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.

HTC ThunderBolt 360-degrees View:

Apple iPhone 4 360-degrees View:



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: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 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: Jan 06, 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: Jan 06, 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

31. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

i use it all the time actually.

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: Mar 24, 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: 255; Member since: Dec 07, 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: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 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: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 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: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 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: 1048; Member since: Dec 10, 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: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 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" 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: Feb 15, 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 ,,,,

12. kaleb

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

Go back to your apple forums.

9. bucky

Posts: 3797; Member since: Sep 30, 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: Apr 11, 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.


Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 15, 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: Mar 31, 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


Posts: 17; Member since: Aug 15, 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: Dec 16, 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

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 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.

20. Kjayhawk

Posts: 294; Member since: Oct 07, 2010


38. imlaxin01

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 11, 2011

Mine works perfectly fine....maybe you should get smarter friends. The reason they had issues was because of user error.

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