The HTC Thunderbolt is the highly anticipated first 4G phone that runs on the new Verizon LTE network. With promised download speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps, we were anxious to take a look.

One look at the HTC Thunderbolt box lets you know that this is a classy phone. The sturdy black box looks like a slightly-oversized watch box. As shown in Figure 1, it has the Verizon name embossed on the top. The sides are embossed with the HTC name.

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 1: The HTC Thunderbolt box

The box splits in half to reveal the phone in a cradle of bright red cardboard, as shown in Figure 2. The contents of the box are shown in Figure 3. These include the phone itself, a USB cable, a power adapter, a “Master Your Device” instruction booklet, several product safety and warranty brochures, and a small cardboard casing with the 4G SIM card.

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 2: The box interior

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 3: The contents of the box

While previous Verizon phones didn’t require a SIM card, their 4G LTE service has a SIM card that must be installed for the phone to work properly. A standard lithium ion battery and a 32 GB microSD card came pre-installed on our review unit.

As you can see in Figure 3, the HTC Thunderbolt is a typical black candy bar, touchscreen phone. Like the Motorola Droid X, the HTC Thunderbolt sports a 4.3-inch display. At 4.75 x 2.44 x 0.56 inches (121 x 62 x 14 mm), it is similar in size, but slightly thicker than the Motorola Droid X, as shown in Figure 4.

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 4: The HTC Thunderbolt (left) and the Motorola Droid X (right)

The HTC Thunderbolt, however, is quite a bit heftier. Weighing in at 6.23 ounces (177 grams), it is almost a full ounce heavier than the Droid X, which weighs 5.47 ounces (155 grams). Although this may not seem like much, there is a noticeable difference. The HTC Thunderbolt has a nice sturdy feel and is comfortable to hold in the hand, but it is no featherweight. If you compare it to a phone with a smaller screen, it will be considerably heavier. For instance, the iPhone 4 weighs in at 4.8 ounces (137 grams).

When using the HTC Thunderbolt, you will notice its weight in both your hand and your pocket. This is not necessarily a bad thing. We thoroughly enjoyed using the HTC Thunderbolt, and didn’t find its heft to be a detriment, but it is something of which every purchaser should be aware.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.