As the first 4G LTE phone for Verizon Wireless, there’s a lot of pressure on the HTC Thunderbolt to deliver blazing speeds, especially since it costs $249. We just got our hands on this powerful 4.3-inch Android phone and wanted to share the first test results.
Speeds On the Phone
So far we’re seeing fantastic speeds, even if they’re slightly erratic. The Thunderbolt is notching downloads ranging from 4 Mbps up to 13.8 Mbps, pretty much within the 5 to 12 Mbps range claimed by Verizon. So far so good. (Oh, and ESPN.com loaded on the browser in just 4 seconds.)
Speeds On the Laptop: USB Tethering Mode
When we plugged the Thunderbolt into our laptop via a USB cable, we saw a pop up asking us to install drivers. Then we were directed to to turn on Internet sharing in the settings. Once we did that, we saw fantastic speeds on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. We got 19.9 Mbps down and 5.5 Mbps up on our ThinkPad T410s. Sweet!
Speeds On the Laptop: Hotspot Mode
So far we’re seeing mixed results when using the Thunderbolt in hotspot mode, where the phone basically acts as a mini wireless router. On one laptop, the ThinkPad T410s, we couldn’t get downloads above 2 Mbps. However, on a second notebook, the Asus U31, we saw speeds in excess of 14 Mbps down and 4.8 Mbps up.
When we connected a Verizon iPhone 4 via Wi-Fi to the Thunderbolt, we saw results range between 3 and 6.6 Mbps on the download and 6.3 to 8.5 Mbps uploads. Then we connected yet a third laptop, the Dell XPS 17. This time the Thunderbolt delivered a solid 8.17 Mbps down and 4.16 up.
What does all of this tell us? While the Thunderbolt is capable of fast throughput in hotspot mode, it’s not as fast as connecting a USB cable. More important, performance in hotspot mode can vary greatly based on the strength of a laptop’s Wi-Fi connection.
Stay tuned for further updates and our full review of the HTC Thunderbolt.