UPDATE: This “first impressions” review was written after a brief time with this smartphone. A more complete version based on extensive testing is available here:
The HTC ThunderBolt is the first 4G phone offered by Verizon Wireless. It features a large touchscreen, an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and HD video capture plus a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, a web browser with Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and a mobile hotspot app so you can share your mobile data connection with other devices.
I’ve had this device for only a couple of days — not time enough to be able to write an in-deprth review, but I’m ready to share my first impessions.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Thunderbolt is sleek — it’s made of a smooth material and has very low profile buttons, so it might be a good idea to get a case for extra protection and grip.
The 4.3-inch, WVGA (800 x 480) screen is gorgeous; very large and bright. There’s such an expanse of space that video is truly fun to watch, and I don’t feel like I have to squint. Also, since the screen is so big, the virtual keyboard already feels like one of the best I’ve ever used. My fingers don’t feel squished, and I don’t have any problems with hitting the wrong keys either.
The kickstand you’ll find on the ThunderBolt’s back is much improved over what I saw on the HTC EVO 4G, and after just a few hours of use, I can see how handy it is. It works in both portrait or landscape modes and makes it easier to watch video or just to prop up the device on your desk for use as a clock/email notifier.
Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) powers this new smartphone from HTC, and it’s built around a 1 GHz processor.
It is obviously designed to be a media powerhouse — I was actually very surprised when I first turned it on and the rumble of an actual thunderbolt came out of the external speaker. It was very loud and very clear, and was a good hint of what to expect when listening to music and watching videos.
This smartphone can connect to Verizon’s LTE network, and 4G wireless experience is fantastic, with web pages loading almost before I can finish typing out their URLs. The same is true for downloading new apps and for launching and switching between them on the device.
There’s an updated version of HTC Sense included as well, with cool new personalization features such as customizable sound sets and scenes that change the entire look of the device’s homescreen.
The test shots I’ve taken with the 8 megapixel camera so far have come out very well and with good detail. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the dual LED flash, but I’ll be testing that feature extensively over the next few days.
The Verizon HTC ThunderBolt is an exciting new device — and not just bacause its the first 4G phone from Verizon.
It offers blazing fast speed and a beautiful screen, but I’m concerned by just how fast the battery meter seems to drop. I’ll be testing this thoroughly for the full review, because it doesn’t matter how awesome your mobile phone is if you find yourself needing to make an urgent call and find out the battery is dead.
Check back in a few days for the full review of this smartphone.