Verizon’s first 4G smart phone underwhelms

HTC Thunderbolt
VW's 4G plans

I was worried when I upped for a 3G Verizon Wireless iPhone when it came out in early February. Now that I have had a chance to play with Verizon Wireless’s first 4G phone, the HTC Thunderbolt, I am worried no more.

Verizon’s 4G LTE network feels only marginally faster than  my 3G iPhone. And when it comes to ease of use and fun, the iPhone wins hands down. For once, I feel good about a technology decision and this one locks me into a 3G phone for the next two years.  My hometown 40 miles north of Boston is still 10-15 miles away from the 4G LTE coverage area so I have to be on my way to Boston or Lawrence to the west to get 4G.

Verizon Wireless promises that 4G is “lightening fast.” It isn’t so far. Yes, it’s faster, but there’s a definite latency for web pags to unfold on the unit’s 4.3 inch display. I wonder if the problem is the Thunderbolt’s display technology and not 4G. Either way, I have not been wowed by Verizon Wireless 4G.

VW's 4G plans

You can read plenty of the phone itself elsewhere, but here’s a few impressions. It feels heavy and has one of those on/off keys with an annoyingly indistinct feel. Battery life is poor. I can put in a full charge, turn the phone off and several days later, the phone is dead.

And I much prefer the one button navigation of the iPhone to the Android-based model’s four.

The phone itself is heavy at 6.23 ounces and feels it to the svelte 4.8 ounce iPhone. Quite honestly, there is no comparison.

I have no doubt Android junkies will like this phone with its 4.3 inch display to the iPhone’s 3.5 inch screen. Admittedly, I loved Android smart phones before I had a iPhone and turned traitor. I suspect, though, I am not alone.

My advice: wait for the 4G iPhone and certainly for 4G to come to your neighborhood. Hopefully, 4G will be faster on the iPhone. As always, the rule of thumb with a new technology is avoid being first. The HTC Thunderbolt once again proves the wisdom of this rule.

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