We knew the moment was going to come eventually, but Verizon and HTC sure made it a suspenseful ride for us the entire time. The HTC Thunderbolt is now available in stores for $249.99 with contract ($179.99 through Amazon or go through Wirefly and Use Coupon Code THUNDER0321 for $25 off) and we got sent a unit to play around with.
You may have heard already, but the Thunderbolt is the very first LTE smartphone to show up on Verizon’s superfast 4G network. This 4G network is different than the other 3 major carriers; Sprint uses WiMax, and T-Mobile and AT&T are currently on HSPA+. However, LTE has the highest capacity of them all in terms of overall network speeds and reliability, and the aforementioned carriers are all either planning on building out their LTE network, or at least highly considering it. We could very well see all 4 carriers using LTE at some point over the next few years.
As of this writing, Verizon claims speeds of 5-12 Mbps download and 2-5 up using the HTC Thunderbolt. I haven’t been able to thoroughly test the LTE network, though I will be taking the Thunderbolt to Orlando for CTIA, where Verizon has LTE up and running, and giving it a good thorough testing.
I’m very excited about the Thunderbolt because not only does it offer the 4G speeds, it also comes packed with every other spec imaginable. This 4.3-inch WVGA phone comes with 8 GB internal storage space AND a 32 GB MicroSD card pre-installed. I don’t think I’ve reviewed a phone yet that has come with 40 GB storage in the box. It also has the latest generation of Snapdragon 1 GHz processors (single-core, not dual) and 768 MB RAM, 8 MP rear camera and 1.3 MP front camera with 720p HD video, and 802.11n WiFi. It runs on Android 2.2 Froyo and uses HTC Sense. The phone actually reminds me a lot of the Inspire 4G in many ways.
You can also use the HTC Thunderbolt as a mobile hotspot and tether that 4G connection to up to 5 other wireless devices. The kicker on all this is that Verizon is offering free tethering on the Thunderbolt until May 15, before they begin charging you $20 per month. This is another reason to get the phone as soon as possible, so you can start taking advantage of that deal.
Here’s my video showing off the unboxing and a few first thoughts about the phone. Then, stay tuned for my review of the Thunderbolt shortly after CTIA.
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- Verizon HTC Thunderbolt ships on March 17, pre-orders start tonight, simultaneous voice&data confirmed