REVIEW: HTC Thunderbolt, Not Just Another HTC Device

April 3, 2011 - Written By Mike Corbett

HTC Thunderbolt Arrives

When this came to my doorstep, I was a bit confused, I open it up and really wondered why they made a slightly modified HTC EVO 4G. I also thought, hey I already have this. That week I was also reviewing an HTC Inspire. I quickly came to find out that the HTC Thunderbolt was a different kind of animal in similar skin!

The Looks

Honestly, it looks like an HTC EVO. It has a kickstand, a similar look and feel and just an overall similarity! If you have been hoping that the EVO would come to Verizon, in a way, it just did! The phone is nice and I have grown to like it over time, the curved design is nice and makes it easy to hold (I however prefer my square DROIDs).

The Hardware

This is probably one of the last big HTC devices that will have a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (MSM8655). I am hoping that their next, which could be the HTC EVO 3D, will be dual core. The memory is beefed up in this device there is 768 MB of RAM. There is also 8 GB of onboard storage and it comes with a 32 gigabyte SD card that trumps my DROID 1’s 16 gig. I hope that ends up being standard from here on out!

The Screen

The screen is BIG, a large 4.3 inch WVGA TFT capacitive touchscreen, that is one of the biggest and a really good size for video. I was unable to test Netflix as it is not out yet, but it seems like it is awfully close. I did play Kongregate on here and that was great, a bunch of Flash games just as Adobe Flash 10.2 came out. The games were big and very fun!

The  Battery

This is the disappointing area, I do not have 4G in my area yet, we are scheduled to get it soon. In fact if you go 20 or so miles to the south, you get great 4G, however, where I am, no! Since there was no 4G readily available the device was on 4G search mode and just kept looking, which just killed my battery!

If you are wondering, there is a way to turn this off and we did a writeup on it just a few days ago.  I was unable to test this, as I didn’t want to risk any damage to our review unit. Mind you, this is at your own risk. I haven’t heard any negative comments about doing this, but do be careful!

The Operating System/Software

You get Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) and an updated version of HTC Sense. It still seems to be the same old version of Sense. And it is of course the same version of Android 2.2 with Sense in it. Not much else to say, HTC Sense is still HTC Sense. I hope 3.0 gives us something to shout about.

The Keyboard

I had to switch to ultra keyboard as I am not a fan of the Sense UI keyboard, it just does not feel natural to me. I would probably choose any keyboard over this one, however, I believe our Editor Chris does enjoy this keyboard. It is really preference, I prefer something different. It is a stock keyboard and it does do what you would expect, it is easy to type on.

One of my biggest problems with it is spacing, when you type a word it does not acknowledge it and then creates a space for the next word. You have to press the spacebar on your own and then type the next word. This spacing problem I have is something I have come accustomed to.

The Browsing,  Camera and Video

The browser was good, I have had issues with other HTC browsers on other networks but on Verizon I had a good browsing experience. When it comes to speed, it varies by network. When it comes to browsing, if you use one HTC device, you have used them all. The browser is the same on the lot of them. It is easy to navigate and makes browsing simple.

The Call Quality

I had good if not great calls and texting all throughout my use. I can never complain about Verizon in my area, it is crystal clear, but I was a little irritated that the oversized speaker wasn’t as loud as I prefer. It was usable and I could hear, I just like to be able to turn it up if I want to.

HTC Thunderbolt: Summary


  • A Great Camera, 8 MP, which records 720p
  • Calls were good
  • The kick stand is awesome
  • Video was clear and easy to use with the big screen


  • 4G isn’t everywhere
  • The battery is an issue
  • No camera button
  • Rear speaker was QUIET despite its size

Conclusions & Final Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by this device, maybe it was because I forgot how much I liked the EVO? Or maybe it was because I haven’t seen a great HTC device on Verizon in a while. I believe my review on the DROID Incredible was my last great one from Verizon.

Either way, this device is definitely great for those looking to upgrade as well as those looking for a whole new phone experience. This isn’t the most unique phone, but it is a great one, the speed and network are both great. I recommend this one.