Smart Phone Madness Game 9: HTC Thunderbolt vs. Samsung Nexus S

The second round of Smart Phone Madness starts today, with the HTC Thunderbolt vs. the Samsung Nexus S. Which will win – the blazing fast 4G or the pure Google experience?

As a reminder, this poll will remain open until Sunday at midnight.

The HTC Thunderbolt (which we just reviewed) isn’t just another Android phone. This is the first handset that will be able to tap into Verizon’s superfast 4G LTE network, promising speeds from 5 to 12 Mbps. During our own tests, we saw download rates of 4 to 13 Mbps, and even faster rates when we tethered it via USB. The Thunderbolt has an EVO-sized 4.3-inch screen, a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM 8655 processor, 8GB + 768MB of RAM, and a 32GB microSD card. The phone will run Android 2.2 with HTC’s smart Sense overlay, feature an 8-MP camera with an LED flash, and sport a 1.3-mp front-facing camera for Skype video calls. Unfortunately, it lives up to its namesake in more ways than one: While it’s as fast as a bolt of lightning, it’s as short-lived as one, too.

The first phone to run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), the Samsung Nexus S is the closest thing you can get to a pure Google experience on a smart phone–unless you still have a Nexus One. The Nexus S has a cool Contour Display that’s slightly curved for a better fit against the side of your face, and its Super AMOLED technology provides a bright and crisp picture. Another first is the built-in NFC  chip, which will let users instantly look up or exchange information with a tap. (Someday soon you might be able to use this handset as a wallet.) There’s a 5-MP camera on the back, but it can’t record 720p video. We were also disappointed that the phone doesn’t support 4G speeds on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network. Overall, though, this is a powerful device.

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  1. Phil Says:

    How can all these people be voting for the thunder? They phone just came out. You can’t just go off of specs people! Nothing can beat a vanilla Android experience.

  2. destardi Says:


    Until Samsung keeps its word about updating their phones, then I’d say the Samsung nexus s sucks.

    Had the Fascinate; it had a couple of good qualities, but other than that, lag lag lag.

  3. Yeahwhatever Says:

    HTC Thunderbolt has a better processor (with the exception of graphics), has 4G, and looks way better than the Nexus S aka not cheap.

  4. i told u Says:

    nexus s blows I had one for a month and it was the worst phone Ive ever used. VANILLA experiance dont make me laugh. Word of advise for anyone considering this horriable phone DONT DO IT.

    Vote Thunderbolt

  5. Scott Says:


    The Nexus S recieves ALL of its updates straight from Google. Samsung doesn’t make builds of the pure google OS.

  6. Andrew Says:

    If it runs stock Android then I would assume Samsung doesn’t release the updates and that Google handles that.

  7. jimmyk0789 Says:

    If the phone is not out in the us it should not be. In. this tournrment

  8. alexj Says:

    i feel like i am watching zoolander. its an EVO!! with an LTE radio and a different back plate lol

  9. Omegablues Says:

    It’s not a competition if the original HTC EVO isn’t involved! Why was it left out? It’s obviously a finalist.

  10. zarif Says:

    Phil, Vanilla Android experience is horrible, I played with the nexus s less than 3 days ago, Vanilla Android experience needs to improve dramatically if they want to compete with any other smartphone.

  11. Jules Says:

    Why is there no European Htc devise? We’re always left behind :( :D

  12. Sammy Says:

    I said it last time and i will say it again .. I really hated my Nexus S .. once i finished Angry Birds it was SOLD and never to be in consideration .. the whole “Vanilla” experience and updates from Google was what loured me into getting it but guess what ? the Vanilla experience SUCK on this particular device .. you will be better off with a Nexus 1 !! and i am way better off with my Bold 9780

  13. Herinel Says:

    Thunderbolt is a beast! Nexus S is a nice phone but Samsung doing the manufacturing did not help it out at all. Thunderbolt is the best phone on verizon by far. Believe me ive had the droid 2 , fascinate and Droid x before I got the thunderbolt. Keep on voting!

  14. anon Says:

    destardi, this is the nexus S, not the galaxy S. It relies on google for software, not samsung.

  15. Niru Says:

    I got the Thunderbolt the day it was on Verizon. The speed is Unbelievable, just like my fios. HTC Thunderbolt all the way!!!!!!!

  16. UltimaDX Says:

    Seriously i do not know why people are hating on the nexus s. I got my nexus few months ago and although there were some problems, Google was quick to fix them and now I have 0 complaints. I thought about the thunderbolt but it being locked to a cdma network was a huge dealbreaker for me. Having an unlocked GSM phone without contract is a bliss. I only pay $10 a month for all my wireless needs:-D living the american dream…thanks to my nexus:-)

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