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Blazing-fast 4G phones from Verizon (roundup)

Verizon Wireless has been busy this year, with four new blazing-fast phones to take advantage of its growing 4G LTE network.

HTC ThunderBolt
HTC ThunderBolt Sarah Tew/CNET

Verizon Wireless meant business when it promised a big push for 4G LTE at CES 2011. The carrier unveiled four new devices: the HTC ThunderBolt, the Samsung Droid Charge, the LG Revolution, and the Motorola Droid Bionic. All four promise fast 4G speeds, and indeed, they deliver. However, they aren't all the same. Here's our roundup of all four Verizon 4G handsets.

Samsung Droid Charge
Samsung Droid Charge Sarah Tew/CNET

The HTC ThunderBolt was one of the highlights of CES 2011 with a loud crack of thunder emanating from the Verizon stage floor. Suitably so, as it was Verizon's first 4G LTE device. We liked its solid design, the 4.3-inch WVGA display, the 8-megapixel rear camera with 720p HD video recording, and the handy kickstand on the back. The ThunderBolt will also please those who like HTC's Sense UI, which we think is one of the better manufacturer skins. It has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. The HTC ThunderBolt retailed at $249.99 when it was first released.

LG Revolution VS910 (Verizon Wireless)
LG Revolution Josh P. Miller/CNET

The Samsung Droid Charge didn't quite wow us as much with its uninspiring design, but we did love the gorgeous 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. It has similar specs to the ThunderBolt, but it also has Samsung's Media Hub preinstalled, which lets you rent and buy movies and TV shows. Moreover, it appears to have better battery life than the ThunderBolt. It has a 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Unfortunately, it costs $299.99, which we think is a bit pricey.

Motorola Droid Bionic
Motorola Droid Bionic Josh P. Miller/CNET

The LG Revolution is perhaps poorly named. Even though we thought it is a solid Android handset, there was little about the phone that struck as revolutionary. It does have a nice 4.3-inch WVGA display, and the rear 5-megapixel camera takes decent pictures. Unfortunately Verizon had a heavy hand with this phone, and it's saddled with Bing for its search and maps features. Call quality wasn't the best, either. That said, it does have decent multimedia features like HDMI, DLNA, and it comes preinstalled with Netflix. It is $249.99 after a two-year contract.

Last but not least is the long-awaited Motorola Droid Bionic. It was first introduced in January and finally made its real-world debut in September. The hardware is totally different: it's sleeker, and thinner. Indeed, Verizon claims that the Droid Bionic is the skinniest LTE phone in its lineup. The Droid Bionic is definitely at the top of the Android phone list for Verizon, with not only support for 4G LTE, but also a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP4 processor. This definitely improved the speed and performance of the phone. It has a lovely 4.3-inch qHD display, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and is the first 4G LTE phone to shoot 1080p video. It also boasts enterprise-level security, with device encryption and remote wipe capabilities. We also like its Webtop application, though we don't like the fact that you have to spend a lot for the accessories that are required to trigger Webtop. The Droid Bionic itself costs around $299.99 after a two-year service agreement with Verizon Wireless, which is already quite expensive.