Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Product Review: HTC Thunderbolt

The original title and lead in to this post was going to be a spin off of the 4th James Bond movie... "Thunderball" and I was going to include some sort of witty reference to the lyrics of the theme song by Tom Jones

You know something along the lines of "He knows the meaning of success... So he strikes! (dah dah dah dah dah) like Thunder BOLT"

But I decided against that.

So as you know, I decide to "Bite The Bullet" and leave my long time wireless provider T-Mobile and transfer my business to Verizon Wireless.

I decided to go with the HTC Thunderbolt, a full touch screen smartphone.

Here are a few specs in case you are wondering...

It runs Android 2.2, it has a 4.3" touch screen, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera, record video in 720p, comes with a 32GB microSD card preinstalled. It is bluetooth and wi-fi capable and (for an additional fee) can be used as a mobile hotspot for up to 10 devices.

Here are my thoughts on it...
  • They say it's one of the fastest phones on the market. (As I am new to the "android platform, I do not have much experience in this are to compare it against. However as a test of my own, I started up YouTube on the phone and in my browser on the laptop. Both running in wi-fi mode. I found the same six minute video on both units and clicked play at the same time. The phone loaded and began playing 5 or 6 seconds before my laptop did.)
  • There is a stainless steel "kickstand" on the back that is pretty nice, despite the engraved "Google" logo. You can prop it up vertically or horizontally to view your calendar, contact list, or a YouTube video. Only drawback to the kickstand is the mini-USB port is under the side of the phone that is resting on the table in horizontal mode. So you can't watch a video "widescreen" and charge the phone at the same time.
  • It has a fairly loud speaker embedded in the back of the unit. Sounds great with the kickstand out and watching videos or listening to music. Sounds slightly muffled with kickstand closed and on a phone call using it for a speakerphone.
  • Speaking of music, I love to listen to MY music while I'm working, or walking around the mall, but unless you plug in a wired headset or buy a stereo bluetooth headset, you are out of luck. It will not transmit music to the standard "mono" bluetooth headsets.
  • You get 7 screens to swipe through for you applications and widgets. I've got a bunch of apps that I've added to the already decent collection pre-installed and I still have almost 2 full screens that are empty. I dislike that most (if not all) of the pre-installed apps are permanent. You can't delete them unless you "root" the phone and hack into the operating system to make changes.
  • The other big drawback is the battery life. I guess I am a moderate to heavy user. Not so much with downloads or being online, but I am always on a phone call or sending a text, or adding appointments to my calendar. The battery will not go a full 12 hour day. Cost of doing business I guess. No one complains that a Ferrari only gets 8 miles to the gallon, because a Ferrari is fast and sexy. This phone is fast and, well I'll say "very attractive."
I'm sure there are tons of apps that would benefit me, but I haven't found them yet. However here are just a few that I have found that are working out well for this professional multitasker.

  • Email: It has a native mail client, but it works like Microsoft Outlook Express or similar. You can import your Hotmail, Gmail, etc, but it does not delete those emails from you web-based email account. So you have to log into your web-based account to clean out any unwanted messages. So I installed both the Hotmail & Gmail apps (Hotmail for my personal email & GMail for my business account which GMail automatically imports). One nice feature about the native email client though is you can attach almost any sort of file or document that is on your phone. With the GMail app, you can only attach a photo or video.
  • Documents: It comes preloaded with QuickOffice. Very nice program. It allows you to view and edit Microsoft Word & Excel documents. I also installed the Google Docs app to allow access to some files I have stored "in the cloud." I also installed Evernote to allow me to jot down reminders, random thoughts and ideas for blog posts and record voice notes to myself.
  • QR Scanner: Norton (as in Norton Anti-Virus) has an app to scan and read QR codes and (supposedly) their app prevents you from accessing malicious sites from a scanned QR code.
  • Package Tracking: There is probably an app that combines everything into one (for a price) but I like "free" and I tend to trust apps created by companies I am familiar with so I installed the FedEx app, the UPS app, and the USPS (US Postal Service) apps to track packages.
  • Directories: I grabbed the app from as well as
  • Social Media: Since I am constantly monitoring and engaging in Social Media for my business (and myself), I have the Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Foursquare, and 2 different Twitter apps (for my 2 different Twitter accts).
  • Virtual Assistant: Who needs Siri? I've got Princess Leiah. That's right. There is an app called "SpeakToIt" and you can change the appearance of the avatar and as I was scrolling through the options, you can give her the famous Princess Leiah "honeybun" hair-do and quasi-miliatry-looking shirt/jacket. By default the avatar's name is "Sam" but you can change that too.  If I can somehow record some video, I'll post it. But here is a picture.

So there you have it. I hope this helps someone. It looks like it is going to be a great tool for me to use to stay on top of my business and my daily life in general.

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