HTC Thunderbolt Review


Hello, Phandroids. I’ve had the Thunderbolt in my possession since its release a few weeks ago and I’ve been itching to do a review on it. I didn’t want to cover too much of the technical specs of the phone seeing how you can find those anywhere online. I really wanted to give my own personal view on the phone based on the time I’ve had with it.

The specs aren’t anything to sneeze at. It has a 4.3 inch Super LCD display, Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon processor with an Adreno 205 GPU, 768MB of RAM, and an 8 megapixel back camera with a VGA webcam on the fron to keep it company.

It also has 8GB of internal storage and a 32GB microSD card, a kickstand (which is always important) and that sweet 4G radio inside to take advantage of Big Red’s 4G LTE network. As far as software goes, this one only ships with Android 2.2 and HTC Sense. (But we expect that to be upgraded sometime in the future.)

All of this comes together to make for a very snappy device, but what good does reading about it do you? Without further ado – Is the HTC Thunderbolt the hottest phone out right now? Or does the phone feel like more of an electric shock? Find out in my review!


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Thanks for the review!
    I do think you need some artwork or something in your casa, so when you’re doing reviews and you need to test out the camera, you can shoot something other than your hand. Aside from that and your scary video collection, great job! Thanks!

      1. lol I keed I keed!! ;)

  2. It seems like there’s a need for a proof-reader. Where do I send my resume?

  3. The front cam is 1.3, not VGA.

  4. Its a mt4g in an evo body on verizons network…thers your review

  5. Pretty spot on review. I’m a satisfied TBolt owner, and your review pretty much confirms what I already know… it’s a killer device! Love the speeds I get from Big Red’s LTE network, but hate what it does to battery life. I picked up the LTEOnOff app to help mitigate that, now I get way better mileage. Other than that, I can’t complain!

  6. While it’s a nice touch to have a kickstand built in, 9 out of 10 people put their phones in some type of a case to protect it. Having a kickstand built into that case is much more important to me. It was interesting to see what a big difference there was over the Evo’s k-stand! That thing was practically useless.

    1. I agree the kickstand does more harm than good no point to it

      1. It does NO harm. What are you talking about?

  7. Pretty good review. I’m more so liking the new Sense features, very nice. The phone is a beast… even more so that my EVO

    1. Agreed. Definitely feeling that 12 month itch on my Evo…….

      1. Great review, I appreciate the fact that you have never changed after all these years being on you tube. You have always done your best to help all of us that’s appreciated. Keep up the good work.

    2. Our Evo 4g had a great run and ruled for a while that’s over now. It’s still a great device a proven device yes but not number one anymore I can except that. Trust me I ran the Evo real hard now it’s time for the successor.

  8. gotta say i did judge you after seeing that video.

    1. Eeeeuuuuwwwww is that a bug over there ?

  9. The TB does NOT have 8gb internal storage. 4gb was disabled by HTC. HTC needs to change the published spec and folks reviewing the device should point out the discrepancy.

  10. Thank you Chris, I’ll probably stop checking Phandroid now. I’m not much interested in seeing your face on every one of your articles. Especially when you have to make faces like that. I’ll pass.

    1. Android phones.
      Srs business.

    2. relax….he’s just trying to lighten up the mood around here. As Mudrock notes, it is srs business, but somebody is going to complain whether he’s too serious or too goofy. Might as well be goofy and have some fun while you’re at it. This isn’t the Wall Street Journal here!

      1. Dude…. I honestly couldn’t have said it better myself. WOW. Took the words right out of my mouth =O

        1. Great review keep up the good work. I must admit I got a little scared when you started singing LMAO :-)

        2. hey i like the review, but what about an hdmi review on the thunderbolt, will it be like in mirror mode or can you just play videos on it???

          1. Just play videos from your gallery, pics and music.. (Wish it had mirror mode)

          2. do you know if the moto droid bionic will have mirror mode??

      2. Who the hell complains about someone being too serious?

    3. This dude is weird

  11. TB only had 4gb internal, since,HTC disabled 4gb. Reviewers should point out this discrepancy.

  12. When my Droid touch screen started acting wonky last week I played with the Thunderbolt in the store while considering an early upgrade as a solution to my hardware woes. I found the kickstand bothersome. I could easily foresee the phone in a standard Verizon belt holster, with the kickstand sticking out… and getting snapped off like a twig. Am I the only one who sees this as a problem?

    1. You’re the only one. =p
      For the record, I have a video where I run over my Evo with the kickstand sticking out and the only thing that survived, fully operational… was the kickstand =)

      1. the kickstand is even more solid and sturdy on the thunderbolt.

    2. That kickstand is to solid and strong. You would have too purposely break it off this kickstand is the best on the market today.

  13. Anyone else’s 4g/3g issue been resolved? the last few days have been great, it’s switching like it’s supposed to and thing are working great!

    1. luckily i’m always in 4g from home to work. but i know theres a problem when switching between 3g and 4g.

  14. Desire HD with a ffc and 4G…..BOOM

  15. There’s no doubt this is an exceptional device. I owed thunderbolt owners an apology cause I downed this device in many posts on various sites as well as here. The other day at best buy i had a chance to hold a thunderbolt and play around with one for 30mins and i was truly amazed. This device was STUPID FAST and very snappy and i was truly amazed at the time and effort htc put into this device. The sense ui was snappy the dnla feature was refreshing to see and all the personalized features for lock screens and various scenes were much new. I had the chance to compare it to an htc inspire 4g and it was amazing how close these devices both resembled eachother and the Desire Z. The only thing missing from the Thunderbolt that the Inspire 4g had was htc likes and htcsense.com and I can’t figure out why that was missing. I was very impressed with the thunderbolt and i can say that yes it is better than the granddaddy of 4g my beloved Htc Evo 4g 11months worth of better. Customers on Verizon should be proud they have a great device to support android. My fellow Evo owners on sprint we had our day June 2010 to March 2011 being on top now that belongs to the Thunderbolt on Verizon. Our new member to the Evo family on sprint will be born soon then we will see who’s best again. Hats off to the thunderbolt.

    1. shut up foo

    2. Glad you had a chance to try it and I hope you learned a lesson (I did as well)to never write off a phone especially one you have never tried. Good to see a change in things I’m sure the comment section will be a better place. It will be refreshig to see tge evo 3d and I’m dying to try one.

    3. Lololololol. You’re that guy who posts to EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE POSTED EVAR complaining about phones and how Sprint and the Evo are THE BEST PHONES EVAR with CAPS LOCK ON EVERY 3 WORDS.

  16. Decent review. I think most other reviewers have already pointed out that HTC point the USB port on the left side of the phone to work well with docs and landscape mode, but this means that you can’t charge the phone while it’s on the kickstand in portrait mode.

    1. I think you mean the opposite. I can charge my thunderbolt while in kickstand in portrait mode no problem. I always have it like that at my desk at work. I think you meant while on it’s kickstand on it’s side in landscape mode, it can’t charge.

      1. Er, yeah. I mistyped. Thanks for correcting me.

  17. I didn’t see you mention that the kickstand is totally useless if you have your phone plugged into a charger. That’s a serious design flaw, in my opinion.

    1. +1

      This is my biggest concern. How and WHY on earth did they allow this to happen?

      I still dig the phone. … It’s not a giant leap from my HD2, but it was worth the leap to get the unlimited data plan while it still exists.

      edit: Great review btw. I like the informal-ness of Chris. I dig this guy!

      1. This device is a GIANT LEAP OVER THE HD2 don’t fool yourself. The Htc Evo 4g is a big leap over your HD2. Yes Htc makes these devices but they are all not the same when it comes to hardware and software. The HD2 is crazy old, The Evo 4g is 11months old, And the Thunderbolt is the new kid on the block not even 2months old yet. This device is remarkable.

        1. Ummm yeah, the HD2 may be one of the older of the bunch but it’s 1st Gen Snapdragon and 576mb Ram still holds up to today’s phones (other than dual core of course). The older GPU is one of it’s biggest downfalls but it’s still a solid contender and runs circles around your EVO. No other phone past or current can run five different OS’s (Android & WP7 often running faster than native devices)

          So yeah let’s try again

      2. THANKS! I really appreciate the positive comments. Seriously. Phandroid be getting me down with all the people “hating my face” and such. I’m just being me. Don’t know what else to say =/

        1. dont worry about it bro. Your just the new kid onthe block and there are some loser cyber bullies trying to give you a hard time.

          i think yer doing just fine

    2. Wrong. The kickstand works in portrait mode, unlike my older EVO. So, I plug in the charger and stand it up in portrait mode with the kickstand extended.

    3. OMG!!! I know! I totally forgot about that in my review. I don’t know how this was overlooked by HTC’s design department. Most likely it wasn’t- and they want you to buy THEIR dock =/

      1. I agree with this…major major major flaw. …but, do they have a dock? I have not yet seen this…or can find it. I do want a dock for this phone.

        Side note, I will be getting a case for it. I like the material of the phone, but tends to be a little slippery. I have researched this for a while and came to the conclusion of purchasing this case when it comes out: http://goo.gl/NubX3

        1. I don’t believe there is a dock for it yet, but it makes sense why they would put the charger port there…? Although, I’ve always a good kickstand would eliminate the need for a dock.

          1. I have the car dock and it works great. I’ve also found that if you put the phone in landscape, upside down gently, the kick stand will hold it up while plugged in. Not perfect, but good enough.

  18. Love your hair haha :) and good review!!

  19. you are rough on your phone lol no wonder the plastic is cracking

    1. Nah.. It’s been kept in this either a hard rubber case or a thick plastic one from Seido since day 1. I treat my phones like I treat my women….

      1. You plug them in and set them on silent? o_O sorry couldn’t resist!

        1. I’m hard on them but offer them protection. And I keep my pimp hand strong……..

  20. Really been enjoying your posts Chris. Keep up the great work :)

  21. @yarrellray

    Ummm yeah, the HD2 may be one of the older of the bunch but it’s 1st Gen Snapdragon and 576mb Ram still holds up to today’s phones (other than dual core of course). The older GPU is one of it’s biggest downfalls but it’s still a solid contender and runs circles around your EVO. No other phone past or current can run five different OS’s (Android & WP7 often running faster than native devices)

    So yeah let’s try again

    1. Ummmmm……. what? Lol

  22. This was the worst review i ever seen

    1. Your post is the worst use of english I ever seen :-)

    2. This was the worst comment i ever seen

  23. I fell back from launch to see how it all unfolded. I just picked up this beast 2 day and it is handsdown the best smartphone I have ever owned and i have owned them all. I still have my EVO and N1. But I am more trhan pleased to say the least about the HTC Thunderbolt and its performance. Dual-Core or not that beast is fast even on 3g (cause i don’t get 4G where I live0 so that says something about the phone in itself. Good review by the way and welcome.

    1. Thanks, Danny! Glad to hear your feedback =)

  24. Richard….awow…you said a shocking. Mouthful …hollydam alol. ilike it alot to, the battery just sucks from what ihear….Driod Bionic …lol

  25. Great Review, happy to see Chris and Quentins review

  26. Nice review. Keep up the good work, Chris.

    1. Thank you, sir! =D

  27. Nice job Chris! I’m wondering about the EVO owners saying the Thunderbolt seems so much better, could that be due to the Verizon network being better vs just the phone performance? The way my Sprint service has been lately you could take any old Android phone on Verizon and it would out perform my EVO right now.

    1. Its a little bit of everything. The Verizon network. The better 2nd generation Snapdragon that the phone comes with.
      But where I live, Sprint has faster download speeds than Verizon (but not as good coverage)

  28. Good Review, Next Time Test a custom rom too!

  29. Great review. I have to admit though, I was very close to not watching it because of the annoying cuts you had at the beginning. Its not creative, funny, clever, or anything else but annoying.

    Other than that I have no negative criticism to offer. You showed a few features that I was not aware of (camera, media streaming out-of-the-box) so that was nice.

  30. Great review! Where can I learn more about this media server feature? I knew nothing about it….

    1. I’m not sure where you can learn more…. but what questions did you have? I’ve been playing with it for quite awhile. Best feature IMO =)

  31. dang thanks to this review i now know about the connected media app. :)) thanks!

    1. It took me by surprise too! And I never saw it mentioned in other reviews!

  32. chris, i really like your voice.

    1. I’m gonna assume you’re being sarcastic XD

      1. not at all! :(

        1. My voice is monotone and very… homoerotic. LOL I would cover my ears when I talk but it makes it worse =/

  33. also, you like 2ne1? +100 points for you, sir. 2ne1 is AWESOME.

    1. Had a lot of Korean ex gf’s that introduced me to ’em… =p

      1. I was going to judge, especially since YOU SANG ALONG, but darnit that’s a very good excuse.

        1. What can I say…. I love the Koreans =)

  34. One of the worst reviews I have ever seen!!..

    1. One of the worst comments I have ever seen!!..

  35. dude! we don’t need to see your face in a phone review. wait a minute … you are that fag from androidandme.com lol

    1. That be…. me? o_O

    2. Hate speech should not not appropriate anywhere. Jerk.

  36. Please stop trying to force the funny.

    1. You’re funny…. and you don’t even have to force it. Bravo.

  37. Christ, I don’t know if you notice it yet. But I, as well as a lot of people are having issues with the video playback. The noise cancellation is interfering with the sound. Any news on that?

    1. I actually got word of that from HTC and I heard they’re working on an update VERY SOON to fix the issue. Doesn’t happen with EVERY video you record on the phone… but HTC is aware of it. =)

  38. i love this review

    1. I love……………. you? o_O

  39. more of an awesome green …
    its made of aluminium …. or some metal

    Hilarious and fun to watch , don’t listen to BS about hiding from the camera Chris, your reviews are fun and have some personality. nice way to pad out some potentially boring specs. glad you are on Phandroid.

  40. I’m all up trollin’ this thread….

  41. Hey does this thing come with a kickstand that is hard to knock over? :P

  42. So here is my concern with NOT waiting for a dual core. A year from now, 16 months from now, what about all those apps written for dual or quad core processor. I don’t want my phone out of date in a year.

  43. Nice review on Chris Chavez

  44. guys lay off chris, he’s does a great job on his reviews. His videos are great and I think he does a great job.

  45. i think your face is hot stuff mr. chavez :) and i would hang out and geek out w/ u on this stuff haha. any word on skype for thunderbolt dude?????

    -Adam (los angeles)

  46. for the asshat earlier that made that hateful comment towards Chris. Dude seriously STFU. Whatever he does in his personal life is HIS fucking business. No need for you to comment in any way shape or form.

    Thanks for the review Chris. I was thinking of going with Verizon but i honestly cant stand Sense. That phone is stupid fast tho. any chance you can post a quadrant video?

  47. The Thunderbolt ad on the home page makes me hate this phone.

  48. Not sure if this has been commented on or not. Good review. One correction on how the camera and flash works. The camera software (I think) is not correcting a “washed out” picture. The flash sync “speed” in photography terms can be 1/60th, 1/40th, 1/250, etc. etc. The camera is most likely just saving the picture a fraction of a second before or after the image is “washed out” on the screen, or what appears to be over exposed to the naked eye. (Photographer by trade so how good these built in cameras are getting is amazing to me!)

  49. The picture in the article preview really makes me want to puch this guy in the face. Why is he trying so hard to be cool/funny?

  50. Love the review chris. With the ‘media connect’ feature you mentioned (only time i heard it mentioned anywhere) what type of files can phone handle? mp4 only as usual?

    and not to criticize but i would rather have been seeing you use the back button to close out market/browser completely then open them back up to show the processor off. Obviously when you open either one and hit the home button to get out of them they will open instantly when you click the icon again (if that makes any sense, its 8am and i just got off work, lol)

  51. get a life losers

  52. Digging the review – not boring and it’s not a replica of everyone elses reviews. The huge storage space on the T-Bolt is awesome. I have tons of videos on mine after an accidental full media sync with my laptop. I was worried about my memory space afterwards and when I checked I was like, Oh yeah, this is the t-bolt, I got space for everything. BTW – the phone is bad-arse. Love it.

  53. I get that you are trying to be silly, but I think you took it a bit far. Also for a review that isn’t supposed to be technical, you talked a lot about specs, and not about your feelings on stuff.

  54. Great review. I went into it expecting to not like it, after seeing some of these comments, but really – it was good. Now I want a Thunderbolt. My wife says thanks a lot.

  55. That leg sweep the thunderbolt pulled was totally illegal. No wonder it wins if it has to cheat.

    I don’t know what to do, still liking my droid X, but the locked bootloader is mega fail. Through some screw up in verizon’s system (i think because I upgraded through amazon) I have an upgrade to use, just afraid that if I go to this thing, the minute slowness of my archos 70 tab will become much more frustrating for me, and I totally can’t afford a better tablet.

    I like the review by the way, quirky, but still straight to the point. Your a funny guy, to be honest, that hair does piss me off just a bit though.

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