I have been trying out the ThunderBolt and I have found it to be a speed demon. Simply put, when used on Verizon’s LTE network—which isn’t yet available everywhere—the ThunderBolt delivered by far the fastest cellular data speeds I have ever experienced on a wireless phone. In my tests, it blew away not only common 3G phone speeds, but the 4G speeds offered by rival carriers. In fact, it was faster than many home land-line Internet connections.
In dozens of cellular-data tests I conducted in two metro areas—Washington and Orlando, Fla.—the ThunderBolt averaged 12.6 megabits per second when downloading data and 4.7 mbps when uploading data. That is about eight times as fast as a Verizon 3G phone I tested in the same locations, and faster than many public Wi-Fi connections. Cellular-data speeds can differ due to factors such as location and time of day, so your experience with the ThunderBolt might vary. However, based on my tests, and assuming future Verizon LTE phones perform as well, I’d have to say Verizon is firmly ahead in the race for the fastest 4G network.
So how does it compare to the other carriers?
In multiple tests in a spot in the D.C. suburbs where all the carriers offer 4G service, Sprint’s EVO Shift 4G and AT&T’s Inspire 4G had an average of just over 2 mbps in download speed, and much less than 1 mbps in upload speed. T-Mobile’s myTouch 4G did much better, logging 5.52 mbps downstream and 1.77 mbps upstream. But even that was less than half the speed of the ThunderBolt.
OK but what’s the price to pay for this speed? “In my tests, the ThunderBolt’s battery lasted about seven hours in mixed, typical use on 4G, which is fair, but not great.” I don’t know about you but 7 hours is a half a day. Seems like 4G is something you’ll have to toggle on/off throughout the day as needed if you want it…for now at least.
For now Verizon 4G coverage is pretty limited to 40 metro areas but still, the thought of all that speed…not sure what I’d do with it but I bet I can stream YouTube videos about replies to Asians in the library faster than anyone else.