The HTC Thunderbolt just released today, so we just had to get one to open up and peer into. Before watching the video, here’s a few things worth noting about the Thunderbolt:

  • It runs Android 2.2, not 3.0 (the only device with 3.0 is the Motorola Xoom, a tablet)
  • The display is 4.3″ and 800×480. In the video below, I incorrectly stated it’s 4″
  • The Thunderbolt runs on Verizon’s 4G LTE network
  • The camera on the back is 8MP, not 5MP. Once again, I incorrectly stated the latter
  • Like the HTC Wildfire, the Thunderbolt has an FM radio. It also requires a headset to use as an antenna

Now let’s take a deeper look.

The HTC Thunderbolt doesn’t feel unique to other 4.3″ handsets, except for it’s bulk. It feels heavier, though the screen does feel smaller, which is perhaps why I thought it was a 4″ display at first glance. After about an hour of playing around with the Thunderbolt, I do have a few cool things to share.

First, updates to HTC’s Touchsense software (the overlay for Android) has some significant improvements over prior phones. It’s still fast, but now includes a list of open apps currently running on the drop-down menu. Users can easily scroll through and pick any recent app, almost like you would by double-clicking the home button on the iPhone.

Next is the Flashlight app. This is built into the Thunderbolt, and if it’s not new, my sincerest apologies. Flashlight doesn’t use the display as a light (by making the screen completely white and at max brightness), but instead uses the twin LED flash for the camera as, quite literally, a flashlight. It’s a neat little trick that is infinitely better because the app ships with the phone.

I did have the misfortune of using the Thunderbolt out in the sun first, before indoors, and the screen was harder to read than my iPhone 3GS. Using a standard LCD display, this is surprising. More recent devices tested, including HTC’s own HD7, were much easier to use in direct sunlight. But I’ll have to conduct further testing to confirm.

Those are my ever-so-brief first impressions, along with the video unboxing above. Stay tuned for a full review and writeup on the HTC Thunderbolt!

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.