After taking CES 2011 by a storm, it will be the fastest and most powerful smart phone to be released through Verizon Wireless. The 4G LTE network can provide up to 10x the speed of the data transfer rate than what the previous networks provide. In particular, Verizon‘s 3G network is limited to download & upload speeds of approximately 1.6 Mbps and .8 Mbps, respectively, whereas the 4G LTE network delivers speeds up to 12Mbps and 5Mbps. This means users can download a song in under 4 seconds. While Verizon is still unraveling their 4G network, users will still keep their access to the 3G services in the meantime.

Also aiding in the Thunderbolt‘s enhanced speeds is a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and the Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system, the latter of which offers enhanced browsing speeds and support for the latest version of Adobe Flash. The HTC Sense 2.0 user interface not only offers a more convenient experience, but also much quicker application processing. More importantly, the upgraded interface comes with full social network integration, meaning users can update their Facebook status, submit a Tweet, or even upload their photos to Flickr or Picasa.

What makes the Thunderbolt different from other phones is its video calling capabilities. By using the front-facing 4.3″ WVGA display and 1.3MP camera, in addition to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, users can engage in quality Skype-to-Skype video calls, a functionality that cannot be found elsewhere. Another feature that’s new to the market, though it can be found on other smartphones, is Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality, in which the phone can function as a hotspot so that up to eight other Wi-Fi-enabled devices (e.g., laptops, tablets, and phones) can access the Internet as well. The significant difference is that this phone will offer its hotspot proving 4G speeds.

Beside the 1.3MP camera, there’s a much more powerful 8MP camera on the front. This can be used to capture high-definition still images and record high-definition videos with audio. With Thunderbolt’s Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatibility, users can then submit these videos directly to their computer through Wi-Fi. Or, users can use the DLNA compliance and WVGA display to stream videos from a computer, such as those from YouTube or their own personal video library. Additional features include Bluetooth for connecting accessories such as a hands free headset, hands free headset, a SIM slot for global connectivity, and a batch of outdoor functions for the more adventurous type: compass, GPS, etc.

Overall, this phone is the first of its kind. As of 2011, it is the only mobile smart phone to offer ultra-fast 4G LTE data transfer speeds. It also sports a fast processor, a speedy operating system, and an upgraded user interface. Perhaps its greatest benefit is its vast functionality, in that it can be used to watch videos (indoor entertainment), engage in video conference calls (business), and even hike through the wilderness (outdoor entertainment), though an case and screen protector is recommended for the latter.

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