LG Revolution vs HTC ThunderBolt

Introduction and Design

During our last Verizon 4G LTE smartphone comparison we looked at the Samsung Droid Charge vs the HTC ThunderBolt, but this time around we’re going to compare some of the similarities and differences between the HTC ThunderBolt and the recently released LG Revolution. Both have a lot to offer customers, include a fast 1GHz processor, large display, and of course 4G data speeds.


Both the LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt have a candy-bar form factor, are rather big and bulky to hold, and weigh in at 6.06 oz and 6.23 oz respectfully. They are constructed out of plastic and feel reasonably sturdy, though the Revolution is black in color with chrome accents on the left and right side, and the ThunderBolt has a two-tone charcoal gray color. We like that both devices use a soft-touch coating on the back, which helps to provide a nice grip when holding them. Be that as it may, neither phone is all that striking in its appearance.

Even though the LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt feature a 4.3” WVGA resolution TFT display on the front, the one on the Revolution is noticeably brighter, allowing it to be more viewable when used outside in the sun, and its colors are also more saturated, though it’s still not as intense as the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Samsung Droid Charge.

Both handset feature almost exactly the same stuff in terms of ports and sensors, including the 1.3MP front cam, light and proximity sensors, four capacitive keys, 3.5mm jacks and microUSB ports. The only notable difference here is that the LG Revolution also has an HDMI-out port.

LG Revolution 360-degrees View:

HTC ThunderBolt 360-degrees View:


Since the LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt run on Android 2.2 Froyo, they have the same underlying operating system and can do pretty much the same tasks – though their interface does look different.

LG uses their Optimus 2.0 user interface on the Revolution, which does allows for a few extra desktop widgets to be placed on the 7 home screens, as well as a categorized layout of the application menu that separates icons by communication, news & search, media, tools, applications, and downloads. Though, one thing that is missing is any type of themes for the desktop. This is one area where the ThunderBolt does well in, as it uses the HTC Sense user interface. Not only does it come with a larger selection of widgets than the Revolution, but also has 6 scenes and 5 different skins, all of which allow for much greater personalization on the desktop. We also prefer the standard (non-categorized) application menu on the ThunderBolt, as the icons are listed alphabetically and are easy to find. Both devices are equally fast when swiping between the 7 home screens and we didn’t notice any lag.

One thing that is worth pointing out is that the LG Revolution comes with Microsoft Bing integration, which uses their own search and map program. Thankfully, you can download the Google apps from the Android Market, though you can’t fully remove Bing from the phone.

Contacts and Messaging:

One area where both devices perform well in is with contact management and messaging. The LG Revolution will integrate all of your contacts from your Google, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, while the HTC ThunderBolt also adds contacts from AIM, Flickr, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger. Even though there are some visual differences between the LG Optimus 2.0 UI and HTC Sense UI layouts, they both allow you to view all your contacts together in one list, as well as edit them right from your phone.

The messaging app also looks a bit different between the LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt, but it still performs the same tasks. You can have it set up to work with any email account, including POP3, IMAP, AOL, GMail, Microsoft Exchange, Verizon.net, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. There is also a separate Mobile IM app for connecting you to your Windows Live, Yahoo! and AIM buddy lists.

As neither phone comes with a physical keyboard, you have to use the on-screen virtual QWERTY. Between the two, we found the one on the LG Revolution to be easier to use, as the keyboard is larger and has some space between the keys, so you’re less likely to press the wrong key by mistake. The Revolution also comes with the Swype keyboard option, which some people prefer to use.

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Internet and Connectivity:

Both the LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt have the ability to connect to Verizon’s 4G LTE data network.

When we originally reviewed the ThunderBolt, one issue that we kept experiencing is that the device would continually cycle through 4G, 3G and 1x modes – even though we were using it in a 4G area. We are glad to report that this problem has been fixed since the software update last month. In fact, both the Revolution and ThunderBolt have stayed on solid 4G data during our tests.

Regarding the phones' pure 4G data speeds, there is a marginal difference, as we got 6.96 Mbps download on the Revolution and 8.90 Mbps download on the ThunderBolt, with both of them using the Speedtest.net app and connecting to the same server. Uploads were between 4-5 Mbps.

Both phones also come with the standard WebKit based browser, which displays web sites just as they would appear on a PC, and also has the handy pinch-to-zoom feature. We were able to fully load the PhoneArena.com web site (including all ads and Flash content) in about 20 seconds on each device. Thankfully, neither one suffers from the browser Flash issue that we experienced when using the Samsung Droid Charge.

There is also a Mobile HotSpot app on both phones, which can support up to 8 devices connected to it simultaneously via Wi-Fi. Though we can’t imagine having that many devices connected to it at once, as it would put a drain on the internet connection.

One issue we experienced is that the HotSpot app would disconnect after 5 minutes of use with the LG Revolution, so we hope that this will be fixed via a software update. We didn’t experience this problem when using the Mobile HotSpot on the HTC ThunderBolt, as we had a laptop connected to it for almost an hour with non-stop internet usage.

Another nice feature is that both phones come with an Internet Connection Mode, where you can tether the phone to your PC via a USB cable, and have your PC use the phone’s internet connection. The cool thing about this is that it is free to use, unlike the Mobile HotSpot app that incurs a monthly fee.

Camera and Multimedia:

One main difference between the two phones is that the LG Revolution comes with a 5MP autofocus camera with single LED flash, and the HTC ThunderBolt comes with an 8MP autofocus camera with dual LED Flash.

When comparing pictures that we took outside during the day, the ones from the Revolution are lacking in fine detail, and color reproduction is on the cooler side, making for some unattractive shots. On the other hand, the ThunderBolt has a tendency to over saturate some colors, but at least they aren’t as lifeless as on the Revolution. We also noticed that both phones like to over-expose bright areas, such as the sky, making it look almost white instead of blue. For indoor pictures, the ThunderBolt continues to do better job, as images were sharper and looked in-focus. The dual LED flash on the ThunderBolt also does better at illuminating a night scene than the single LED flash on the Revolution.

We weren’t impressed with the video recording quality on either phone. Videos can be captured at 1280x720p resolution with 28 frames-per-second on the ThunderBolt and 30 frames-per-second on the Revolution. We noticed that videos recorded with the ThunderBolt looked smooth, but the detail was poor and colors looked dull, while videos from the Revolution had slightly better color and was also smooth.

LG Revolution Sample Video:

HTC ThunderBolt Sample Video:

Both phones can playback pretty much any video file you have, including MPEG-4, H.264, DivX and XviD. Even though neither one looks as good as the Samsung Droid Charge with the Super AMOLED Plus screen, we did notice that the TFT display on the LG Revolution did have better viewing angles and colors did “pop” more than when using the HTC ThunderBolt.

For the music lover, both devices have a pretty good music player that is a nice upgrade from the standard Android player. It shows the album art while playing a song, and both have cover art flow when the phone is in landscape mode, though the one on the Revolution shows 3 lines of cover art at once that you can move around. We did notice that music quality was better on the HTC ThunderBolt, even though we did have to flip-open the kickstand on the back that covers the rear speaker, as the music from the Revolution sounded thin and lacking in lower tones.


The LG Revolution and HTC ThunderBolt both come with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, though the ThunderBolt comes with 768MB of RAM, and the Revolution only has 512MB of RAM. Though when running the Quadrant Benchmark app, the Revolution would score between 2000-2100, and the ThunderBolt would be about 1800. The AnTuTu System Benchmark program produced a score of 1966 for the Revolution, and 1979 for the ThunderBolt, so no major difference there. Lastly, we ran the NeoCore program, which measures graphic performance, and got 64.4FPS on the Revolution and 59.1FPS on the ThunderBolt. Even though there is a slight difference in the benchmark scores between the two phones, both of them feel equally fast when moving between the home screens and when running programs. We really can’t say that one feels faster over the other.

When it comes to the call quality, neither phone stands out. Voices produced by the Revolution sounded a bit thin and muffled, but when using the ThunderBolt we could always hear a “hiss” in the background that got annoying after a while. People that we called said that we sounded better on their end when we used the ThunderBolt, as the Revolution made our voice sound distant.

Even though both phones would show 2-3 bars of signal reception on the top of the screen in the notification bar, when we went into the settings menu, the LG Revolution would show -105dBm of 4G signal strength, while the HTC ThunderBolt would show -92dBm of 4G signal strength (closer to 0 is better). Despite this difference, neither device dropped to 3G while in use in our 4G area, nor were any phone calls dropped (which uses 1x).

One area where there is a clear difference is with the device’s battery life. The LG Revolution with its 1500mAh battery was only able to provide up to 5 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge, or about 6 hours of mixed usage, while the smaller 1400mAh battery on the HTC ThunderBolt was able to provide 6.5 hours of continuous talk time on a full charge, or about 8 hours of mixed usage.


Between these two phones, we believe that the HTC ThunderBolt is the better choice here, as it provides a superior user interface with its Sense UI, takes better looking pictures, and has longer battery life. But at this point in the game, neither device is all that revolutionary in its design or features, except for the inclusion of 4G LTE. To be a high-end Android smartphone in today’s world, it should run on Gingerbread (not Froyo), and have 1GB of RAM, a dual-core processor, qHD display, and 4G data. So far no Verizon phone has all of this, but we can hope that the upcoming Motorola Droid Bionic Targa will help fill in this void.

Software version on the reviewed LG Revolution:
Android 2.2.2
Kernel Version: lg-electronics@area88 #1
Build Number: VS910ZV4

Software version on the reviewed HTC ThunderBolt:
Android 2.2.1
Kernel Version:
Build Number: 1.13.605.7

LG Revolution vs HTC ThunderBolt:

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