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.