06.21.2011Personal Tech

Review: iPhone 4 vs. Thunderbolt

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WOOD-TV blogger Nate Hoekstra gives an in-depth comparison of the iPhone 4 and HTC Thunderbolt.

Phones that will get you in trouble with your wife

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (LIN) - The iPhone 4 and the HTC Thunderbolt are two amazing smartphones – and if you’re anything like me, both will get you in trouble with your wife.

Let me briefly explain: Both phones have tons of features that will keep you busy for hours – playing Angry Birds for hours makes my wife mad. But only one phone has enough battery to keep the phone alive – she also hates it when I’m out of touch. Either way – for now let’s stick with the basics and get acquainted.

In general, both phones are solid performers: Lightning quick, versatile, and adaptable. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses, but both are great devices to have at your disposal when you need a powerful device on the go. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. One phone gets them right; the other gets them horribly wrong.

First Impressions:
As a long-time iPod touch owner, I immediately found the iPhone 4 familiar, intuitive, and easy to use. It’s bigger and heavier than the iPod, but for good reason. Many more features, more hardware, and two cameras. The extra bulk wasn’t noticeable, and the user interface was nearly identical.

I’m new to the Android game, so the HTC interface took some getting used to. My first impression is that the Thunderbolt is huge. The screen is nice, and the resolution easily competes with the iPhone Retina display, plus it’s much bigger. On paper, a few fractions of an inch doesn’t sound significant – but in hand, the screen on the Thunderbolt is massive.

But as a trade, the phone itself is just plain big. It’s bulky, and can be awkward to handle. I’ve got pretty big hands and sometimes holding with one hand and typing on the touchscreen was cumbersome.

Phone Usage:
I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone, but when I had to I found that the iPhone 4 was comfortable in my hand, easy to hold, and functional. I liked that the screen shut off and didn’t reactivate until I moved the phone away from my head. It’s like it knew when I needed to access something on the keypad. Great design feature.

The bulky HTC Thunderbolt was annoying to use for phone conversations. The phone is huge, but a really nice feature is the auto-speakerphone when you flip the phone face down. Both worked well on my Verizon service at my house in a Grand Rapids suburb – we get 3G without any problem and calls never drop.

The voice quality on the Thunderbolt was marginally better than that on the iPhone. Neither sound particularly amazing, but both are better than my old flip phone and function adequately. 3-way calling and conference features are equal on both phones – mildly cumbersome and awkward until you get the hang of it. On either phone, the calling features aren’t make-or-break, and both get the job done.

Read the rest of the review here.