CES: Hands-on with the HTC Thunderbolt

CNET offers up some first impressions of the HTC Thunderbolt for Verizon Wireless.

LAS VEGAS--One of the most anticipated smartphones coming into CES 2011 had to be the HTC Thunderbolt.

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Unveiled today at Verizon's press conference, the Thunderbolt is HTC's first LTE device and has been described as "blazingly fast." However, we had to find out for ourselves and luckily we got some hands-on time with it.

In short, the HTC Thunderbolt is fast. Granted, there aren't too many people on Verizon's LTE network right now, but we were impressed at just how fast it pulled up CNET's full site and played video. On other devices we've tested, it usually takes around 20 to 30 seconds to load CNET's page, but it was up and running within a few seconds on the Thunderbolt. Videos also buffered and played within a couple of seconds with no interruption.

The Thunderbolt does not use Nvidia's dual-core Tegra processor, instead sticking with the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8655 processor, which is a bit disappointing, but the smartphone felt responsive.

As far as the design of the smartphone, the Thunderbolt is very much an HTC product. It measures 4.8 inches tall by 2.6 inches wide by 0.5 inches thick and weighs 5.78 ounces, so it's a bit hefty but that also gives the phone a very solid, premium feel. The back has a slight curve to it, making it comfortable to hold in the hand, and it has a nice, soft-touch finish.

The screen measures 4.3 inches diagonally and has a WVGA (800x480 pixels) resolution. Though it's not any different from the current crop of devices from HTC, it's still sharp and bright, and the built-in accelerometer and pinch-to-zoom gestures worked smoothly and quickly.

We also got some additional specs. The Thunderbolt will run Android 2.2 with the latest version of HTC Sense and will be upgradable to Android 2.3. It offers 8GB of internal storage and 768MB RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with HD video capture, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, and a 1,400mAh lithium ion battery.

Pricing and availability date were not revealed at this time, but Verizon did say that it expects its first suite of LTE devices to be available by midyear.

We've got a First Look video coming shortly, but in the meantime, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the Thunderbolt. Let us know in the comment section below.

 

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