the Droid Bionic. The Thunderbolt may be the best 4G phone as of June 2011, when compared to the Droid Charge and Revolution, but it's lacking compared to the Droid X and X2. I would recommend waiting for a more worthy 4G phone.
It's going back...Re-activating my Droid X
I upgraded from my droid X to the thunderbolt for 4g readiness (to be grandfathered in on unlimited 4g) and just cause I was sort of bored with my droid X.
First off, I don't care for sense...the widgets are cleaner and nicer looking than blur ones, however they aren't as functional.
Second, battery life was noticeably worse than the droid X even in 3g only areas.
But the final nail in the coffin for me is call quality...I've never had so many people say "I can't hear/understand you" while using bluetooth or speaker phone as I have on this thunderbolt; it's really really bad.
Here's a pros and cons to the phone:
-Looks, both hardware and HTC sense
-Speed - on 4G it is lightning fast!
-Can talk and surf the net at the same time even in 3g only areas - worked great and it's the only reason I'm not wanting to return it (but will anyway due to call quality).
-Camera, good implementation of it, quick response when taking a picture etc
-Fast phone in terms of getting around on it
-First and worst, call quality is horrible
-Battery life...par for the course for a smartphone, but worse than my droid x
-menus are not as intuitive as the droid x...for instance, from my X I can snap a picture, click the menu button and email it right then...on the thunderbolt I have to snap the picture, exit the camera app, go into the gallery app, click the menu button, select share (which isn't even labeled as such) then select email, then select the picture(s) I want to email then email it...This phone is riddled with stupid time consuming menus like this that are really lacking.
-keyboard...droid x keyboard is much better and much less confusing and easier to type on
-ringtones/sounds...all just obnoxious
-email app...in email app just like on an iphone if you have subfolders of the inbox and subfolders in those folders you have to scroll all the way through EVERY FREAKIN FOLDER YOU HAVE to get to the one you want.
Overall, not impressed with HTC on this at all.
Great Great Phone
After getting Droid X and getting major disappointment from MotoBlur interface of Android 2.2 OS, I got Thunderbolt the day after the release date and I have been very impressed.
This phone is VERY fast. A good friend of mine has an EVO 4G and he always boasted the speed and I agreed, but Thunderbolt takes it to a new level. And by fast, I don't just mean 4G Speed (Boston), which was crazy fast 4983Kbps/8127Kbps (Dl/Upl), but the processor and the memory combination def. makes this phone one of the fastest phones out there IMO.
Crisp Screen, despite not being OLED
4G Speed - Nothing beats it
Fast User Interface Navigation
Sense UI Customization capabilities
More Accurate GPS than Droid X (Don't know why)
Great Speakers, both back and front
720p Video Capture is very smooth
Battery - I feel it's Overexaggerated by the reviewers, because with this kind of phone, it's expected, but I was able to use my TBolt for 4 hours and 50 minutes actively using the phone with 30% Screen Brightness (it's still bright enough if you are indoors). I have no complaints but if I were to pick, this could constitute as a 'con'
Can't Charge while kickstand on the back out to put the phone on a landscape, since the charging port with the charging USB cable plugged in gets in the way of the phone being able to be rooted on a landscape
I go to a university in Amherst, MA, and I got this phone with the help of FamilyWireless in Downtown Amherst, MA. They helped greatly for this phone to get there, and their customer service is 'two thumbs up' excellent. Store Number - 413-687-6777