The world of Android phones is heating up — after all, it’s been a few years since the G1 came out on T-Mobile, and hey — you’ve come a long way since those early Android models. It’s definitely a household name for a lot of good reasons. Normal people are finally getting the opportunity to geek out without damaging their phones. They feel smart, empowered, and downright popular all without even saying a word. That’s the power of having an Android phone.
Hey, we’re not trying to leave other cell phone users out in the cold here. We’re sure that you’re rocking that iPhone, but we really think that Android offers a lot of interesting features from start to finish, but it might take some getting used to when it comes to having all of that power.
One Android phone that we really wanted to touch on was the HTC Thunderbolt. It’s been out for a little while, but that doesn’t mean that you’ve gotten up close and personal with it.
This phone is a bit thick and a bit heavy, but we can forgive it when it comes to the features. You’re going to get a 4.3-inch display, as well as an 8MP camera. There’s also a dual-LED flash. The display is very crisp and has a pretty wide viewing angle.
Performance is also not a problem at all. There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, as well as an integrated kickstand. This means that you can tilt the phone back to watch movies and other recordings. In addition, we can’t overlook the second 4G radio so you can use Verizon’s LTE network — yes, this is definitely a Verizon phone.
This phone is bringing back another trend that’s fun — good packaging. When you buy a new phone, you want to get excited about it. HTC has shipped the phone in a big sturdy black cube wrapped in a black sleeve. The name of your phone is embossed on the packaging. This also serves another purpose — you’re a lot more likely to save the packaging to keep your phone safe when you’re not using it. If you move on, you can sell the phone in good condition with the original box. This saves a lot of your resale value, which is always a good thing.
It’s a bigger phone than most, but if you’re used to using the Evo 4G over on Sprint, then this phone shouldn’t throw you off. However, if you were expecting all of this power and lightweight tendencies, you’re going to be slightly disappointed.
The phone comes with a 32GB microSD — that’s more than enough space to keep everything that matters most to you.
If you’re looking for HDMI out functions with this phone, you’re not going to find them. However, we really don’t think it takes away from the phone at all.
Normal use — where you’re going to be taking on the phone, using LTE data and screen use as well as Wi-FI — roughly five hours and 47 minutes. Now, if you’re going to be doing less with your Thunderbolt, then that’s fine too. You’ll probably end up getting a lot more battery life. Standby seems to be roughly about 14 hours and only 20 percent loss of the battery. If you tweak the phone by turning off some of the power sucking features, you’ll get more life out of it. Still, a second battery wouldn’t hurt anything, either.
Let’s talk about that camera some more! 8 megapixels gives you a lot of photoquality. Some other reviews have noted that the quality isn’t good as say, a traditional digital camera. It’s our opinion that it really doesn’t have to be. You’re not buying a cell phone to be able to take professional photographs. You’re buying a cell phone so that you can capture the moments that matter while they’re happening. If that means that you don’t get perfect studio quality photos, then that’s really not a big deal in the long run.
There are some troubles with the camera, but HTC is definitely getting better and better. 720p video is really what makes the Thunderbolt so much fun — there’s really no distortion on the video. However, keep in mind that 720p video clips are going to be HUGE. Definitely HUGE.
Android is still the name of the game here, but HTC has decided to move towards HTC Sense instead of pure Android. This means that there are some goodies that you get that aren’t part of the standard.
Colorful menus, a soft keyboard, great home screen elements and more await you. If you’re not a Sense fan, you might dislike it — but that’s okay. It’s an acquired taste for some.
There are plenty of apps that come with the phone, but many of them cannot be uninstalled. That’s one of the downsides that we really disliked.
There’s an FM radio tuner that comes with the phone. Even though we’re living in a digital world, there are a lot of people that really do like having access to the radio everywhere they go.
If you’re a business type or you go to school, you’ll love having Quickoffice — this time around you get full Word and Excel editing without having to shell out more cash.
There is no Netflix or Skype — you’ll have to get that on your own.
This is a solid phone for someone that wants to feel techie without having to configure too much or really worry too much about what’s under the hood. If you consider yourself the type of person that doesn’t want to be the last one to have a smartphone, we really think this one should be on your list. While some advanced users aren’t going to like the installed software or other bits (like Sense UI), we really think that it’s worth your time to check it out for yourself. Thunderbolt is bringing a lot of power under the hood that you just can’t miss!