Its a Brick!
Its a Brick!
Let's get one of the big drawbacks out of the way. The Thunderbolt is heavy, weighing 6.23 ounces, thanks to the larger battery required to handle the demands of the device's 4G network capability. This will deter some users who prefer 4- to 5-ounce phones.
The back is a soft-gray plastic material, pleasing to the hand and not unlike the matte finish of the Motorola Droid X. With a gray back, other details come sharply into the focus, including the large HTC logo and 4G LTE claim. The Thunderbolt has two cameras. The rear camera you see here is an 8-megapixel beauty, while the front is a functional 1.3MP viewer for video chats.
Thunderbolt from the Side
The Thunderbolt, which measures 4.75 long by 2.44 inches wide by 0.56 inches thick, is thicker than the normal cell phone. The thin Samsung Nexus S, for example, is less than half an inch thick.
The Popular Kickstand
The kickstand was a big hit for HTC's Evo 4G last spring, and it should be a winner for the Thunderbolt this year.
Don't penalize the Thunderbolt for running Android 2.2, especially not when it has this 4.3-inch capacitive touch-screen 480 by 800 WVGA display, combined with HTC Sense 2.0 user interface going for it.
The Widgets Are Back
HTC Sense's trusty weather widget is on board. HTC Sense 2.0 is a lot like the first version, but everything feels brighter and crisper with the new user interface. Dare we say...more iPhone-like?
Another HTC Sense favorite of ours is the FriendStream application to integrate all of our messaging and social-network contacts.
Like the Thunderbolt's HTC Sense keyboard, the dialer is big, bold and easy to use.
Typical Google Android Apps
Applications are what you'd expect from an Android phone, including Google search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Android Market. Verizon has added its own software, including VZ Navigator and a Flashlight application, which is useful. Also on board are 4G LTE-ready applications, such as EA's Rock Band, Bitbop and other games.
YouTube Works Well
Speaking of YouTube, when we tested the Thunderbolt, footage of the earthquake and tsunami devastation in Japan was popular, as you can see here. Adobe Flash-based Websites also rendered well.
Kickstand Proves Handy
The kickstand made viewing this clip easier. The kickstand is also easier for others to view; a user playing media on a phone in their hand tends to feel crowded.
8MP Camera Produces Crisp Photos
Photos taken with the 8MP camera were crisp and bright. For art purposes, here is a Web site image of the Thunderbolt, taken by the Thunderbolt, taken by a camera. The video capability captures HD.
To date, personal hotspot-enabled phones have connected five devices. The Thunderbolt powers eight devices, at $20 a month.
No Flash with Hotspot Running
Interestingly, while the hotspot is running, you can't take pictures with the phone's camera flash. It also drains the battery something fierce.
Easy Hotspot Activation
Other than the issue with the camera flash, the hotspot is a snap to activate. Just enter the security password and you're good to go.
On the PC
Once activated, the Thunderbolt's hotspot surfaced in our laptop's wireless network menu as an option. Worked like a charm, powering our devices for a day.