We've seen a number of leaks of the HTC Thunderbolt leading up to CES 2011. But to hold the Verizon 4G LTE phone in your hand certainly is electric. <Ducks!> Seriously, though. HTC knows how to make smartphones. Verizon knows how to serve up the high-speed data. And combine them in this 4.3-inch, 1GHz Sense device (and the new Sense, too!), and we've got one powerful beast.

You get Wireless hotspot. You get the Skype video chat. You get games. You get Android 2.2 with a promise to upgrade to Android 2.3.

And you get our hands-on photos and video after the break.


Reader comments

First look at the HTC Thunderbolt


No need for a dual core right now with Froyo and Gingerbread on the way. Neither of those two OS's are designed to utilize a dual core. Honeycomb is and dual core will be the thing to have then. But, until then, why have a dual core if it's gonna be an outdated processor by the time you can have an OS capable of taking advantage of it?

You need to watch the video of the games that they can play on the Tegra 2 and be amazed. The T-Bolt would have been the outright winner if it had a dual-core that could run those games like that.

I agree. Motoblur and the motoblur based android skins look like cheap feature phone themes to me. Simple to use, yes, but so is sense.

It's a pass for me. I love my incredible and this is really nothing more than a larger version. If it was a 4" not 4.3" and had the Dual Core, I would be all over this phone.. but as is... it's just a larger one of what I already have.

i hear what youre saying. although the bigger screen is really nice after using my buddies evo. i can understand the single core, but why not even hdmi out. redzone and hdmi would be awesome. not one of the vzw phones is blowing my incredible out of the water. the atrix does...but not with att. thought CES would reveal a vzw super phone.

I've been quite underwhelmed by VZW's 4G offerings as well.

If only there were a way to Frankenstein the best bits of each of these phones into one ultra-phone.

I'm kinda with you on this one, so far the only new phone to really grab my attention is the Atrix. Luckily VZW seemed to hint at the ability to use other carrier's lte devices on their network (said all you need is a sim card and a contract), so I think that may be the way to go.

forgive my stupidity but how would that work, an ATT device on VZW net work? How does a SIM card play into VZW and would the Atrix have voice capability on VZW network? Very confused and ignorant here....

Not to be rude but you are def wrong about that. You can't and won't ever be able to use an ATT phone on Verizon. Not just that but the Atrix is not LTE capable only HSPA+ and Verizon doesn't have that and ATT will not have LTE until later this year, This is the damage with T-Mo and now ATT claiming there 3.5G network is 4G because the tech is not, the speed might be near it, but the tech is far from it. Tmo is going to have to do something because they have stretched their 3G network as far as it will go. There is a reason that 93% of the world will be LTE because it is next gen (thus 4G) and the first gen is faster than the furthest gen 3G can go. People tend not to look at this fact just the speed like the millions of dollars these companies are dumping into making the average consumer believe they have 4G.

Anyways back to the subject it does not matter if ATT was on LTE and the Atryx was LTE capable they will def be carrier locked you can bet on that, but hey maybe in the future there will be a chance thanks to the awesome devs over at XDA. Still won't happen with a phone that is HSPA+ (GSM) capable on a LTE (and CDMA) network like Verizon so if your planning an Atryx on Verizon you better get a dif plan.

Evo 4G, the first and still the best 4G device... Sprint 4G is so much more expansive than LTE. And nevermind 3-6 mpbs average downloads, everyday I get 8-10 mbps in good coverage areas.

I was all fired up to buy this phone and retire my Droid X. And had it been released 2 months ago I would have been impressed and purchased it. But in light of the Droid Bionic this has been relegated to my "Missed It By That Much" category. People can yap, yap, yap all they want about 2.2 not being optimized for dual core but the fact of the matter is that optimized or not the extra core will make a difference!

IMO, I think you're wrong. The dual core is built strictly for speed and if you don't have the RAM to utilize it nor is the OS built to take advantage of that speed then what is the point of having it? No offense to Moto b/c the Bionic is a nice piece of hardware and software, no question. But, technology changes so fast and the developers will never be able to keep up with technology. By the time the RAM is there to use a dual core and the OS can handle the dual core, there will be a better processor out and you will be playing catch up again. 1Ghz processor on Froyo and Gingerbread is more than enough to satisfy.

It's a Sprint EVO with the Verizon name. i thought this was supposed to be new stuff coming out not something that is almost 7 months old! This guy is really sad showing this off he dont seem to know his stuff.

Do you really swap SD cards that often?? Besides upgrading the SD card in my EVO, I've never swapped SD cards...

This looks like a nice phone. I dig the name because my favorite beer is Thunderbolt Red. I'm very happy with my Droid X though. Happy enough that 4G alone isn't going to enough to make me part with it.

im still getting this phone, the fact is doesnt have dual core doesnt matter to me. i can always get a phone with dual core later down the line. ill be glad to ditch my mytouch 3g and tmo.

Same here, this is the one I'm getting. 1Ghz and the RAM amount is plenty enough with how Froyo and Gingerbread is designed to maximize speed. Besides, by the time Honeycomb comes out and is designed to really utilize a dual core, there will more than likely be something better out than Tegra 2.

wow. no dual core is a let down whether 2.2-2.3 is optimized for it or not. and a "promise to gingerbread?" yeah...ill believe it when i see it.

I disagree. Dual core is not a "let down" IMO. You're not gonna put 93 octane fuel into a Pinto are you? No. That would be a waste of money when the fuel won't do the car any good. The dual core is the fuel and if the device, being the car, doesn't have the RAM and OS to take advantage of it then it's a waste. And HTC is pretty good, if not one of the best manufacturers, out there about getting updates to the carriers for release. Now, if this was Samsung saying this, then I might go with ya on it.

HTC was the first to bring Froyo to a non-Nexus phone, why are you so skeptical? HTC's build quality and speed of updates is far superior to any other manufacturer

Its an evo... on Verizon, with updated Sense.. Not that its a BAD thing, and if i was on VZW, i would snag it in a second, but not THAT great considering. With that said though.. i absolutely cannot STAND moto devices, so hopefully, this thing will get more HTC's out there!! :)

Ahhhh no HDMI mirroring?! I cant really find an answer for this Sam Smartphone or the LG Revolution. Does anyone have a specific answer? As Much as I looked forward to going to HTC too, DAMN Motorola and your terrible batteries!

Moto's batteries are just fine. I get at least 10-12 hours on my DX before i need to plug it in.

It boils down to which device will see the most modding action. Moto's locked bootloaders are a pain, Samsung is slow on updates and has wonky software issues, LG is too new, HTC may have only 1ghz but seems to bepretty good on updates from HTC and the modding community and is easy to fully root and customize. Too bad Moto didnt have an Atrix comparable setup on verizon, that device is pretty bad ass. Too bad they didnt make the screen on the moto desktop add-on removeable so it could act like a tablet as well.

The Droid Bionic will be an Atrix on steriods... and even support the same docking ability. Of course, I think the docking of the Atrix/Bionic is gimmicky at best, and way too expensive.

Not sure which phone to get now. I like HTC build quality and Motorola's Bionic dual processors sounds tempting

I was really excited for these launches, but not super impressed. I am so sick of Verizon and the manufacturers with their extra skins. It is why I still have the OG Droid. I think I am looking to T-Mobile with the Nexus S - though not crazy about the lack of SD slot. Maybe the G2. Any help on picking up a nice stock Android in the next 6 months?

Yes, if you are in an area that doesn't have 4G LTE then it will work on the 3G network, has both radios and will switch just like switching from 1X to 3G.

Can't wait for this to be rooted and sense 2.0 to be ported to my evo with everything working! as far as you "it doesn't have a dual core folks go" don't go chasing waterfalls, some of you are going to regret not picking up this one I guarantee. Not that dual core is ALL HYPE, it's legit it's just being used as MARKETING HYPE right now and alot of u are buying in.

I'll take this phone. Besides Motorola its the only one that has the "with Google " logo. And better than the Motorola, it probably won't have a locked bootloader.

Yep, looks like it's pretty much just an EVO for Verizon. Not that that's a bad thing though. Even after 6 months on the market, the EVO is still one of the best phones out there. I'm sure the devs will be all over this thing. I don't know that I would want to be stuck with it for 20 months though

Yea I feel you on the 20 months thing...Now that you put it like that the thing thats making this phone not as breath taking as everyone had hope is actually VERIZON. Think about it 20 month contract, premium charge on top of already steep pricing, and capped data.

So far as it goes, no capped pricing or premium charges like Sprint/AT&T. $29.99 unlimited data, PLUS free unlimited tethering/hotspot usage. No telling how long that will stay.

Its got the same resolution as the Evo just a Super LCD so it is brighter. I have really gotten to like Super LCD on my Dinc and like it better than AMOLED as it doesn't use Pentile Matrix display and is much better on the eyes and a lot more clear. This is one of the best parts of this phone and will be the only phone that is 4.3" and has Super LCD it was a big announcment at least for me. Good thing I work for Verizon and can and will get this and the Bionic when it comes out.

I'm done with Qualcomm processors. That's what I think. :-) Used one on an Evo, and I don't think I will ever long to use one again.

I'm prob going to end up with this phone. I have an iPhone 3G right now so I'm pretty sure this will blow the crappy 400mhz processor in my iPhone away. My biggest concern is battery life with this baby. A bit disappointing to see HTC would go with an even smaller battery then the Evo. For those Evo users out there, how bad is your battery life under normal use? Currently my iPhone wont make it a full work day under normal use but that's mainly because the phone is 2 and a half years old.

I had a 3gs before my EVO and the battery is slightly worse than the 3gs was. It's my biggest complaint with the EVO. I can't imagine this phone will be better - and with a smaller battery?? Its probably going to suck pretty bad.

My cousin has an evo and I have a droid x. When we hang out, she is always charging up her phone and she doesn't even use it as heavily as I use mine. I think bringing your charger with you to work or investing in a good car charger is a good strategy.

You all have to remember one of the great things about android phones. If you don't like it, change it! I bought an upgraded battery for my DINC for under $50 and it will last two days with heavy use. Get an upgraded battery!

IMO, most users could care less whether they have one or two core processing. It's a Techno Geek thing! This will be a great phone on VZW, just like the EVO on Sprint is, for those who do not like Moto phones.

Does anyone know if the housing of the phone is aluminum? I thought I read somewhere that it would be a while ago. And what about the HDMI port? It seems that they left that out since it has DLNA support, so there is really no use for it.

Its just another HD2, HD7, EVO 4G, nothing special. As I thought the Verizon version will have lower specs then the european version.

How does this have worse specs than the Desire HD (at least that is what I am thinking you are saying) It has the same size screen, but Super LCD, has the same processor and RAM and much of all the same. It is not lacking anything that I can see that the DHD has, but I may be wrong.

I agree with the guys that this really isn't any better than my DINC, just a little larger screen. With LTE not being available in my area right now, I don't see the need to upgrade to this phone just for a bigger screen. The other problem is I don't see ANY attention being put on battery life by HTC. To date, battery life is the ONLY gripe that I have with my DINC. I was hoping for a dual core processor to supposedly improve battery life 50% as the new LG phone claims. The other huge dissappointment is none of these phones will be released until Q2 at the earliest. What a downer!

Just because its a 1ghz processor doesnt mean its the same one thats in the evo. Look at how speedy the G2 is with just 800mhz. This thing will still be very very fast. What we should be asking is how good is the GPU is on this thing, and of course if its gonna be binged out.

Yea but whats the sense of LTE when you have a phone with such low specs!? Webpages wont render any faster then with a 3Mbit connection!

@ angermeans
I didnt mean the Desire HD I mean the european LTE version of the Thunderbolt, which will have a dual core processor.

i actually had the oppurtunity to have all the android devices verizon has to offer so far(due to my line of work) and i will say hands down i always said if the htc incredible was in the size of the droidx that would be my perfect phone...now thats a reality...im not worried the thunderbolt doesnt have the "dual-core" cause fact of the matter u will not see any difference because the rest of the specs r not optimize to take advantage of it.not a fan of any lg phone being that i always have to fix or replace them cuz they have to many problems...lg is not the way to go if u ask me there developers always seem to half ass it then try sending a software patch to fix things and it never does. having a phone on verzions lte network is gonna be like going to a 5star resturant. verzions lte network is much more vast and expanding then sprints network. this is my phone !!!!!!

guestion for anybody when i get this phone do i need to get the LTE card or not cuz i really dont get if u need it or not

Does verizon have any other cell phones before this one that take sim card cuz i dont know of any verizon phones taking them before this one

Heard it was delayed due to battery issues. If it ends up having horrible battery life like the Incredible, I can definitely pass on this. I would love a phone that doesn't need to be charged every 4 hours.

The guy giving the demo does not know if it has a tegra processor. Amazing... How do these people get these jobs. They obviously are not all that into what they are promoting.