Verizon’s first 4G smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt just arrived at my door. Available tomorrow, March 17, for $249.99 on contract, Thunderbolt was first seen at CES in January, and faced at least one delay before finally hitting the store shelves. Comparable in some ways to Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G, Thunderbolt is a big, bad Android phone with equally strong focuses on multimedia and speed.
I’ve only had time to unbox Thunderbolt – twice, actually, as my memory card failed when I tried to edit the first go-round – but so far it’s living up to the hype. Thanks to a Pantech USB modem, I’ve been using Verizon’s LTE network for data access for a month or so, and I’ve been very impressed. Both in my neck of the woods up in the San Francisco/Oakland area and on a trip down to San Diego, I’ve been seeing speeds in line with what Verizon’s advertising: 10-15 MBps down and 4+ up, with regular peaks up to 22 down and 12-15 up. That’s easily on par with my home cable modem (I can’t get FiOS at my address, don’t rub it in).
If you watch the unboxing video you’ll see that I ran some head-to-head speed tests between ThunderBolt and my laptop using said USB modem. The SpeedTest.net app for Android literally can’t handle ThunderBolt on the LTE network – I was getting some crazy upload numbers, and Mark Spoonauer from Laptop Magazine verified for me via twitter that the app just can’t deal with this device and network. So I’ll run some more tests using ThunderBolt as a WiFi hotspot and post the results later.
Meantime, a few specs to chew on as you contemplate laying out $250 up front and $39.99/month (minimum) for voice plus $29.99/month for unlimited data plus an optional $20/month for 2GB of mobile hotspot service for a Thunderbolt:
HTC Thunderbolt Specs
- 1GHz Qualcomm Processor with 768 MB RAM
- Android 2.2 OS with HTC Sense
- 4.3″ WVGA multitouch display
- 8GB internal storage + 32 GB microSD Card
- 8MP camera with autofocus, dual-LED flash and 720p video capture
- 1.3 MP front-facing camera
- 4G / 3G/ WiFi Data Connectivity with Optional Mobile Hotspot capabilities
- Aluminum body with soft-grip plastic back and flip-out kickstand
So who’s getting in line for a Thunderbolt of their own?