HTC ThunderBolt vs Apple iPhone 4
Two of the newest smartphones to hit Verizon Wireless this year are the HTC ThunderBolt and Apple iPhone 4. Both have a lot to offer customers, as the ThunderBolt is the first 4G LTE smartphone for the carrier, which also takes advantage of Android's highly-customizable nature, while the iPhone 4 features a world of quality apps and a deeply polished software experience. We’ve used both devices for quite a while now, so we'd like to show you how they stack-up next to each other in some key areas. So, let’s get it on!
In terms of their overall design and appearance, the HTC ThunderBolt and Apple iPhone 4 are literally comparing apples to oranges. The ThunderBolt looks like a “big boy’s phone” as its size is on the large side, as is its weight at 6.23 oz. Even though it is constructed out of plastic, it feels solid and firm overall. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 is more compact, easier to hold, and doesn’t feel quite as heavy. It also has a more high-end look and feel to it, with the solid-piece glass on the front and back, and the metal trim around the sides. But the one thing that we do like about the ThunderBolt is the use of the soft-touch coating on the back, as it doesn’t show fingerprints like the glass back of the iPhone 4 – as this is a trade off. Between the two, the iPhone 4 does look and feel better overall, but the ThunderBolt is still made well, as long as it’s not too big for your hands.
The main reason the ThunderBolt is on the beefier side is due to the large 4.3” 480x800 pixel resolution touchscreen display, while the iPhone 4 is using a smaller 3.5” display, but it’s pixel density is much higher due to its 640x960 pixel resolution. We love both…really. The larger screen on the ThunderBolt is quite good, images and text look sharp and videos also look great. When we viewed the same content on the iPhone 4, it did look a bit clearer (due to the higher pixel count) and colors did look more natural, but you are limited to a much smaller screen. One thing that we did notice when using the phones outside on a sunny day was that the screen on the ThunderBolt looks almost blacked-out (even though we turned the backlight brightness all the way up), while the screen on the iPhone 4 is somewhat viewable.
As you probably already know, the iPhone 4 just has the one solitary physical button on the front that takes you back to the home screen, while the ThunderBolt has 4 touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom for home, menu, back, and search. These do come in handy, as you could be in your email’s inbox and just click the search button and type in a search for it to perform. However, the side buttons on the ThunderBolt could have been designed better, since the power/lock button is rather small and flush with the surrounding plastic, and the volume rocker is one piece and you’re not sure where to press. By comparison, the iPhone 4 has separate volume buttons that have nice feel and “click” to them when pressed, as does the top power/lock button. Both devices come with a standard 3.5mm headset jack on the top, but for charging and PC connectivity, the iPhone 4 uses Apple’s proprietary 30-pin plug, while ThunderBolt uses the more common microUSB connection, which is a plus.
1. lookingforunbiasedsites (unregistered)
as always, the FAVORITE (i)phone is compared to anything else great-as if its the defending champion looking for challengers that will be deemed losers.
23. Kjayhawk (Posts: 293; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)
Why are people making such a big deal about this. Phonearena prefers the iPhone a lot! because its a personal choice. Techno buffalo, cnet and Wirefly have done the samething, but obviously the HTC Thunderbolt was on top. If you are really keeping score. Then its 3-1.
2. boggie (unregistered)
as usual, another biased interview from a one of the sheep. Iphone is dead dead dead!
24. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
oh ya i guess those iphone 4s u see everywhere and the iphone 5 news was just made up...
3. boit (unregistered)
Written biased to Apple... You didn't mention that you can surf and call at the same time on the Thunderbolt, that even the 3G speed is superior to the iPhone, and that the build quality is really superior, because the Thunderbolt is manufactured from tough aircraft aluminum. One other neat point is that anyone with a Thunderbolt and Tango can video chat with anyone with an iPhone and Tango. I have successfully used this combination even on a 3G signal, but it is of course better to use wifi.
The Thunderbolt is a MUCH better device than anything Apple has ever made, or ever will make. Let's stop the hype right now.
25. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
okay honestly who cares about searching and calling at the same time... att makes a big deal out of it but nobody uses it... also u have to have 4g. and also just saying but i think it is unfair to compare such an old product to a new one... of course it is better... but alas everyone loves the iphone and obviously it sells amazing... no phone has ever or will ever do better
41. Jman16 (unregistered)
iphone 4 isn't that old and i believe after this article and others i will get the thunderbolt i want the larger screen and other superior performance over the more popular iphone
4. hot stuff (unregistered)
this author probably makes love to his iphone in his ibed!! the iphone does not even touch this awesome revolutionary droid phone! please!!!
29. rocker-guy (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)
theres nothing revolutionary in this droid... iphone4 is still better.. either its built quality or the resolution or the OS stability... iphone rocks all the way
5. Kakarotto (Posts: 250; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
Again that idiotic comparison to iphone...
6. 3MTA3 (unregistered)
The battery on my TBolt is just fine and the sheep here at my office keep their crapple phones plugged in to a charger all day becuase if they don't they have no charge by days end. The TBolt has everything the sheep phone has and MORE - the only area the icrap phone wins is, yet again, thinner. That is all apple has over the competitors - slim devices - that doesn't cut it for me and other companies are doing the same now with their devices but are keeping updated technology so look out apple - you are going down! This review is just plain stupid and biased!
10. bucky (Posts: 2429; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
you are definitely talkin shmack. There is NO way that your phone will last longer. I have had the desire, desire z, hd2 and desire HD. The hd2 and the HD NEVER stood a chance to make it through a full day with 3g on and regular use-not even close.
My desire z wont even last the whole day.
14. LionStone (Posts: 707; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)
Yea Bucky, and you're not talking schmack either? 3MTA3 never said his battery will last longer!? BTW, battery life is dependent on individual use; I asked my friend how long his ip4 lasts if he starts the day at full..."well, uh yea I have to charge it by the afternoon." So who really cares? You use your phone more, you use the battery more, wow, what a concept!
Too funny this comparison, I think they did it just to get a laugh...I mean basically it says, if you want a slower phone and smaller screen, then you know which one to get. I have big hands so i have no problem with the size of the phone or knowing how to use the volume control or power button lol! I appreciate a bigger screen to view any content on the screen better and I certainly appreciate the 4g speeds. Soon in the next year or so I'm sure you will see a bigger screen and 4g for the ip, then a comparison should be made.
16. bucky (Posts: 2429; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
one thing you (and many others) dont understand is that hardware isnt everything! Android is a very powerfull platform but the hardware required to run it hasnt caught up enough to compete with IOS with regards to fluidity and speed(for the most part).
Android will simply always eat more battery, probably because it does have "real" multitasking and widgets. To say your battery, coupled with that screen is better is simply uneducated.
28. LionStone (Posts: 707; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)
Well since you are misstating what other people write, I'd say you are making uneducated remarks. I never said my battery and screen is better than anything. I mentioned I liked a bigger screen to view content better and I like the 4g speed.
You can love on the IOS all you want if that's what works for you...for me, the T-Bolt has plenty of fluidity and speed.
30. bucky (Posts: 2429; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
"The battery on my TBolt is just fine and the sheep here at my office keep their crapple phones plugged in to a charger all day becuase if they don't they have no charge by days end"
...read that line carefully and tell me what its implying...
The last line of your statement is best thing you have said.
7. cmatt666 (unregistered)
I have both devices and I prefer the Thunderbolt over the iPhone 4 by a large margin. No battery issues with my Thunderbolt.
8. loolcom (Posts: 13; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)
Do u guys really think that the thunderbolt is the best android out there ,,,, come on it is already an outdated average android phone ,,,,
9. bucky (Posts: 2429; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
I wonder when they will release a phone that actually stands up to the iphone 4
11. Monique27 (unregistered)
the iPhone 5, LOL....yeah, I played with the thunderbolt at the vzw store, wasn't impressed. the screen is nice but looks very pixelated compared to the iPhone 4. the size of the thunderbolt is also a turnoff. seriously, why can't they release an LTE phone that isn't excessively large??? c'mon vzw, not everyone wants a phone that big. the iPhone is a nice sized phone, if it had a slightly bigger screen (same retina display) but kept the same size casing, then it would be great. add LTE to the equation with a revamped iOS, it will be perfect. maybe it will all happen in the next upgrade, but somehow I doubt it....
37. imlaxin01 (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Apr 2011)
So how much is apple paying you? Quit being biased you are not right about everything no matter how many stats you make up.
13. VZWFTW (Posts: 17; Member since: 15 Aug 2010)
I always get a kick out of the reviews of new phones that come out on PA. I mostly like reading the comments though. It's funny reading grown adults bicker about which phone is better. You'd think it was a religion with all the debates going on! Sometimes I wish we could all just get along and respect eachothers opinions on their choice of phone. When I buy my next phone it will be after much research and it will be chosen on the premise that it's the best phone at the time. Whether it be a Droid or an Iphone. VZWFTW!!!
15. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Wow, someone with the screen name that screams out 'I am a Verizon lackey' - VZWFTW.....
Iphone 4 is a decent phone that does what it needs to do - Apple is still a young company when it comes to making phones...dropped calls are a big issue with both networks with IPHONE 4.....LTE is still too new of tech for Verizon....2 years from Big V should have it down and then we will see how good those LTE phones will be......lol...VZWFTW...wow.....
18. VZWFTW (Posts: 17; Member since: 15 Aug 2010)
Although I'm unbiased on phone choice by make, I am very biased on my service choice. Until something better comes my way I will always be on Verizon. VZWFTW!!! lol
17. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
In all honesty, ya'll gotta chill out. You all know that you like to see comparisons to the iPhone because you all always talk about it in your comments. "(Android Phone) is waaaaayyyyy better than iPhone!!""take that Apple""How can you like a phone that can't make calls? Stupid iSheep" By actions, most of the Android fans prove they like to see their supposed superior Android phone compared to what they may call the "cappy iPhone". However, I know that since I'm speaking logic and something that makes perfect sense, I will thumbs down. But thankyou for reading this whole post. Perhaps reading this will sway others from such irrational and childish actions...
19. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
I know several droid users that are returning their thunderbolt due to battery issues, gps issues, network connection issues. First generation phones are usually buggy.
38. imlaxin01 (Posts: 4; Member since: 11 Apr 2011)
Mine works perfectly fine....maybe you should get smarter friends. The reason they had issues was because of user error.
21. kocho (unregistered)
My T-bolt's battery on 4G sucks... lasts only a few hours. But, it seems to be searching for a 4G signal sometimes, and I think that wastes battery, and should improve as the 4G network improves. I use 3G most of the time, and the speed for most activities using 3G is not much different than 4G. I can always turn on 4G when I want to stream a video, and I get NO lag whatsoever. Nice! Using 3G, I had 80% battery at the end of my work day today using push mail. Awesome! Even better than all of my colleagues at work who have iPhones.
42. jeck77 (Posts: 25; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)
C'mon now let's not exaggerate. I have both an iPhone 4 and a Thunderbolt (just going back and forth on which to keep), and my iPhone 4 has about 50% life at the end of my workday. My T-Bolt, on 3G only, had 50% at the end of my Saturday class, with less usage because I was in class the whole time from 9am to 1pm.
I understand you love your T-Bolt, it's a really awesome phone, but don't make things up to try to prove your point.
22. boit (unregistered)
Tacoid, that is the usual "progressive" implication that everyone who IS anyone is returning their Thunderbolts! C'mon man, can't you non- tech lemmings come up with anything new in your i-world? The iFone can't play flash, is sticky slow to download and play videos, crashes all the time... the list goes on and on. Thunderbolt is without comparison at the moment. I bought the extended battery, but put the old one back and it lasts all day after a few minor tweaks. Apple phones are for people who follow, not lead. Enjoy leading, Thunderbolters!
26. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
iPhone is just as fast as any other 3G phone out there if not faster. Hmm crashes?! You're smoking crack. Even iPhone haters will admit that it's very stable and easy to use. Battery life just as good? Clearly you're lying again. Why do you feel the need to prove your thunderbolt is better by lying? If you're so happy with your phone you'd be enjoying it instead of bashing other phones. You probably don't even live in a 4g area but brag to everyone how you have a 4g phone. Better specs don't always make a better product. It's how it all comes together too.
27. BDW2008 (Posts: 25; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
I am an iPhone 4 owner and I'm pretty impressed with the thunderbolt but I think cell phones come down to the owners preference like for instance I like my iPhone but some of friends have evos and I would have to say the lack of customization not to mention flash on the iPhone irritates me sometimes so much so that I will be switching carriers when the evo 3D comes out for two reasons android truly offers an experience that I'm looking for and the price of the plans AT&T is way to expensive but all in all both devices are incredible it just comes down to if you want AT&T service more than likely you'll he getting an iPhone 4 if you want verizon you'll more than likely be getting the thunderbolt but if a didn't have a phone and had no knowledge of the upcoming evo 3d I would go with the thunderbolt simply because of androids superior customization and flash over iOS
32. Android#1intheworld (unregistered)
I find it funny how people love to say that nothing can compare to an iphone.
It took android about 18 months to take down Nokia (who was #1 for about 12 years) as the #1 selling phone world wide.
Apple sells about half the product Android does. Im sure all the fanboys out there will say "but thats because there are more Droids out there". WRONG! Have you ever thought that it was because the Android operating system was better??? Oh no that couldn't be, because Apple and the iPhone are god.
Please get out of your delusional world and comeback to reality. I have had every single iphone and plenty of Droids. The iphone4 doesn't even come close to the Tbolt.
33. prospect buyer (unregistered)
thanks guys!, for all the comments and chatter. Wow. Just reading both sides going back and forth has really helped me gain insight. I'm not a hardcore fan of either, but i WILL be taking many things into account especially when i'm plopping down hundreds of my hard-earned cash to buy one of these. To both the iPhanboys and HardTimeCore fans , thanks again to you both.
I learned alot. :)
34. PeteManc (unregistered)
To all of you iphone/android bed-wetters.
I use many phones. Currently, I'm back to my old Nokia E52, because it will stand up to over a weeks use before I have to charge it, and although the screen is tiny typing is a bitch, Opera mobile sorts me out, I have GPS with google maps, and the calling and texting (to which my phone is used 95% of the time) is fine.
The iPhone software is the easiest and most intuitive to date. I don't wanna hear any bitching, it just is. This is sole reason they have done so well, because it just works. It's why the iPod was so successful too.
The HTC is a much more powerful, customisable tool. The hardware is better, and for those who have the technical ability to take advantage of what it can do, It is great.
Everyone is different, deal with it, get your fingers out of everyone else's pie and let them get the phone thats right for them.
Personally I like the physical size and screen res of the iPhone, but for everything else I'd go android. First they both need to sort the battery life out to last at least 3 solid days though.
35. FloodCityGirl (unregistered)
My new every 2 contract was up the end of March, and I had it in my head I was going to get the iPhone4. Then, I kept hearing about the new Thunderbolt. Then I was going crazy trying to decide between the two. My friend at work got the iPhone4 as soon as Verizon came out with it. After much thought, I went with the Thunderbolt. I think they are both quality phones, but I don't regret my choice. When i'm on the phone I do sometimes surf the web, so I'm very happy with that feature. Also, I like being able to replace a battery if I need to rather than having to send it back to an Apple store. My friend who got the iPhone really likes it, but after messing around with my phone she said "I wish I would have waited a while longer to get that one". So overall, I'm happy with my Thunderbolt and so far, I've had no battery issues.
36. Keglynx (unregistered)
Can everyone stop over hyping the iphone. I have both devices and the iphone4 is a glorified mp3 player and thats it. Whether its on vzw or att it still drops calls, freezes, and randomly deletes information. Thunderbolt is a really good device. It has its issues but the only one that bothered me was the dropping of 4G coverage randomly which there is an option on the phone to fix that. The battery life is solved by certain apps and changing your battery settings. The "hissing" that they are talking about is non existent on my or any of my colleagues devices.
43. jeck77 (Posts: 25; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)
Drops calls, freezes, or randomly deletes info? I have both also, and I don't have any of those issues with my iPhone 4. Interesting you do. Do you really own one?
39. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Am I the only one not seeing the supposed bias here?
40. ItalianBuoy (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 May 2011)
I just bought the HCT TBolt. I had a Blackberry Pearl before. I am impressed by the features, but I think the phone is difficult to learn. The 338 page manual you can get online bears this out, IMO.
Also, I am disappointed in that it doesn't seem possible to take an attachment from an email (like your resume) and store it in a folder. Isn't this what having a smartphone is all about? The multimedia stuff is great, but I need it for business. Perhaps there is an app which allows this.
I am still learning the phone, but I can't figure out how to do this. The phone is a little large to carry in your pocket and a little on the heavy side.
I am debating whether to take it back and get something else, like the iP. I haven't really used one of them either. Any suggestions? I am with Verizon after switching from ATT.
44. craig7768 (unregistered)
I found the review to be helpful and encouraging since I am a proud owner of the HTC Thunderbolt. I have friends with iPhone 4s , and they aren't so pleased either.
One thing that all my iPhone friends say is they had to replace their glass screen.
Second, they saw my Thunderbolt, and loved it. The color on screen and the speed it downloaded stuff.
45. matt2234 (unregistered)
oh calm down you phandroids the iphone 4 is not a glorified mp3 player. and second the instability of android 2.2 makes this clumsy outdated device a paper weight.
46. quityo'bitchinyoudamnkeyboardw (unregistered)
Eh, I'm just about to get my iPhone after sticking with android devices (HTC Hero, HTC Wildfire then most recently HTC Desire until now - if you don't know what the hell these devices are then its because they're EU models - but I live in the US now. Android is great, and that's just a fact - so any iBoys need to swallow their pride. Its customisable, versatile and works just fine - and in many of the more recent Android devices it does beat the iPhone. So why am I getting the iPhone? Well, like it or not, Android devices aren't cheap, not new anyway. Just let that sink in. Most of them (on a 2 year contract with Verizon or AT&T) sit around the $200 mark. Now don't get me wrong, I love the Android devices I had, but I had so many problems with them. That wasn't a bad thing at the time - fixing problems was fun... Android is open source so you can pretty much debug anything in the system even overclock your phone if it lacks in speed for you. But the iPhone is not a glorified mp3 player. Like it or not, it was and is a game changer, and does it job nicely. Sure, you can only get the models by Apple: you don't have a choice of companies, but Apple make sure it works fine on the hardware and like most Apple devices is optimised to work on that Hardware... something that Android is hardly ever done because of the larger variety of phones, thus hardware and speed varying between each phone model. Both are great, but I want a phone that does its job, allows me to have a piece of mind. Besides, with a new iPhone just around the corner, I haggled down a brand new iPhone 4 to $99.99 (with a 2 year contract) at my local AT&T dealer/carrier shop - whatever it's called.
47. bob (unregistered)
Why do people attack each other over the choice of a cell phone? Personally I prefer the Android phones but i can see why people prefer the ios its a matter of personal opinion are there things that Android has that people on ios wish they had yes (widgets, more customization) are there thing that ios has that people on Android wish they had yes (itunes, larger app marketplace) both these phones are great its just a matter of which one you prefer so everyone stop the bickering, there will always be people claiming Lamborghini is better than Ferrari and vice-verso but in the end you cant go wrong with either
48. apple iPhones and other cell p (unregistered)
Thanks for the nice effort you took to expand upon this post so thoroughly. I look forward to future posts.
49. Marina (unregistered)
You have really interesting blog, keep up posting such informative posts!
50. mizgwen (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 May 2012)
In my opinion the Thunderbolt has some great features...I absolutely loved the phone when I first purchased it a year ago...however the phone sucks...it doesn't hold a charge and I have an extended battery which makes the phone heavier...I had to have the phone and battery replaced...twice...I'm getting the Iphone...Thunderbolt my foot...features are nice but the device is a pain in the tush