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HTC ThunderBolt vs Apple iPhone 4

Posted: , by FAUguy



HTC ThunderBolt vs Apple iPhone 4
As we mentioned in our full review of the HTC ThunderBolt, we were not pleased by its call quality. The first unit we received had a buzzing sound in the earpiece whenever someone would talk. The replacement did sound better, but we could still hear it a bit. But regardless, both ThunderBolts had a slight “hiss” in the background. By contrast, the call quality on the iPhone 4 is much better; there is no “buzzing” when someone talks and it doesn’t have the background “hiss”. Signal reception on both phones is good, but we have noticed that occasionally the ThunderBolt will lose its 4G signal and drop down to 3G or 1x for what appears to be no reason at all, then go back to 4G. We’ve read in other on-line forums that other people have also been experiencing this issue, yet it is unclear at this time if it is a problem with the ThunderBolt or some type of network issue.

Battery life should not be overlooked, at it is key to having a device that is usable. The ThunderBolt was able to provide us with 7 hours of talk time on a full charge, but under normal mixed usage, which includes some talk time, web browsing, social networking, and using other applications, we could only get about 6 hours total before the battery died and required charging. So it appears to us that the combination of the 4G data, large display, and 1GHz processor will eat through battery life. The iPhone 4 was able to get 7.5 hours of talk time, but under mixed-usage, it still had 50% of battery after using the device most of the day, and we didn’t have to charge it until the following evening after another day’s use.


So here comes the tough part…is there a clear winner between these two smartphones? If you go by specs alone, the winner would be the HTC ThunderBolt, due to its larger display, higher resolution camera, and 4G data connectivity. We agree that there is a lot to like about the ThunderBolt, but its downfall is the not-so-hot battery life, occasional 4G dropping, and lower than expected call quality. On the other hand, the iPhone 4 seems to be better made, call quality is very good, and battery life is better, but at the cost of using a smaller screen and 3G data. So with all things being considered, we’d suggest the iPhone 4 if you are in a 3G area and use the phone a lot to talk on, but if you are in a 4G area and want the faster data speeds, then the ThunderBolt is the only way to go – or wait for more 4G smartphones to come out.

Software versions of the reviewed units:

HTC ThunderBolt: Android 2.2.1, Build 1.12.605.6, Kernel Sat Feb 19 2011

iPhone 4: Version 4.2.6 (8E200), Firmware 1.0.005

HTC ThunderBolt vs Apple iPhone 4 Video Comparison:


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posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:01 5

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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 20:41 2

23. Kjayhawk (Posts: 294; 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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:06 8

2. boggie (unregistered)

as usual, another biased interview from a one of the sheep. Iphone is dead dead dead!

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 20:57 3

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...

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:06 10

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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 20:59 3

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

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 11:48 1

31. bucky (Posts: 3133; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

i use it all the time actually.

posted on 31 May 2011, 00:16

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

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:08 8

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!!!

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 05:04 3

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

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:18 8

5. Kakarotto (Posts: 254; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)

Again that idiotic comparison to iphone...

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:35 6

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!

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 10:00 5

10. bucky (Posts: 3133; 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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 11:31 5

14. LionStone (Posts: 844; 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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 14:03 2

16. bucky (Posts: 3133; 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.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 01:42 2

28. LionStone (Posts: 844; 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.

posted on 31 Mar 2011, 11:47 1

30. bucky (Posts: 3133; 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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 08:54 7

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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 09:35 5

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 ,,,,

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 10:42 9

12. kaleb (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

Go back to your apple forums.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 09:58 7

9. bucky (Posts: 3133; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

I wonder when they will release a phone that actually stands up to the iphone 4

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 10:16 5

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....

posted on 11 Apr 2011, 12:37 1

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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 10:52 12

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!!!

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 11:46 5

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.....

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 15:31 5

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

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 14:11 3

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...

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 16:02 4

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.

posted on 30 Mar 2011, 16:29 4

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


posted on 11 Apr 2011, 12:40 1

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.

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