The HTC ThunderBolt is the first phone offered by Verizon Wireless with support for this carrier's relatively new 4G network. It features a large, roomy touchscreen, a high-resolution camera, video chat support, a web browser with Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and mobile hotspot so you can share your mobile data connection with other devices.
It's currently available from Verizon for $250 with a two-year service contract. For those that aren't new customers and don't qualify for an upgrade subsidy, they will have to pay $570.
BUILD & DESIGN
The HTC ThunderBolt is one of the largest smartphones I've reviewed so far, measuring 4.8-inches tall, 2.6-inches wide, and 0.52-inches thick. It's at the large end of what will comfortably fit in my relatively small hands. The buttons are very slim and have a low profile, so there's nothing on the edges to jab you when you grip the phone tightly, which you'll need to do since there's no texture on the back of this large device. You'll probably want a case for this device since there's a good chance you'll drop it more than once without one.
Design-wise, the ThunderBolt isn't anything terribly unique or special. The large screen dominates most of the device, so you'll see a narrow platinum-gray bezel around the screen with a silver accent on the speaker grid at the top, which also houses the charge indicator. The back of the phone is a darker gray with no real pattern to it, and gets rather warm during extended use, but not uncomfortably so.
The kickstand on the back of this device is truly awesome, however, and it has been much improved over the one on the HTC Evo 4G from last year. It now works in both portrait and landscape mode and is very sturdy, even if you jostle it.
The 4.3-inch, 480x800 (WVGA) screen is truly gorgeous, incredibly clear and sharp. It has roughly the same specs as several other phones I've reviewed recently, but there's just something about the ThunderBolt that makes it an absolute joy to watch video on. Perhaps it's the extra-speedy 4G service ensuring that I'm getting the best possible picture quality (or the kickstand I mentioned earlier), but I've found myself watching more video on this device than usual.
Photos look great, as expected, and games look phenomenal. The colors are so bright and saturated that everything just seems to come to life. There's no discernible pixelization unless you examine the screen extremely close.
There's no physical keyboard on the ThunderBolt, so you'll be tapping on the screen using a virtual keyboard. Since the screen is so large, the "keys" are also rather large, so you shouldn't have very much trouble getting used to entering data this way. My personal preference is a virtual keyboard, since physical keyboards are often too small and cramped to be easily usable, but of course, those who prefer a physical QWERTY keyboard will be disappointed with this aspect of the device.
Other Buttons & Controls
The headphone jack and power button are on the top edge of the smartphone, while the volume rocker button is on the right edge. As mentioned previously, the buttons are extremely low profile and can be rather difficult to find and activate if you're not looking at the phone.
The charge/sync port is on the bottom left edge of the phone, while the camera lens and dual LED flash are on the back cover. The microSD slot is inside the battery compartment, and exchanging it for another card requires the removal of the battery.
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