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A few weeks ago I traded in my Motorola DroidX for a new HTC ThunderBolt. Even though we don't have a 4G network here in Flagstaff yet, I often travel to places that do, and the ThunderBolt's big screen, fast processor and ample memory were enticing.
So far my experiences with the ThunderBolt are decidedly mixed. The performance IS nice, the screen is very good and the battery life is tolerable if you turn off the 4G when you're not using it. However...
Just say "XYZZY"!
How exactly do you turn off the 4G? Settings...wireless...networks....uh, no. Settings...Mobile...Internet...uh, no. In fact it's a very simple matter of opening up your phone's dialer and dialing "*#*#4636#*#*". Yes, really. That puts you into some kind of secret configuration mode. Then you can choose "Phone Information" and if you scroll down you can change the "Preferred Network Type" from "CDMA + LTE/EvDo Auto" to "CDMA auto (PRL)". But of course! Why didn't I think of that?
User Interface: FAIL
"In 300 feet turn....blank."
The HTC ThunderBolt has a disturbing tendancy to reboot spontaneously. To make matters worse it seems to do this most often when I'm using the Google Navigation app...leaving me hanging while the phone shows me a stylish lightning bolt and the street I was supposed to turn on goes by.
My HTC screen just suddenly goes black and stays that way, unresponsive, for what seems like a minute or so. Then you get the distinctive "HTC" splash screen, and it becomes clear that the phone is booting up. No warning. No explanation.
Some users report this happens to them multiple times a day. So far I've been lucky and it's only happened to me 1-2 times a day. Verizon and HTC reluctantly admit that they know about the problem and are working on a fix. Hope it comes soon...before I miss another exit.
"You Wanted to Sleep In, Didn't You?"
I use my phone as my alarm clock - have for years. The ThunderBolt, however, has another disturbing problem. The built-in alarm clock tends to snooze itself for no apparent reason. I saw this happen again today - luckily I woke up on my own. My alarm went off, at 5:45AM, as instructed, but within about 2 seconds it went silent again. 5 minutes later, it went off again...only to automatically snooze itself 2 seconds later. I never even had a chance to reach out a hand so I know it wasn't touched. I saw the same behavior a day or three earlier.
It's a little disconcerting that the alarm clock app is unreliable that way - and has me reluctantly considering downloading a separate alarm clock app.
The ThunderBolt is a nifty little device, but it still has some fairly significant bugs. Hopefully they'll be resolved in a forthcoming software update.