CNET First Look
HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon Wireless)Verizon has unleashed its first 4G smartphone on the masses. Just how fast is it? Check out our First Look video to find out.
-Hey everyone, I'm Bonnie Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com, and I'm here today with your first look of the HTC ThunderBolt. This is Verizon's first 4G smartphone to hit the market and I know a lot of you have been waiting for this ever since it was announced at CES, including myself. So, I'm really excited to finally have it in my hands. Now, I'm sure one of the top questions on everyone's mind is just how fast is it? So, I won't you keep in suspense and I'll talk about that first. I've run a number of speed tests on the device and the results, so far, are impressive. The Speedtest.net app on the phone gave us some crazy results, so I don't think it's an accurate measure of the speeds. Since then, I used the ThunderBolt's mobile hotspot feature to connect to my laptop and an iPhone, and took some speed measurements that way. I saw average download speeds of 7.41 megabits per second and upload speeds of 6.56 megabits per seconds, which was enough for me to comfortably browse web pages, download music, and upload photos. On the phone itself, the ThunderBolt loaded CNET's page in one of the fastest times I've seen on a phone, and it also quickly loads and streams media. The data speeds we've seen on the ThunderBolt are definitely faster than what we've experienced on Sprint and T-Mobile's 4G devices. I know there are a lot of different factors that affect network speed, such as location, time of day, and to be fair, there aren't a lot of people on Verizon's 4G network now, but I'm still very impressed with what I'm seeing. I do wish there was a way to toggle between 3G and 4G on the ThunderBolt, but there doesn't appear to be a way to do that. Battery life is also something to watch. I've only had the phone for about a day, but with moderate to heavy usage, I've got about 5 to 6 hours before needed to recharge. Of course, we'll continue to do more battery tests over the next few days. As far as the rest, the ThunderBolt is pretty much on par with the other high-end Android phones. It's running Android 2.2 with HTC Sense and comes with a few extra apps like TuneWiki, which lets you listen to Internet radio and other goodies. It has a back-facing 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls, and picture and video quality is pretty good. HTC always makes solid devices and the ThunderBolt is no different. It's actually quite similar to the Evo with a 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen and the kick stand on the back. Under the hood, it's running a next gen 1 gigahertz Snapdragon processor, and the performance, so far, has been smooth. The ThunderBolt does have a chipset though that allows for simultaneous voice and data over 3G. So far, the ThunderBolt's looking pretty darn good, but like I said, we'll be watching the battery life. HTC ThunderBolt is available now for $249.99 with a 2-year contract, which isn't cheap, but it's also expected for this kind of device. Gonna get back to testing, so be sure to check out CNET's full review of the HTC ThunderBolt for our final verdict. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the HTC ThunderBolt.