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Hatred for the HTC ThunderBolt Still Runs Deep



In a comment at Gizmodo, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak aka The Woz, claims that the HTC ThunderBolt was one of the worst gadgets that he ever bought. Fortunately for Woz (and unfortunately for HTC and Verizon), he’s not alone.

The HTC ThunderBolt was once touted, as many phones have been, as an “iPhone killer.” The ThunderBolt was Verizon’s first 4G LTE smartphone and equipped with a design similar to the wildly popular HTC EVO 4G, many thought that the phone would outsell the iPhone and take Android to unprecedented heights.

Sadly, the story didn’t pan out the way many expected.

The device’s launch was hampered with delays which immediately frustrated consumers and once the phone was finally released, it had an assortment of nasty bugs on board, chief among them, a random reboot issue that took months to fix.

Read: HTC Flip-Flopping on HTC ThunderBolt Ice Cream Sandwich Update?


The HTC ThunderBolt still haunts its owners.

In addition, the device suffered (and still does suffer) from poor battery life, a finicky mobile hotspot, and a host of other, smaller, frustrating issues that frustrated owners who bought into the hype.

As I’ve stated before, the HTC ThunderBolt’s problems are likely one of the factors that contributed to HTC’s many issues over the last year or so.

So here we are, over a year later, and former owners are still expressing their hatred for the device. In fact, the few people that I do know that stuck by the HTC ThunderBolt after the smoke cleared, got rid of it when all of the Ice Cream Sandwich nonsense began.

HTC has promised the ThunderBolt update for August but thus far, it hasn’t confirmed a roll out date. We have our suspicions about the roll out and we wouldn’t be surprised to see HTC cancel it all together.

Read: Blame the ThunderBolt for HTC’s Poor 4G LTE Smartphone Sales.

And I can’t even begin to think about the countless emails I’ve received in the months previous complaining about the ThunderBolt’s issues or the comments I’ve seen from people who bought it and regretted it.

Heck, even Phil Nickinson of Android Central calls it a lemon.

There are likely thousands upon thousands of Woz’s out there who bought the HTC ThunderBolt thinking it would be the best purchase they would ever make only to realize that it was the exact opposite.

Anyone out there feel the same as Woz about the HTC ThunderBolt?



  1. Madonna

    08/22/2012 at 12:28 pm

    Hate my thunderbolt but can’t upgrade till Dec.!!!!

    • george mellen

      08/24/2012 at 2:51 pm

      I can get “un-bolted’ on Thanksgiving Day!!!

  2. David Laird

    08/23/2012 at 8:34 am

    You and the rest of the “tech media” are on crack. No single phone is an “iPhone killer.” Android is the iPhone killer, owning the vast bulk of the smartphone market. When you can buy 50 models of iPhone, you can compare them side by side to individual android phones. Since that is not the case, instead compare platforms. Android is kicking the snot out of iPhone :-)

    • Adam Mills

      08/23/2012 at 10:07 am

      Before you accuse me of taking drugs (oh wait, you already did), consider this. I never said that the HTC ThunderBolt was an iPhone killer. I merely referenced the fact that others in tech media (who may or may not be on crack) did. And I see you point about Android but there is no denying that the ThunderBolt had a host of issues.

  3. VAMick

    08/23/2012 at 1:36 pm

    Me and my other four family members that all own the Thunderbolt really lucked out. The only issue has been battery life, and the battery life issue was known from the reviews prior to release. I knew it going into the store to buy my phone at 7:30 AM the day they were first available. I love it and when I upgrade will always look back fondly on the phone. So far I don’t see anything I would rather have except a phone with NFC and of course Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on the Samsung Galaxy. My friends that switched from Android to iPhones hate them (although we all agree they are more visually appealing).

    I don’t know who’s to blame for the slow update. You read one thread that says it’s Verizon then another that blames HTC. This is my second HTC phone and I really like their quality and HTC Sense, but as a person who likes the latest and greatest may have to switch to phones that get updates quickly (Google Nexus, Motorola) on a network that doesn’t stifle competition (Sprint???).

  4. Raven B

    08/23/2012 at 8:13 pm

    Your totally wrong thunderbolt did fine, and if there was a serious problem with the phone they would have recalled it. HTC makes great phone, I would never blame the product company but the people using it.All phones have problems thats way they make so many.And of course the co founder would say that, cause haters going to hate. So if the phone was so bad then why care?

    • AngryTurtle

      08/27/2012 at 5:32 am

      My TBolt totally sucks. Random reboots? They don’t seem random – three times yesterday. Service sucks – even when others have great service.

    • holmessph

      05/23/2013 at 5:28 am

      This phone is crap at best. I am now a month or two away from upgrading thank goodness.. The software is buggy, the batter life is terrible, and the reception isn’t even half as good as my Moto Droid1 from years ago.

      Even worse, the software when gets flaky when utilizing larger amounts of RAM.. When I have couple programs running at once (no big deal for most Android phones) this thing starts to give me phantom touches and goes crazy and my only recourse is to uninstall updates or programs I really would like to keep on.

  5. rob

    08/24/2012 at 9:13 am

    I will have to concur. Other than battery life I have NO problems with my thunderbolt. Matter of fact I love to put my thunderbolt against an iPhone. My thunderbolt layout is fantastic. Oh and as far as the phone re-booting. You are suppose to reboot your phone once a day to get rid of the static build up that all of these phones produce. Learn how to use any phone thay you purchase, you will have a better experience with the phone oppose to complaining what the phone can’t do.

    • AngryTurtle

      08/27/2012 at 5:38 am

      What kind of crap are you feeding us? You should reboot once a day? I sometimes have to reboot just to get the thing to recharge. I think you drank some HTC Kool-Aid. This phone sucks and I cannot wait to dump the thing.

    • Cloudchaser

      09/14/2012 at 7:34 am

      “You are suppose to reboot your phone once a day to get rid of the static build up that all of these phones produce. ”

      HAHAHAHA!!!! Thanks for the laughs.

  6. Gretchen

    08/24/2012 at 6:48 pm

    I love my Thunderbolt! The only problem I have had in 15 months is that the on-off switch is inconsistent in working every time and sometimes I have to put it on the charger to get it to come on! Yesterday it stopped working and I am guessing from what I have read it is a battery issue. I’m heading down to Verizon tomorrow to explore the reason that it stopped working! I would be very happy to have another Thunderbolt if the on-off switch was consistent!

  7. dave

    08/25/2012 at 10:30 am

    Hate it. Second worst phone I’ve ever owned, after a Samsung glyde. I’ve had mine replaced by Verizon six times for touchscreen issues, damage, and inability to keep a data connection on 3g, 4g, or Wi-Fi. Verizon had said they’ll no longer send replacements or allow me to switch. Entire experience had me counting down days until next lumia, so I can leave HTC and Verizon behind.

  8. Brett Olmstead

    08/26/2012 at 7:33 pm

    I love my Thunderbolt! Early updates took care of of the problems this author mentions. Battery life is also better than when it came out. For those out there still running the OEM battery, you can purchase the HTC Rezound battery and put it in your Thunderbolt. Give you almost 20% more juice without the ugliness of an extended battery pack!

    Still loving the Thunderbolt almost 2 years later, and that’s more than I can say about any phone I’ve ever owned.


  9. PaviRotten

    08/26/2012 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve had my T-Bolt since Black Friday last year. (It was free at the Best Buy near me.) Other than a few little issues here and there, battery life being the most annoying, I am pleased with my phone. The only thing I am waiting for now is Ice Cream Sandwich. If it comes to the T-Bolt, wonderful. If not, oh well.

  10. jt

    08/27/2012 at 8:16 am

    Other than battery life, mine has been fine. Its not like I’ve been easy on it either. It has been dropped countless times and still works like a champ. I’ll have to try the Rezound battery trick.

  11. Jason

    08/27/2012 at 11:06 am

    Yea, I’m on the love my Bolt Wagon. I never suffered from the reboot issues and really haven’t experienced any problems with it at all. My only frustration has been with the constant delays in getting OS updates. Gingerbread took way too long, and ICS is the same. As far as battery life, well that’s been a dark shadow over most Droids, and I solved it by purchasing a spare battery and external charger for it. I occasionally read the comments blog on HTC’s site and for the most part I’m convinced that a large portion of people just don’t know how to use their phones. There was a whole thread there on people complaining about a VM notification that wouldn’t clear. And people were writing how it’s proof of how crappy the TB is. Guess what? There’s an option in settings to clear it. They just never bothered to look for it. I’m a huge HTC Sense fan and overall, I’ve been happy with my Thunderbolt. I don’t even look at new phones anymore. I’m just hoping for a T-bolt 2! I’ve got about 8 months left for my upgrade and honestly? I’m perfectly fine with waiting. And I play with my phone ALL DAY.

    • Brett Olmstead

      08/28/2012 at 9:17 pm

      For real people. Check your settings if something ain’t right! Turn off wifi and blue tooth I you’re not using ’em, and keep the brightness in check. Battery is really not an issue anymore ESPECIALLY considering that you can pop in a fresh one whenever you want. Ebay has em CHEAP! Take that pooPhone.

      Thunderbolt rules!

      Like O’Doyle!

  12. James Wing

    08/28/2012 at 4:44 pm

    I hope the DLX will be my TBolt2. I decided to pass over the Ssung III for a quadcore.

  13. polo550

    08/28/2012 at 5:19 pm

    Worst phone next to the Blackberry Storm. Random reboot and dropped connections plague mines. I take care all of my phones and it looks like new. I will never buy another Htc phone again and it has me contemplating leaving Verizon. Slowest updates for phones ever.

    • Brett Olmstead

      08/28/2012 at 9:20 pm

      Ok the Storm was definitely worse. My forearms would get sore after typing! You had to press so hard…

  14. hugh59

    08/29/2012 at 3:23 am

    I bought my Thunderbolt on opening day. It has been an okay phone for me. I get an upgrade in November but I may wait and see if I can get more out of this phone. Once I am eligible for a discounted upgrade, I might experiment with the phone.

    As it is, battery life has always been a problem. I have gotten into the habit of keeping the phone plugged in where ever I go. The only time I have a real problem is if I am walking around for several hours (say at a conference). Then I need to switch off the mobile network. Of course, that does me no good if I want to web surf while I am waiting around. For that I bought an external battery that has enough stored power to let me go 2 days without recharging.

  15. David S.

    08/29/2012 at 7:45 am

    I like my Bolt, but then I have been running custom ROMS as soon as they were available. The ROMS corrected many of the “bug & annoyances” listed in this article. I’m sticking with my Bolt (currently running leaked ICS Rom) as long as possible, or at least as long as I can keep my unlimited data option with Verizon.

  16. Marc

    08/29/2012 at 8:27 am

    Absolutely LOVE my Thunderbolt which I’ve had since last November. Maybe I was fortunate and ended up with a good unit but it I hate to see a phone get so much hate when it has been a wonderful device for me (much better than my original Moto Droid). Therefore, not every Thunderbolt out there is hated. Quite the contrary based on a number of these comments. I know a number of people who have Thunderbolts who are very pleased with them as well.

  17. Sandra Williamson

    08/29/2012 at 5:48 pm

    Adept Verizonwireless salesman effectively moved me from iPhone eager buyer to excited owner of Thunderbolt after showing me by side-by-side comparison with iPhone. This was my 1st smartphone, initially, it was all very exciting as I discovered the world of apps. That initial excitement turned to extreme frustration as limited internal memory created need of massive deletion of apps, uninstalling updates, etc until VW tech with clout took pity on me & arranged for my RAZR!!! Sweetness!!!

  18. John

    09/05/2012 at 8:52 am

    It seems others have had the same experience that I have had. I have had no real problems with my Thunderbolt. Works well, fast, nice screen, drop resistant, more apps then I need. Not really sure who are the haters except those who are constant re-adopters. My friend saw my phone and as soon as 4g was available went out and got it. loves it. I am a little curious if the ICS update isn’t “delayed” until after the upgrade date passes.

  19. Kotawolf

    09/05/2012 at 7:04 pm

    Not sure what you are really complaining about… Battery life… I can tell when I have issues… when the cell signal sucks… my battery life sucks, there are areas that I go to and I will go from full to dead in about 4 hours.. but I’m usually sitting at less than half bars on cell signal.. Reboots… I don’t have that problem either.
    The only real problem I have right now is not the phone’s fault.. my dogs were rough housing and got caught in the charging cord.. yanked the phone off my desk and broke the charge port. So no the phone doesn’t suck but maybe your cell service does.. doesn’t matter where you live, I’m in Dallas and there are some dead zones here that no one gets service.. right in the middle of town… I have noticed that it is a bit slow to boot.. I’m having to use an external charger with a spare my phone is rebooted daily (for the last 2 months)

  20. Karen

    09/29/2012 at 11:30 pm

    Why I’m going back to my beloved Thunderbolt:

    In case I ever forget why I’m taking my soon-to-be ex Samsung Galaxy SIIII phone back, here are the reasons:

    The phone cannot take a picture while a call is in process .

    The text does not reflow, or resize, on web pages when pinch zooming in.

    The camera screen cannot be automatically lightened or darkened by pressing certain areas on the touch screen, thereby being able to do some awesome picture manipulations.

    The camera lacks the setting of vivid.

    Does not have a removable battery and cannot use an extended battery, have to depend on either charging a lot or buying an external battery pack and charging a lot.

    Does not have access to Google Wallet.

    Cannot stand the gallery.

    The gallery lacks the setting to organize pictures by date taken.

    Cannot delete pictures from the gallery view .

    Does not have the drop down bar that has the programs currently open integrated. I have to press the home key and hold it down to bring up the currently open programs.

    and… Drum roll… I lose my unlimited data plan…forever! Can I get a Hell no!!

    I feel great! I have a plan. Run, don’t walk, back to Verizon. Don’t hand, throw the phone back at them. Be happy with my wonderfully outdated HTC Thunderbolt, now rooted with ice cream sandwich. ;-)

  21. Bruce

    10/04/2012 at 7:28 pm

    OK, put me in the “haters” group. I’ve had this phone for a year (actually on my 3rd one). Yes the battery issue is there. I’ve made adjustments, but still….HTC should’ve put a better battery in it to begin with. I’ve been running with the extended battery for a year and it does OK with moderate use. Here lately, it is draining more quickly (and I have 2 batteries).

    I too suffered with random reboots; however, mine were not as bad as some who were rebooting 10-15 times a day.

    My first phone lost it’s GPS ability at about the 8 months mark and I was really needing to use the GPS at the time.

    Got the second phone this past June and rocked along pretty good. 3 week ago – though- I lost my data connectivity. In and out all of the time from nothing to 1X to 3G to 4G to phantom 3G/4G. Very frustrating since I use it for work.

    Talked to VZW multiple times and read/did everything I could find on the internet and saw others having same problem. Decided to root the phone to see if that would help. Nope. But I did find some neat roms, i.e. Killasense and Skyraider

    Got my 3rd phone from VZW today and haven’t had a chance to set it up. Hopefully, I won’t have any problems for a while, but I’m convinced that HTC and VZW dropped the ball on this one. And having said that, I’m wondering about the Android platform phones and their quality control.

  22. Brad Wellman

    10/05/2012 at 4:51 pm

    Ugh, my Thunderbolt pisses me off to no end. The screen always needs to “load” after I use any app, and the 4G data connection cuts out CONSTANTLY! Had to get the LTEonoff app to leave it in permanent 3G mode just to have a consistent data connection. What a friggin’ joke.

  23. Lmgerdau

    10/11/2012 at 1:31 am

    Yea the tbolt f-ing blows….Im on my 3rd warranty replacement… Calling again tomorrow to get yet another one….battery sucks, phantom touching, can’t ever retrieve pictures and then ofcourse the Damn ph just turns off … over this pile .

  24. Golf Monster

    10/12/2012 at 8:50 pm

    I had the reboot problem when it was new. I rooted and ROM’ed and installed a new radio. Battery life is great, phone is stable, hotspot is reliable. My only complaint is that sense slows down my phone. As soon as a fully working AOSP version of ICS is available, I look forward to using my thunderbolt for another year or so. I’m already on month to month. That’s how much I like this phone.

  25. Mark Mitchell

    10/16/2012 at 4:27 am

    Three of my family members and I have had the thunderbolt since release and I have to say its the worst phone we could have purchased! When on a call you have to press the power button to turn off the screen to keep the screen from coming on and pressing stuff with your cheek. Reboots often. Poor battery life. so many problems it would be impossible to list them all! Switching to iPhone late November!

  26. alexanderfit

    10/23/2012 at 9:30 am

    Besides the battery life, and well issues caused by my own tampering, I love my thunderbolt. Yea there are tons of phones that blow the doors off it but it when I couldnt afford any higher end phone I got this and was able to hotspot fine, great 4g speed, nice screen size, and hacked ICS on it to have an amazing phone for the price I paid. Still a shame because you should not have to hack your product this much to make it fit for purpose. All I am saying is you don’t have to have a hatred for it, there are many phones out there that have issues and need to be hacked to work right.

  27. Jerome

    10/24/2012 at 12:20 pm

    I had a Thunderbolt. With the extended battery it wasn’t too bad, but with the standard battery it was unusable.

  28. Mike C

    10/25/2012 at 5:36 pm

    I’ve had my TBolt for 18 months. I went with the iPhone for a two-week trial, and decided to return it for the Thunderbolt. I was so happy I made that decision until about three months ago. All the problems of rebooting and battery life and the screen coming on while I’m on a call, were ALL easy to work around. WHat has been impossible to work around is the constant loss of data connection I’ve been dealing with for the last three or four months. It’s been ridiculous. Facebook kicks me out; Twitter kicks me out; my Google Maps kicks me out. I’ve done the factory reset several times. I’ve replaced the sim card and had a warranty replacement. Nothing has worked. Verizon has finally offered me a comparable replacement of another model, or an early upgrade. I refuse to give up my unlimited data package. So I’ve decided on the Motorola Razr Maxx. I’ll have it Monday. Wish me luck.

    I do want to say that the Verizon customer service has been great. I’ve just had to be a little patient, and remind people I’ve been a loyal customer for a long time. I can tell that the company doesn’t want me to keep my data plan. I feel like an old New Yorker from the ’50s who live in a rent controlled apartment worth ten times what they’re paying. Verizon is just waiting for me to die. But the people in the call centers, especially the tech support people, are just consumers like me. They’ve been empathetic and helpful.

    The best suggestion I’ve been given is to wait until the iPhone5 and the Galaxy s3 being sold cheap on Craigslist.

    • Bobby

      11/09/2012 at 6:17 am

      I have been happy with my tbolt, I do get very rare surprise reboots, but other than that the phone has not caused me the problems that I have been reading here.
      I went from the original droid to the tbolt and have really enjoyed the phone. I have dropped it multiple times and the phone keeps on ticking. The only complaint I have is the battery life, but that appears to be a teething problem with 4g as much a thunderbolt problem. Hoping that manufactures realize that the phones are thin enough and that battery size trumps that.
      I would definitely get the droid dna, but I will probably keep the tbolt ao I can hold onto unlimited data….

  29. VIK

    11/23/2012 at 7:19 am

    I’ve had my T-bolt now for just over a year, and it’s become worse and worse. I loved it when I first got it, but now, I have constant issues with it loading Facebook, browser, my text messages, you name it, I see 4G and 4 bars on the phone but nothing loads! I hate it! It fluctuates from 4G to ZERO off and on, I can’t wait to get away from this stupid phone, biggest mistake I ever made with choosing a mobile phone. I repeatedly see the “refresh” icon on top and it won’t load anything. I thought the DROID was bad, but this one takes the cake!

  30. Dr. Otto

    12/03/2012 at 10:23 pm

    on my 4th thunderbolt. loses connection to one of my wireless access points in my clinic. Can’t close programs. run adv task killer and that doesn’t kill them either. btery problem getting worse. Where do I go from here? Apple. Microsoft, different Android?

  31. rich russell

    12/04/2012 at 9:49 am

    T- bolt was my first smartphone a year and a half ago. Needed weather radar, emails for my business and T-bolt was touted at Verizon as the latest and greatest. Discovered quickly that I needed a bigger battery, stock would not last a day. Rebooting problems, but not as bad as some have reported. My biggest complaint is “phantom” activation of features such as web sites, and even hanging up in the middle of phone calls, by heat of face or ear. Can’t live with this. Verizon wiped phone and reinstalled software and problems still there. It’s a shame to have to throw away something like this. I’ll see what other bad decisions for a new phone I can make with Verizon when I’m eligible for re-up next week. Maybe Windows phone. Rich

  32. kgm0n

    12/27/2012 at 9:18 am

    Too many problems with the Tbolt, I’m on my 3rd replacement. I hate it. I will never go near another HTC phone.

  33. jen

    01/16/2013 at 12:39 pm

    On my second HTC thurderbolt I hate it I have to take battery out like 5 time a day cause my internet don’t go off or it freezes should have keep my iPhone

  34. Mark Parker

    06/12/2013 at 9:28 am

    Got TBolt in April 2011 when it first came out. Initially chose it because HTC build is considerably more solid than the plasticky Samsung phones. Finally had to replace battery 4 months ago, haven’t had any problems. At least the battery IS replaceable, not like some of the new plastic crap that is locked together….that’s called built in manufactured obsolescence. Next time will go to a Nexus as I hate all the carrier undeletable apps.

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