Camera and Multimedia:

The HTC ThunderBolt comes equipped with a 1.3MP camera on the front and 8MP autofocus camera with dual LED Flash on the back, while the iPhone 4 has a 0.3MP VGA camera on the front and a 5MP autofocus camera with a single LED flash on the back. The camera program’s features are different on each, as the iPhone 4 just allows you to turn the Flash on and off, as well as using the HDR (high dynamic range) option, while the ThunderBolt allows you to change the resolution, white balance, ISO, self timer, and also has some cool camera effects to change the look of the image.

Taking an image with both devices is pretty straight forward, as you tap on the screen where you want it to focus on, and then tap the camera icon on the right side to capture the image. Focusing on both is done in under a second, as well as capturing the image.

Pictures that we took outside with the ThunderBolt have pretty good fine detail and the color is accurate most of the time, though we did notice that sometimes the color was a bit over-saturated, and bright areas (such as the sky) tend to be completely washed out (white). The iPhone 4’s images were softer and not as sharp, but bright areas (such as the sky) look blue and not washed out. For inside pictures, the iPhone 4 was better, as images were brighter and not as grainy, and even the single flash seemed to provide a better looking image than the dual-flash on the ThunderBolt.

Both devices can record videos at 1280x720 resolution, but the ThunderBolt uses the .3gp format and records at 28 fps, while the iPhone 4 uses the .mov format and records at 30 fps. When viewing both videos on the PC, the one from the ThunderBolt has better color and maintains good exposure throughout, but does look a bit jerky at times, while the video shot with the iPhone 4 has dull color and the exposure keeps changing as you move the camera around, though it plays a tad bit smoother.

HTC ThunderBolt Sample Video:

Apple iPhone 4 Sample Video:

Based on the pictures and videos that we captured with both devices, we believe the ThunderBolt has a slight edge, due to the fact that most of the outside images look better, as does the video, but the iPhone 4’s pictures don’t suffer from the bright area wash-out, so keep that in mind.

One thing that should be noted is that the iPhone 4 does offer FaceTime video chat with the use of its front camera, while the ThunderBolt currently doesn’t have Skype video chat, though this is expected to be available at some point. You can still use the front camera on both phones to take self portraits.

Playing back your own videos on both devices is pretty easy to do, but viewing them on the Thunderbolt’s large 4.3” display is a more appealing. Add to that the built-in kickstand on the back, and you’re ready to go.

For the music lover, both devices are pretty equal here, as they offer a good interface, and the ThunderBolt even has cover-flow when you view it in landscape mode. Music quality played through the speaker on the iPhone 4 is good, but can get a bit “tinny” at high volumes. The ThunderBolt actually sounds better here, but you need to flip open the rear kickstand, as that will tend to muffle the sound some. Of course purists can use wired earbuds or a Bluetooth headset for even higher quality sound.


The iPhone 4 is still king with access to the largest selection of programs available for download from the App Store, but the Android Market is catching up nicely, and most apps there are free.

One of these is Google Maps, which provides you with GPS guided directions on your phone. The difference is that with it installed on the ThunderBolt, you get turn-by-turn directions with a satellite view and voice prompts, but on the iPhone 4 it doesn’t go to the next turn automatically (you have to press the next arrow on the screen) and there are no voice prompts. But what can you expect, as Google makes the Android OS, so it comes to reason that they would have Google Maps favor their own OS.

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