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HTC ThunderBolt Review

HTC ThunderBolt 8.5

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The HTC ThunderBolt uses the latest version of the HTC Sense user interface, which is seamlessly layered over Android 2.2.1 Froyo. If you’ve never used it before, HTC Sense can take a bit of getting used to, but it is no more challenging than using stock Android. In fact, it’s easier. For example, you can personalize the 7 homescreens and add icons without a long-press of the homescreen. Instead, just tap the paintbrush palette symbol on the bottom right of the homescreen - very intuitive. Also included are plenty of pre-loaded HTC widgets which are very functional and further improve usability. For added customization, you can choose from 6 different scenes (Verizon, HTC, Social, Work, Play, and Travel) as each one has its own distinctive layout. If that were not enough, there are also 5 skins (HTC, Black Board, Metal, Slate, and Wood) that can alter the appearance of each scene. So for example, you could actually combine the Work scene with any of the skins. This allows for 30 different looks all together. Naturally, you can go even further by selecting different wallpapers.

HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Sense UI running on the ThunderBolt allows for great personalization options - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Sense UI running on the ThunderBolt allows for great personalization options - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Sense UI running on the ThunderBolt allows for great personalization options - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Sense UI running on the ThunderBolt allows for great personalization options - HTC ThunderBolt Review

The Sense UI running on the ThunderBolt allows for great personalization options

The Sense UI perfectly adheres to the needs of social networking happy individuals with its Friend Stream app, and it’s accompanying desktop widget, that aggregates content from your Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition to reading the latest messages from friends, you can even post your own tweet or Facebook status message simultaneously without the need of running two separate dedicated apps. Moreover, it even allows you to shoot a photo and upload it directly to your social networking accounts. Though it is still nice to have the stand-alone Facebook app installed, as that does allow for some extra features like direct chatting with on-line Facebook friends.

HTC ThunderBolt Review
Friend Stream - HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
Facebook - HTC ThunderBolt Review

Friend Stream



And if you love taking photos and wish to record pertinent information regarding them, you should try out the location based HTC Footprints app. Basically, it will tie in GPS coordinates to photos you've taken and categorize them based on your preference – such as shopping, dining, leisure, and others. For the constant travelers out there, it proves its value in keeping you connected with your cherished memories of places you've visited.

Unfortunately at this time, the ThunderBolt is not supported by the HTCSense.com web site, so you can’t use its features, but you can download the HTC Sync program, that can be used to sync the phone with your PC’s contacts, images, and music files via USB connection.

Even though dual-core processors are already here, the included 1GHz single-core Snapdragon processor (Qualcomm MSM8655) and 768MB of RAM on the ThunderBolt allow the software to reach its full potential, as opening programs is fast, with almost no delay. Moving between the 7 homescreens is also as fluid as can be.


Clicking on the “People” icon on the desktop or in the app drawer will bring up a list of all your contacts shown alphabetically and with their picture on the left side. This is populated by your Google, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts, as well as being able to tie-in with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync accounts. Furthermore, you can import and export contacts to the SIM card. When you click on a contact, it will then open up a new screen and show all their information, as well as 6 icons on the bottom for viewing their details, messages, email, updates & events, gallery, and call history. This is all very useful, and we love the way that HTC Sense brings all this information together, yet makes it easy to use.

The phonebook of the HTC ThunderBolt - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The phonebook of the HTC ThunderBolt - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The phonebook of the HTC ThunderBolt - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The phonebook of the HTC ThunderBolt - HTC ThunderBolt Review

The phonebook of the HTC ThunderBolt

Organizer and Messaging:

The calendar works very well, as it pulls information from all your accounts (Google, Facebook, Exchange, PC Sync) and aggregates them to the phone. This way, when you go to the calendar app (or desktop widget), all your events are shown in a day, week, or monthly view. You can also click on them to add reminders and alert tones.

The Calendar - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Calendar - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Calendar - HTC ThunderBolt Review
The Calendar - HTC ThunderBolt Review

The Calendar

We still have a fondness for using a physical keyboard when tying a message, but the QWERTY keyboard on the ThunderBolt’s large 4.3” display is the next best thing. You can automatically setup your email for AOL, GMail, Microsoft Exchange, Verizon.net, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo, as well as manually entering in your own POP3 and IMAP accounts. Once they are all set up, you can view your emails by account, or in a combined view that designates each account’s email with a different color bar on the left side. Naturally, you can also send and receive text and picture messages, as well as using the Mobile IM program to connect with Windows Live, Yahoo and AIM buddy lists. Google Talk continues to use it own separate app.

HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review
The QWERTY keyboard of the HTC ThunderBolt is 'the next best thing' - HTC ThunderBolt Review
HTC ThunderBolt Review

The QWERTY keyboard of the HTC ThunderBolt is 'the next best thing'


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posted on 19 Mar 2011, 08:55 3

1. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 425; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)

Mine also has a little static/buzz when the earpiece is turned all the way up... however i will say, that when turned all the way up, the volume is just way too loud. Its almost speakerphoneish. I have mine turned down to the half way mark. Not bc the quality, just bc the volume level.

as for my battery, i just got rid of my Incredible for this phone, and i think this battery is actually holding up better than my incredibles was.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 09:01 1

2. dirtydirty00 (Posts: 425; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)




posted on 19 Mar 2011, 10:57

3. Griffin2003 (unregistered)

the review states that the Thunderbolt is much faster than the Droid X loading web pages, yet you have a video on the site showing a real time comparison where the conclusion was that they were about the same speed. Can you explain this?

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 12:16 4

5. AstroStrat89 (unregistered)

I think they stated that all the flash content was turned off on the X.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 11:39

4. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 470; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)

Exactly, the Droid x killed the thunderbolt. Stop trying to make this phone better than it is.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 12:52 5

7. Rejeimha (Posts: 18; Member since: 29 Jul 2010)

Go back and read the update on the comparison test. They admitted that the DX was rooted in order to remove the flash ads from the browser, and the Thunderbolt was keeping up with it out of the box even though it wasn't rooted.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 13:39 1

18. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

i said on that comparison test and ill say it again. give it up tre-nitty.... your overwhelming bias is very apparent. its clear that anything you say regarding verizon should just be over looked. you have made up your mind already before the facts are out. thank you PA for letting the truth be known. i had previously said PA is the fox news of phones by how they tried to slam the thunderbolt and verizon with their faulty speed test comparioson and although i wont take back my comment i will commend you for letting us know the actual speed comparison in this review.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 12:51 3

6. AstroStrat89 (unregistered)

my cons so far... (upgraded from Eris)

It's just silly I can't charge and use the kick-stand
Screen is washed out in sunlight, Eris wasn't great either
Seem to be some very minor network "glitches" where the conx needs to reset or something. (update fix?)
cost, If I hadn't had a $100 NE2, i would have never gotten one.
Some pre-installed apps are annoying.
Would like a camera button.

Things I like
Screen otherwise is very nice to look at.
Eye popping 4g speeds
Very snappy even when running lots-o-apps
Sense upgrades are nice and useful.
LED under ear piece grid makes nice pattern on the ceiling in the dark :-)
Kickstand more useful then I thought
I think the camera is better then most give credit, the flash worked well for me.
I like the weight my self, feels nice in the hand
Free hotspot til May 15th! Sweet.

Things people need to relax about.
Battery life, give it time and I'll bet battery life will get better. The Eris was bas at 1st too. Also it seems to be the screen that's eating the battery. Not the 4g, but what do I know?
not dual core, I know two is better, but how much more battery will that take, and are you running a web server or something? Geeze.
No HDMI, really? Realllyyy? use the stream Luke.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 13:12 6

8. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I played around with it. The speeds are impressive.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 14:38 2

9. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

coming from you dude thats a complement

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 15:02 6

10. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I'm not the troll. You sniggly and the rest of the Apple bashers are the trolls. I have no problems with android phones. I'm happy with my iPhone and at the same time realize other companies make good phones. I don't need to bash everyone that doesn't want the same phone as me.

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 15:07 1

11. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

that was a nice comment

posted on 19 Mar 2011, 18:54 1

12. Kjayhawk (Posts: 294; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)

I agree, I hate when people bash the iPhone just because its an iPhone. I get even more pissed off though when Apple fanboys get in an argument that makes no sense and act like they know what they are talking about, same goes for android fan boys. I don't pay attention to who is who, but overall I agree with your argument, things just get plain annoying

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 13:21

15. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)

I'll Give you thumbs for saying you aren't a troll, and I'll try not to strike you, but sometimes you do look like one.

bout calling me troll, I don't think I go brainlessly bashing against apple, But i can be proven wrong. I have to say they(Apple) produce pretty darn good stuff, I just hate when people brag calling other peoples tech trash or useless crap and start doing the 1 vs 100 comparison among other I say the apple VS android is a win loose comparison with anyone you win something and loose something.

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 00:48 2

13. Nunez20v (Posts: 14; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)

I returned mine today. I was only getting about 3 hours of battery life and the phone was actually running hot in temperature. The google maps and any other "navigation" app were totally off and not accurate. Don't get me wrong; the phone has great DL speeds in the Dallas, TX area. I just can't deal with the battery life and having to charge it up to 3 times per day. Also, the phone said it came with 8GBs; after a couple of apps downloaded I was down to 2GB. Maybe the Bionic will hold it down.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 13:45 1

19. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

it sounds like you had a deffective phone buddy..... maybe you should of just exchanged since you still had 11 days to try it.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 22:27 1

24. Nunez20v (Posts: 14; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)

Maybe I did have a defected phone; just as well as 4 other people that same day @ Verizon (including the rep himself). But I guess that's why they offered the 14 day worry free return policy right? =)

posted on 14 Apr 2011, 14:31 1

37. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

yeah or maybe your lying.... i have the thundrbolt my sister has the thunderbolt my mom has the thunderbolt.... thinking about getting grandma the thunderbolt..... none with problems you speak of. and it looks like those problems cant be as widespread as you say or there would have been a recall by now. battery is nothing special but clearly 3 hours is not what should happen. i get about 20 hours of battery a day using it very frequent. lucky for me im not awake 20 hours a day. you suck troll!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 23:39 1

39. Nunez20v (Posts: 14; Member since: 17 Feb 2011)

I suck troll? WTF is this, kindergarden? I chose not to keep a phone because of its performance and the issues it provided. I just went back to my simple and very effective BlackBerry Curve. Obviously you've read continuous posting on the battery life. If they haven't had a recall for the device they probably will in a couple of months. Look at everyone trying to figure out how to turn this off and turn that off yet not being able to enjoy the full functionalities of the phone. What's the purpose of pocketing out $250 if I can't even enjoy it?

posted on 23 Mar 2011, 22:33 2

25. theo14461 (unregistered)

Returned mine also. Great display, good call quality, nice build and feel, horrific battery life. Would drain 20% in about an hour of "normal use"

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 17:47 1

27. theo14461 (unregistered)

I'd like to update my last comment. I must have had a defective TB, exchanged it for another, and battery life is MUCH better.

posted on 29 May 2011, 14:38

41. bugsbite (unregistered)

The phone is not defective we just got the phone yesterday and only getting 3-4 hours of battery time and it does run hot, I have no clue how tragichero is getting 20 hours ( maybe running 3G?). Do a Google search this is a known problem.

Will return promptly..............

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 09:34

14. griffin2003 (unregistered)

Regarding downloading apps, doesn't the phone have a 32GB SD card? Can't that be used for apps?

Battery Life -

If you remove the Sim card, does the phone work as a 3G phone? If it does, this would allow testing if the 4G or the display is the source of the battery drain?

In addition, when we had dual digital / analog phones, if you were in a weak area, the battery would drain faster as the phone searched with high power analog transmit to snag a tower. What happens with the 4G channel when you are not in a 4G area? Does the phone burn more battery trying to find towers that are not there? These might not be questions for the Thunderbolt alone, but for all the new 4G phones.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 13:49 2

20. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

the phone wont work on 4 or 3g if the sim is out so that test wont work. it needs the sim. yes it uses battery looking for 4g network while in 3 g but using the term burn or drain is an overstatement.... hardly anything at all. the phone shouldnt get only 3 hours and if it took up that much memory its clear nunez just bought a defective phone

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 23:31

16. etownone (Posts: 40; Member since: 25 Jul 2010)

Now i'm hearing rumors or the Droid Bionic being released mid April ...
and my upgrade is on march 31, and i was set on getting the TB.

Mostly every review complains about battery life ... and recommends to wait for the Bionic.

i was so ready to upgrade to the TB ... especially since Verizon might get rid of that unlimited data plan ... but now i'm thinking to take a chance and wait for the Bionic.
bigger battery, dual core CPU, HDMI, qHD screen, and the option of a laptop dock in the future.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 13:54 1

22. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

im waiting for the bionic too. its the best phone to be realeased at least in the first half of this year maybe the whole year

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 21:08

23. LionStone (Posts: 838; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)

Yea, it'll be interesting to do some comparison testing with the T-Bolt and Bionic. The TB is very quick, and like the article stated I also clocked about 18 seconds to download Angry Birds...under 30 seconds to download and install. Near SFO area, 11mbps down and 4 up.

The display is clean and sharp and Sense UI I think looks great and feels polished. It does have a good heft to it and I like that. I can definitely be happy with this phone for the next two years. Im coming from the Incredible so sound quality is much better. I don't notice the sound difference with the kickstand open or closed, it sounds great either way.

Hopin for some Netflix and Skype video/chat in the near future, will try Tango...still need to test dlna...Mine also says only 2 something gb available, so I need to go in to see about that one.

posted on 20 Mar 2011, 23:37

17. griffin2003 (unregistered)

According to the review in Phone Scoop, the battery drain is caused by using 4G and in an area without 4G, the battery life was much better. They promised numbers soon.

I also found a comment that I cannot find again that said you can dial a particular number (some sort of support number) and force the network preference to CDMA. This seems pretty drastic, but without control on the phone itself, it would all you to save the rest of the battery in desperate situations.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 13:53 1

21. tragichero (Posts: 163; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)

DO NOT DIAL *228 on the thunderbolt unless you want to DESTROY YOUR SIM CARD. if you dial that number your sim card will be obsolete and you will have to get a new one. sheesh

posted on 24 Mar 2011, 06:20

26. ANTHONY G (unregistered)

its a nice phn but its so call lte such.my phn switches from x1 3g.4g. internet fades out,calls are cuting in an out so on so on. call vz , oh its doing that? what a joke

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HTC ThunderBolt

HTC ThunderBolt

OS: Android 4.0 2.3 2.2
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S2, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.75 GB RAM
Size4.75 x 2.44 x 0.56 inches
(121 x 62 x 14 mm)
6.23 oz  (177 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 6.3 hours talk time

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