The other obvious oddity is software. Back in the day HTC famously built their own CDMA2000 support into Android 2.1 1.5 and released a host of devices. Android 2.2 1.6 (Got my versions screwed up, thanks Brendan!) swung around and built all of that in natively, and most of the world didn’t notice much difference, thankfully. Odd quirks such as cell standby showing inordinate power use in "about battery use" were about the only manifestation of this hack, outside phone test menus.


History loves to repeat itself, and this time the situation is that Android 2.2 lacks native awareness for 4G LTE. As a result, you get odd things hanging around like the 20 MB YouTube WiFi upload restriction, and the 128 MB mobile upload (for any connection) file size limitation. I’m sure a number of similar things are floating around, all of which previously pandered to the limitations of 3G that have no business being around anymore.

My closing thoughts with regards to LTE on the Thunderbolt are that it’s impressively fast, fast enough that it now feels like loading through pages is now CPU-bound instead of network-bound. In many ways that’s a much better situation to be in, as SoC updates follow Moore’s law, and network updates seem to eons to roll out due to spectrum reallocation, network build out, testing, and finally hitting go. Dual core is the solution, and it’s a shame the Thunderbolt isn’t. Right up that alley is MSM8960 and MSM8930, which are dual core and single core Krait, respectively. A quick refresher on Qualcomm’s naming scheme for SoCs is that the second digit connotes what cellular network standard support is built in: 2 is for 3GPP family only connectivity (GSM, EDGE, WCDMA/UMTS, HSPA), 6 is for 3GPP and 3GPP2 connectivity (so everything above, plus CDMA2000, EVDO, e.t.c.), and 9 now will mean LTE. 

With both MSM8960 and MSM8930, the LTE modem is built into the SoC, resulting in both smaller overall package size and likely notable improvements in power consumption from everything being made at one process. At that point, LTE becomes much less of a design challenge, and I expect battery life to be better as a result. If you want something to wait for, it’s MSM8960. The other thing to watch for are the successors to MDM9600 - the MDM9615 and MDM9625, which were announced during MWC. The former is targeted towards a 28 nm process offers some performance increases alongside reduced power consumption and a smaller overall package, making it ideal for handsets. The latter is a category 4 device (as opposed to category 3 for the former two) and thus offers a higher level of performance, and likely will go into USB modems and other data-centric platforms.

Battery Life Testing and Sound Quality Analysis Display Analysis


View All Comments

  • deadsix - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    First of good review well done. I'm an Incredible 1 owner do you think I should wait for a the Droid Charge or the Bionic or snag a T-bolt now. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    Hard to say honestly - dual core (Tegra 2) will come with the Droid Bionic, and the Droid Charge we will have a review of shortly is Hummingbird + MDM9600. We'll also have the Incredible 2 piece up later this week. Lots of choices coming up!

  • michael2k - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    How the heck do you live with that kind of battery life? Reply
  • sooper_anandtech12 - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    You don't. Nearly everyone I know has returned the device. They're either rocking the LTE OnOff app to manually switch back and forth. Or it's sitting on a VZW shelf ready as a refurb device. Most people can't live with this kind of battery life. The guy who works in my office went off and bought an extended battery. It's seriously JITT. Makes a heavier and fat phone even more heavy and fat. Reply
  • hans007 - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    i've had the tbolt for almost a month now.

    the battery life is really not that bad, i don't even turn off LTE and it makes it easily through a day.

    you do have to charge it every day, but if you don't have like 700 widgets running it seems fine.

    I had a G1 and a ton of other android phones. It really doesn't do much worse than the G2 I had, and it gets i'd say much better battery life than the G1 did. The only phone i've owned tha twas a lot better battery wise were a mytouch 3g slide and a optimus V which both happen to have basically the same arm11 600mhz "budget" 45nm cpu and much smaller screens.
  • HangFire - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    I have a Thunderbolt. If I start the day with a full charge, make and take several calls, check e-mail and read e-mail hourly, and do a little surfing after dinner, the battery indicator is still green when I plug it in for the night.

    I took a trip to a neighboring city, forgot my charger, used Google Navigate satnav for an hour driving, used Google maps repeatedly, made and received several calls, used satnav an hour on the way home, after 9 hours it was just getting into the yellow.

    Battery life is not ideal or a selling point, but it is a usable phone.
  • guoxing - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    it's really a good cell phone if you want to buy it i suggest you go to know Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    Why are so many smartphones advertised with that stupid huge flip clock... Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    It's standard on HTC phones that's why. It's part of the UI they build into the base OS. If I am not mistaken it's a widget that you can turn off if you prefer. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - link

    So it's a first-gen phone with some nice hardware, but ultimately something you wouldn't want to stick around with too long after 2nd and 3rd gen chipsets arrive with integrated GSM / CDMA / LTE solutions.

    My personal opinion? LTE is nice, but I'd stick to USB modems and mobile hotspots and go from there. Transition over to an integrated LTE smartphone once a) the OS fully supports it and b) there isn't crazy power drain.

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