The HTC Thunderbolt has long been known on the rumor mill as the Pyramid, HTC’s new flagship smartphone, which was supposed to have a dual core processor, HD display, 2 GB of RAM and God knows what else. Unfortunately, fans were really in for a big disappointment, as the new phone that HTC announced was nothing like that.
Still, the Thunderbolt is not as bad as the more hardcore Android fans think – it’s just a matter of setting too high expectations for it. We now have the phone that everyone was actually expecting, the HTC Sensation, and it turned out to have most of the rumored features. The Thunderbolt still sells however, and is a great choice for everyone who wants an affordable, reliable and fast smartphone with support for Verizon’s new 4G LTE network.
A great exterior design and an amazing build quality
The Thunderbolt has a great exterior design – it looks a lot like the Desire HD, which is great, since it was one of the most popular Android phones until now. The build quality is simply fantastic, with most of the phone being made out of a metal alloy that will surely stand through any trial. The front is adorned by the big 4.3 inch touch screen that has a standard 800×480 pixels resolution and looks very well, and four Android touch navigation buttons right below it. On the back, you’ve got your usual camera – an 8 megapixels shooter in this case, with support for 720p HD recording and a dual LED flash, and a not so usual accessory in the form of a kickstand, which can prove very useful if you want to use your phone as a mobile entertainment center or just put it on a desk to act as a clock, schedule or music player.
HTC Thunderbolt Review
The old Snapdragon still performs well, and you get 40 GB out of the box
The internal hardware specs is where most of the disappointment lies: the Thunderbolt uses a simple 1 GHz Snapdragon processor with 768 MB of RAM, which is more than enough for almost any task, but not enough for a phone released in 2011, especially one with such high expectations about it. But if you forget about the processor’s name and speed, you can easily confuse it with a Tegra 2 or the new dual core Snapdragon – it’s just as fast in Android menus and most apps. There are 8 GB of internal storage memory, and the phone comes with a 32 GB micro SD card pre-installed from Verizon, which is a pretty good deal.
The other technical specs are just as good as on any other smartphone, including the Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation. The Thunderbolt has Wifi N, Bluetooth 3.0, assisted GPS, two microphones with noise cancelation, surround sound (which works pretty well, I’d say), an assortment of sensors (light, proximity, accelerometer and magnetometer) and other things. Obviously, there’s the much touted support for 4G LTE, and the Thunderbolt certainly achieves the advertised speeds, but only in the perfect conditions. Still, it’s faster than any other 4G or 3G phone most of the time, so you can’t really complain.
Android 2.3.4 is coming soon, but the phone is definitely not for developers and modders
Out of the box, the Thunderbolt has Android 2.2 installed, which is a great, stable OS that can run any apps on the market, though if you want the latest and greatest, you’ll have to wait a while – the phone is supposed to get an update to Android 2.3.4, the latest Gingerbread, sometime this July. HTC’s Sense interface is also present, and will be updated to the newest version as well. If you are a power user or developer, however, this phone may not be for you because of the locked boot loader, which HTC started using on their most recent devices. They promised that it will be removed, but it’s still unclear whether this applies to the Thunderbolt and older models.
The HTC Thunderbolt is already available on Verizon’s network in the US – in fact; it’s one of the best-selling phones at the moment. If you need a good phone for everyday work that has a lot of memory out of the box and doesn’t cost too much, this is an excellent choice!