The HTC Thunderbolt has three removable parts: the battery, SIM card, and memory card. These may or may not come preinstalled. If they are not preinstalled, you must remove the back of the device to install them. As shown in Figure 5, the top of this phone has a power button on the left, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a microphone opening on the right. In between these is a notch that can be used to pry open the back cover. Although the instructions say, “With your thumb or finger, lift the back cover off from the notch on the top of your phone,” unless you have superhuman strength, you will have to use some hard object like a coin to pry off the cover.

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 5: The top of the HTC Thunderbolt

Once the cover is removed, you insert the memory card into the upper portion of the battery compartment and the SIM card into the lower portion. Each is clearly marked. Then the battery is inserted and the cover replaced.

HTC Thunderbolt Cell Phone ReviewFigure 6: The back with the cover removed

Setting up email is easy. The HTC Thunderbolt lets you setup AOL, Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, Windows Live Hotmail, and Yahoo accounts quite easily. You can also manually enter your own POP3 or IMAP accounts. Once the setup is complete, if you have more than one email account, you can view your email separately by account in a combined inbox. If you use a combined inbox, each account is marked with a different color bar, which is quite useful.

Your contacts and calendar can both be aggregated from a variety of accounts, so your calendar can show pictures and birthdays from Facebook right along with their email contact information. It all works pretty seamlessly. Every time you make or receive a call, if the contact that you are connecting with is one of your Twitter or Facebook contacts, you will see your friend’s latest status update on the screen. This integration is a function of the HTC Sense overlay that the HTC Thunderbolt uses. We’ll talk about that later in this review.

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.