Video Review – HTC Thunderbolt 4G and Verizon 4G Mifi

I had a chance to review the HTC Thunderbolt 4G smartphone and the Verizon 4G Mifi unit, thanks to Verizon Wireless and Kyle Communications, Verizon’s PR firm here in Indianapolis.

Right after I reviewed the video, and griped for several seconds about the battery life on the Thunderbolt, James from Kyle Communications showed up to pick up the phone, and told me the reason the battery life is so short is because this is a 4G unit, and it’s carrying a bigger load. Some people have said the Samsung unit has a better battery life, but James says that’s because it’s still a 3G unit. He says Samsung’s new 4G Fascinate will have similar issues. However, they have an extended battery available at Verizon, although James didn’t know much about it. My only concern with the Thunderbolt, other than the one I stated in the video, is that the battery life could be an issue if you find yourself in a place where you don’t have any access to power. Otherwise, you’ll want power cords in your car, your office, and your home just to make sure you don’t run out.

Do you have a Thunderbolt or a Samsung Fascinate? What have you found? Do you use a Mifi? Love it or hate it? Let me know what technology you’re using, or what technology you would like me to review, and I’ll see what I can do.


After I posted this video, I received an update from my new bestie, Michelle Gilbert, the Verizon PR genius who arranged for me to review these units. (She can be even more geniuser if she can arrange for me to do a two year review of the Xoom.) Here are some corrections she offered, and I’m just posting them verbatim.

With respect to the 4G mobile hotspot device, you are correct that when you tether it to your laptop (for charging or any other purpose), you make it a private connection. If you charge it in the wall, however, you can still use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

I also wanted to address your concerns about the battery life on the Thunderbolt and your conversation with James. James is correct that a 4G device works harder than a 3G device, so battery life may be impacted. With that being said, however, I have used both devices and do feel that the Samsung DROID Charge has stronger battery life. I think it boils down to what operating system does a customer prefer – HTC or Samsung? Both are great devices. I do agree with you that Thunderbolt users should invest in an extended battery and car charger.

For your blog post, I’m not sure if you want to clarify, but there is no 4G Fascinate. The Samsung 4G smartphone is the DROID Charge.

After Michelle’s clarification, I am convinced that I’ll stick with the HTC and just get the extended battery. And given the fact that I take my laptop with me everywhere I go, I can always plug the USB charger into the computer and charge up the Thunderbolt that way. Plus if they made one for the mini-USB, I would even consider getting a hand crank charger.

Thanks again to Michelle for the great information, and for letting me try out these new devices. Looking forward to getting one of my own.

My new HTC Droid

Me and my DroidI’m loving my new HTC Droid on Verizon right now, although I’m worried about my motivation for buying it. I finally decided to get it because Chris Brogran got one.

Now, I’m not the kind of guy who buys stuff because some celebrity says so. In fact, I will often go out of my way to not buy something because a celebrity did. Ashton Kutcher is schlepping some new camera? I won’t buy it. Peyton Manning has a new MasterCard commercial? He’s one of my favorite players, but I’ll stick with my own credit card.

I realize Chris is not actually a celebrity (he’s what we call a “cewebrity”). But after reading Chris’ book Trust Agents, especially his chapter on “One of Us,” I decided I could trust him. Chris uses a cell phone all the time. If he decided he couldn’t live with AT&T’s crappy network anymore, and that the Droid was a pretty good deal, then maybe it was time I joined the 21st century and got rid of my old flip phone. (It wasn’t that old.)

Basically, I was torn in three directions: do I get the Droid and stay with Verizon (I’ve been with them for 8 years)? Do I wait to see if the iPhone becomes available to Verizon in Q3 2010? Or do I leave Verizon and go to AT&T just to get an iPhone and have to deal with a network that most of my Indianapolis friends detest?

Once I saw that Chris Brogan — One of Us — had made the switch, I knew which one to get.

So my wife and I took advantage of Verizon’s Buy One Get One offer on the Droid ERIS (which I think should be called the ERIK, but they didn’t ask me), as well as our upgrade credits and rebates, and got two of them for $24. Not a bad deal.

I’m still learning how to use it, but I’m starting to see all the cool stuff the Droid can do: Twidroid for Twitter, Evernote, Google Latitude with turn-by-turn directions, and — God help me! — Foursquare. (I am seriously digging FourSquare. It makes me want to get out more.)

I’m still fiercely clinging to my celebrity independence, and refuse to be swayed by someone’s popularity when I know they’re nothing more than a shill-for-hire, pimping out their name and reputation to the highest bidder.

But I’m also wondering if Chris will autograph my Droid the next time I see him.