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After many months of cryptic hints, leaks, rumors, and several delays, many of us wondered if the HTC ThunderBolt would ever arrive. The elusive device finally made its grand appearance this morning at 9 AM at Verizon and Best Buy locations nationwide. Being Verizon's first LTE capable phone and made by the very popular, Taiwanese company, HTC, it is expected that the ThunderBolt will be a hit. Although, at $249.99 with a two-year agreement, it is priced a little higher than many of us were hoping. Now that it has finally arrived, the biggest hurdle for the ThunderBolt is the pair upcoming devices with more processing power. Will HTC's charm, reputation, and good looks be enough to ward off the approaching heavyweights?

I've spent the entire day with the ThunderBolt and here are some things I've noticed thus far:

  • First and foremost, the LTE network has been a dream come true. Here in Concord (Charlotte metro area), the coverage has been very good. I've experienced a few areas that were missing LTE coverage while driving down the road, but the switch between 3G and LTE is pretty quick. The biggest plus is that you have unlimited access to this network for no extra charge beyond the unlimited data plan.
  • As for speeds, they've been incredible. Right after leaving the Verizon store this morning I did a speed test. The first run yielded 7.5 Mbps down and 38.4 Mbps on the upload. Downloading applications only takes a matter of seconds, and photos upload in the blink of an eye. I've been running tests all day at different locations and the speeds did fluctuate a bit, but still remained above expectations: anywhere from 5-10 Mbps down and 20-41Mbps up. I did hit one anomaly that gave a reading of 86.9 Mbps on the upload, but I think it was an error in the software.
  • When it comes to hardware, the ThunderBolt is exactly what you would expect from HTC. It's very well built and feels great in the hand. It feels heavy, mainly because it is. But at 0.52-inches thick, the device is a little on the chunky side, so that doesn't help at all. It weights a nice 5.78 oz, which is slightly lighter than the EVO 4G at 6 oz.

  • Some people feared that the ThunderBolt not getting a dual-core processor was awful news. I'll admit, I was upset when I first found out, too. But it isn't all that bad. My experience with the ThunderBolt has been the best, performance-wise, out of any Android device I've used extensively. I still need to put it to the true test, but I'm impressed so far.
  • Behind the kickstand, you will find a large Dolby Surround Sound speaker. I didn't listen to a lot of music on the ThunderBolt, but what little I did sounded awesome. That said, don't get excited because you see “Dolby Surround Sound.” It may be “surround," but it's still on a phone and isn't going to blow you away.
  • I've made a few voice calls so far. The quality of the calls were pretty impressive. They were very clear and the earpiece speaker is very loud. I never really hit a spotty area, so I obviously didn't drop a call. I also didn't test simultaneous voice and data. I will include that in the full review.
  • The ThunderBolt ships with Android 2.2. For someone that has been using 2.3 for a while now, it feels like you're taking a few steps back. And you are. Tiny steps, not leaps. The noticeable differences are with battery life, power management, and the obvious UI discrepancies. To make up for shipping with the older version of Android, it does come to market with Sense 2.0, which is a nice upgrade from the original version of Sense.

  • I've taken a few stills with the 8-megapixel rear camera and quality is great. You have a fair amount of control over the auto-focus feature and it's very quick to react. It also comes with many different filters (sepia, posterize, negative, etc.) that you can apply to spice up your photos. The problem is, there is little to no image stabilization, so your shots often turn out blurred. The front-facing camera takes decent shots as well. As for video, check out Aaron's sample of the ThunderBolt's 720p video sample.
  • Something that I have expected to be pitiful on the ThunderBolt is battery life. You may remember back when the ThunderBolt experienced a few delays. The rumor was that those delays were over reports of poor battery life. I charged the phone completely and unplugged it at 5:00 PM. By 10:00 PM it was sitting at 38% after light to moderate use (mostly standby). Considering this is a huge weak spot for the device, I will do a lot of extensive testing for the review. I plan on calibrating the battery tonight to see if that helps any. One thing is for sure though, coming from an iPhone and still using a myTouch 4G that easily gets 14 or more hours of use, the ThunderBolt's battery life woes are definitely amplified.
  • Another oddity coming from the ThunderBolt is the time it takes to charge. Like I said, I fully charged it earlier, but I was busy and wasn't paying attention to how long it took it actually took. It started at roughly 50% and I know it took at least a couple hours to complete. That's not a good when paired with bad battery life. I'm hoping this gets better.

There will be more ThunderBolt coverage to come, so keep it dialed in to PhoneDog!


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100 Reactions to this post

"ThunderBolt owners, what do you think of the phone so far?"


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Ryan Montoya Used to have the Droid x and the iPhone this thunderbolt is by far the best phone...not to mention Verizon service is great unlike ATT
Kevin Choi i got this yesterday! it's greaaaaaaaaat! :D
Tony Abiama No one said it was the first 4.3 inch phone but it definitely made it trend to rock a 4.3 inch display
Tony Dear III Hd2 was also htc but it wasn't android platform but I see your point 4.3 screen but an immature os.
Tyree Kartrell Newton Evo...I meant.
Tyree Kartrell Newton The EVO did not start it all. The HD2 did. Evolution just made it better.
Tony Dear III @Tony your very right. The evo has been on top of it's game still 8months into it and that's like 50 years in smart phone age. Example 1 the droid x was launched as a competitor to the evo and lost it's hype about a month or two in. That being said people who say the evo is nothing compared to the tbolt are about ignorant cuz it's got like 8 months of technology on it. New phones should be better. Both are great phones period because htc made them. And evo is not the originator but more of a trend setter with the 4.3 in screen and kickstand. (I own an evo btw and if I was on vzw I'd get the tbolt.)
Marco A. Cortes IP5 Coming soon...
Nicole Yang i like this phone so bad.. :)
Justin Litzau Oh, I'm so sorry that I find it ridiculous that people can't answer a simple question. Q,Hey, how do you like the tbolt? A, my iPhone is awesome! Thanks, umm, that's helpful. So again, Q, how the tbolt? A, my mytouch rocks! Again, very helpful. Stupid, very very stupid.
Kevin Mybigman will it flash and work on metro pcs LTE?
Muhamad Zein I like pizza and watching football. Suck on that Justin Litzau!
Tony Abiama @Louis how does people saying the Evo is the originator make them 'new' to Android? The FACT of the matter is the Evo did it first and set the pace for 4.3in android powerhouses. The thunderbolt is undoubtedly a beast in its own right... but the Evo started it all and has maintained dominance for 6+ months which is impressive for a smartphone
Ivan Woods HTC Evo 4g is still a great phone with out a shadow of doubt . If people say the Evo suck now becuase of these new phone are coming out are out of their mind
Trinity Kolarova Hoodrich extended battery available buy one it helps alot ...
Robert Centennial 3:30 of battery life.......what?!
Darin Paddie The HTC thunderbolt works just fine.
Kenneth Liebl Solid phone. Looking forward to 4
Louis Portis People that keep saying evo is the original obviously are new to android. HTC Makes great phones period!!
Ivan Woods I am in love with my Thunderbolt ... even though some apps I downloaded are not capable with the new phone but it didnt stop me from doing what I want to do. The best thing I love about the Thunderbolt she allow you to intregrate with FB and Twitter along with Skype mobile. I can tell you first hand this phone is different from an Evo 4g
Kody Lanes I got my thunderbolt yesterday and all I can say is WOW!!! Now this is 4G I came from a G2 which o thought had 4G but it can't hold a candle to LTE the screen is beautiful its very smooth and fast and even the speaker is pretty loud not galaxy s loud but its close enough...all in all this is pretty much the best phone on the planet right now
Aj Green All you people who think the thunderbolt is just a evo are idiots! It out performs the evo in every catergory!!!
Jason Kierna Everyone look out for Justin Litzau AKA the Facebook comment Police! You have way too much time on your hands buddy! But if you want to waste your time scolding everyone for not staying on topic go ahead.....you're a douche!
Robert Centennial Its junk 4.3 inch screen and nothing to use it for. No netflix, no hulu, no itunes,.....nothing but 4 hours of battery life.
Tony Abiama HTC EVO 4G is the originator... the end. Nothing against the Thunderbolt but its an EVO +, nothing more nothing less
Daphne Lyketsos Love my inspire- the only difference is memory and front cam, so i'm good with my inspire
Lance Johnson LOVE MY TBOLT! When you come from a Crapberry anything is better. My Crapberry would shit itself trying to open a webpage. My Tbolt can do just about anything... trying to figure out how to use it as a taser :)
Nigel Clarke For those who have not done their history facts: iphone was not a game changer or ground breaking phone, what it did was simply revolutionize the mobile application platform, but groundbreaking? Hardly. Mobile apps were originally tested by RIM and microsoft...
Brandon Johnson Damn who the fuck in here owns a thunderbolt? We don't care about the specs we could have read about, how does the phone perform in real world usage?
Abram Wewillnevermeet Dennis These comments have nothing 2 do with the thunderbolt smh
Jon Jerico Calanio The Thunderbolt is rooted and now has custom ROMs = get it.
Kevin Henderson Freaking love my thunderbolt! Fast as fuck and battery actually lasted a while yesterday.
Tito Rodriguez Lol I overlooked the original question due to the comments. Guess a new owner may post a true review response on YouTube.
Tito Rodriguez Im on the fence between Nexus S & The Thunderbolt. For now, I carry the Tmobile comet (not bad/resolution is bad though) for portable hotspot access & juice up the apple itouch data. I wished phones were as light as the itouch &/or Tmobile comet. Had & loved my G2 but it was a lil heavy. Sold only to get itouch to share with my tyke in the car/home without passing the actual phone.
Anthony Douglas I think out of all the post the original question was answered twice. I read through each post to get some sort of feedback as I am switching from my Evo to a Thunderbolt & all I read was iPhone this Evo that. To those who actually have the device what is the battery life? Is it just a bad as the Evo? (BTW I love my Evo too)...Are the speeds fater on LTE than they are on Wimax?
Peter Nuon whats a thunderbolt?
Mauka Side Man... You guys crack me up.
Kenny Coan III Thunderbolt FTW
Justin Litzau Relevant*
Justin Litzau Louis, how is that reinvent to this? We didn't ask about your prepaid phone. The question is about the tbolt. Stay on topic. If your comment doesn't have to do with the tbolt, please keep it to yourself.
Justin Litzau Javier, you're kind of correct. The iPhone changed everything! It brought a new way of gaming, emails, videos, touch screen & apps all into 1 product. But what Android gives is almost the same OS in different form factors. No, HTC didn't release anything new when it comes to the tbolt. Let's face facts, other then small changes, its the hd2 with Android & a better camera & more onboard memory. We have, the hd2, evo, inspire, desire hd, hd7 & now tbold. The discussion isn't about the hardware or game changing. It's if the people like or dislike the tbolt, that's all. Everyone Im here took it way into left field. It's not about htc or Verizon or LTE or 4G or anything else. It's just about how people like the phone. Then there's some odd people that feel the need to jump in for no reason & say, "hey, my iPhone on a different network is better" or, "my g2 is way better on a different network". Both responses aren't reinvent to if someone is enjoying the tbolt. If people would just stay on topic & understand what a question is, then threads like this wouldn't take such an odd turn.
Tyree Kartrell Newton I'm pretty sure he was talking to the actual Thunderbolt owners. smh If you've got a i-phone or EVO, keep it moving. lol
Marcus Cadwell Enjoy your new phones people. I bought a phone I like and without worrying about if it will be slightly outdated or not. My Droid 2 will do me just fine for a year and a half to two years.
Louis Agresti All these plan Smartphones are a rip off,i will keep my Virgin Mobile optimus v unlimited everything for 50 dollars,no contract,no termination fees.and no 100+ bill every month.and did i say the GPS is free also
Javier Segura This argument is so flawed the phone itself is a watered down EVO, the phone by itself changes nothing; Verizon's LTE Network might be the only thing "New" in this whole product launch. HTC has done nothing ground breaking and MetroPC did it first, not Verizon. Sorry but iPhone (1st gen) is the only phone that was and still is what can be called "ground breaking." The rest is just Android fanboy fever.
Justin Litzau Javier, no ones hating. The reality of the matter is this. The iPhone changed everything for phones, that's a fact. Android just gave users what ios didn't. They both have their rolls to play. Now again, stay on topic!
Javier Segura Android phones are crap, I had an EVO that almost never could connect to "4G" and even on 3G the apps crashed way too often. I got an iPhone and it just does everything better. Fandroids keep hatin... It's too funny
Flako Ramirez Love this thing :) sooo happy with it
Nick Koval Wish it was on tmo...
Aaron León I prefer android over iOS anyday. The apps actually work WITH the phone. All moderate to upper class android phones are basically jailbroken iPhones
Justin Litzau Nic, that's just about any phone. Not just Android.
Nic Gruwell i look at the thunderbolt and any other android phone this way: something better will be out in at least 3 months
Sam Crabbe Very good phone!!
Gerardo Ortega Sprint is going to show of the EVO 3D aka EVO2 on March 22. Crash an burn thunderbolt.
Nigel Clarke And is this 16-22mb speed actual or theoretical?
Nigel Clarke And faster, but currently in all speed tests done so fast, the fastest network has consistently been tmobile, and their focus haas always been on speed, not tech
Nigel Clarke Uhh angelio, where are your facts to back this claim? The thunderbolt is faster and new, but is not a game changer....htc makes good phones and the thunderbolt is just another good htc phone. Its essentially an upgraded evo with lte
Justin Litzau Do some of you people just comment for the sake of trying to start trouble? This has NOTHING to do with at&t, Sprint, t-mobile, the iPhone, the g2, the evo, Japan, the monks, pizza, affliction jeans, Toyota cars, hovercrafts, pearl jam, yo-yos, hats, dogs or Jesus. Yes, I added a few extra items in there, so what? It's about the thunderbolt. STAY ON TOPIC OR DON'T POST HERE! your iPhone, Sprint & g2 thoughts aren't needed. If you want to brag or talk bad about someone, do it elsewhere. This is just a phone, not a way of life. Stop being so personal on such a stupid topic!
Angello Jimenez You all are fucking dumb. Thunderbolt had 16-22mb download speed. NOTHING compares to that right now. N O T H I N G
Marcus NinersEmpire I use to have a iPhone and it sucked. I had full bars still dropping calls wait I for got a part of my hand was blocking da antenna lol Gud job steve. Da evo well da battery life sucks but overall I luv it no problems for me.
Michael Aguilar Calvin, you're a moron if you believe deutsche telekom would actually sell Tmo USA. Especially to sprint? If sprint were to but tmo, then DT would own 50% of sprint right off the batt. CEO of DT outruled an out right sale of T-Mobile USA
Christopher Manic Johnson The fanboyism in this comments are hilarious. You guys are arguing about devices that do exactly the same thing, only in different ways...it's kinda pathetic. I'm hearing semi good things about the Thunderbolt...mainly LTE.
Jasé Phillip wanna be Garmin devices
Jasé Phillip 4.3 size screens u might as well install them androids in cars ..
Jasé Phillip keep walking around with them chargers
Jasé Phillip dude... Android for LYFE that's ur gang cause u are settling for second or thirds best.... good for u dude rep ur phone .....
Steven Lynx Whyte why are so many ppl talking about evo and iphones... the question is what do you think of the phone if you are an owner...
Marcus NinersEmpire Wow wow wow anybody say iphoneis better plz slap ur self real Gud den look n da mirror to c ur hand print across yo face. Android 4 life HTC. IPhone WEAK. IPhone old news only Gud thing bout da iPhone I can say b BEST(battery life)
Jasé Phillip you people need a life get a iPhone make time to go out there and see the world all worked up on a android device wats so good about it other than there is like 400 android phones out there lmao get a life better yet get a iPhone have kids go on a date or something
Mitch Sipple I'll stick with iPhone 4 sure it's not for everyone but htc is not for everyone to each there own all this bashing one another is childish!
Justin Litzau People, this isn't the forum to fight about the evo or iPhone. This is about the thunderbolt. Stay on topic.
Stuart Luther I don't think the iPhone will hurt Verizon's network. One it's a 3G phone not 4G. Two the average Android user consumes more data than iPhone users.
Jaciel Raya People are dumb...obviously the thunderbolt looks like an evo is because htc made the phone. I also hate when people bash other carriers and brag about the one they are on. All the carriers excellent in some placex, and they all have flaws that you just have to deal with. Anyways I don't own a thunderbolt, but it looks like a good phone even if it is a " rebranded evo" whatever that is.
Tavonte G Drakeford t-mobile G2 FTW
Stuart Luther If Tmobile has a faster 4G network why are they going to switch to LTE? Also that's ridiculous to say Verizon has issues with dropped calls. It's the best network in the U.S. I think some purple are bitter because they can't qualify for Verizon Service. It's known in the industry Tmobile appeals to people that have terrible credit.
Noel Lv I'm a evo owner ..this thunderbolt is just like a big brother .evo has been out for a year already so of course this thunderbolt is going to be faster And maybe a bit better ..but I hope rumors are true and they htc comes out with a evo 3d
Brad Nielsen If you have any rooted android phone...you're winning.
David Lora My mytouch 4g rocks rooted with cm7
Daniel Helfer I'm on a iPhone and hate it, I played with the tbolt today when my girl got her nexus s (which I absolutely love), and it was pretty good. The guy at the store said they had 20 people come in and get it. They should me the inspire since I'm on AT&T (I don't get the haters, it's great service) and that phone was awesome! Aside from the lack of a kickstand which is a non issue, it was a better experience though it was only a quick play with. But to finish, the nexus s is worth a look at. Gingerbread is phenomenal! If I could load gb on an inspire, it would reign supreme on the market.
Noel Lv Word I say the same thing lol @ jason
BigChuck Rossetti Justin is so scary... maybe we should all be quiet and not have an opinion
James Brian Carrera Louis the calles framerate was gone with the froyo update lol fail man
Justin Young Shut the hell up unless you own the phone! Read the Damn question.
Jason Ramos lmao @ Evo owners. Sorry but this phone easily pwns it. It has a second generation processor and the LTE speeds puts WiMAX to shame. Sprint WiMAX signal can't even penetrate through toilet paper and it's latency is up the ass. Not to mention T-Mo's psuedo so-called 4G beats it! Sad. WiMAX will soon be a thing of the past as Sprint has realized they made a mistake and will soon be switching to LTE. Read it and weep
Justin Hall Ill keep my Droid 2 global until 4g is out in my area.
Calvin Gerald Jr. And that's why t-mobile yes is about to be sold lol. I also agree the iPhone will hurt Verizon it will consume the data network no good
BigChuck Rossetti Why do the evo people bash the thunderbolt...? it's an upgrade of the same phone... I almost got that stupid thing this morning ... thankgod for forums... it's last years processor in last years phone with a few new goodies and it's about to be stomped by the dual core stuff coming out... but... some people don't care about benchmarks and speed tests and to them I say... congratulations... that's a sexy frickin phone ya got there...
Walt White Thunderbolt! It's the shizneel!
Norleena Davies i have verizon with no issues, except of course when they had to bring that stupid iphone over. I'd rather have so many other ones instead and i agree with mitch, window phones are just as junky as iphones.
Calvin Gerald Jr. Sprint ftw.... evo all day nine months out and still can go toe to toe with all these phones. Evo 2 coming will destroy all
James Davis So basically no one on here owns the phone?
Victor N Perez All about tmobile.. tmo is wooping and getting stronger
Chad Richter Android.... yawn.
Mitch Dague Hahaha, windows phones r as horrible as iphones....and tmobile is alot better than verizon for sure, all I hear from ppl w vz is complaints about service issues I.e. dropped calls,txts and/or voivemails not bein delivered for hours or days, no service at all sumtimes for up to a cpl hours,etc...thunderbolt seems great,a copy of evo in a way I mentioned b4 but regardless a good phone...as far as ppl talkin up samsung so much id really like to understand y except for there s-amoled screens there's nothin but stupid issues, never bein updated, all galaxy s line except for the fascinate are missin a camera flash, touch wiz sucks imo, etc...i have messed around with just about every phone out there and all major networks, that bein said im diggin my mt4g and tmobile best of anything out there...now I'm officially out of this thread, too many people believed what they read and not what they see and do themselves
Calvin Gerald Jr. T-mobile is a joke. Who cares about speeds on phones its all about hardware and quality. Plus the carrier makes a phones an beast. Sorry to say ppl Sprint is the most balanced us carrier out there! 2nd is coverage, first with so called 4g, unlimited data not tiered data like at&t and Verizon. And decent plans. Unlimited everything for $100
Norleena Davies iphone is for grandmas is so outdated. lol
Norleena Davies Another iphone changer people are getting wiser.
Brad Nielsen I love you all <3 except the iphone users of course, for obvious reasons.
Calvin Gerald Jr. Ppl evo after nine months still king the inspire and thunderbolt would not be here if it wasn't for the evo and incredible. But evo started this and will finish march 21st ppl announcement evo 2/evo 3d will destroy everything. Fuck the I gay 4
Roberto Williams ATRIX EATS THIS PHONE LIKE A MIDNIGHT SNACK LMAO




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