Thunderbolt or Bionic.. Round 1 Fight!!

Seems that the most hotly contested question facing Verizon customers is the upcoming devices and what device they should choose from the two front runners of LTE handsets.  With this new level of speed and power that 4G brings its important to choose the right device.  Even more so because with verizon’s new policies you will be living with it for at least 20 months on a 2 year agreement.   So class lets take a look at the contenders!!


Big bold but maybe a little bit... lacking?

this device as already stated by myself and others is pretty much the sprint evo 2.. but thats not a bad thing as the EVO still to this day is one of the top devices available and the Thunderbolt (henceforth called the BOLT) improves on that device in every way.

lets get the specs out the way:

Networks: LTE 700, CDMA EvDO revA (and perhaps support for svdo)
Operating system: Android™ 2.2 + HTC Sense (with integration pending)
Display: 4.3” WVGA TFT capacitive touch screen
Camera: 8MP with autofocus, LED Flash, 1.3MP front facing camera
Memory: 8GB emmc + 768 DDR2 RAM Memory card, preinstalled 32 GB microSD™
WLAN: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth: 2.1 with EDR (3.0 when available)
Battery: 1400 mAh
Special features: Dual mics with noise cancellation, Surround sound, Compass sensor, G-Sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, 3.5mm audio jack, MicroUSB, FM radio, LTE SIM slot , TI audio DSP
Chipset: Qualcomm® MSM8655, 1GHz, Qualcomm MDM9600 (next gen single core snapdragon)

So what we see here is a great device with more radios then you can shake a tower at and it improves on some of the evo design flaws such as:

Camera design – The lens on the Evo actually sat out from the back of the device so that when users laid the device down the lens itself would become scratched over time.

Kickstand- this bolts redesigned kickstand allows the unit to stand up either vertically or horizontally where the EVO could only do its thing on the side. Really useful for long video chats (and video sextext or is that vsexting… hmmm think I need to trademark that)

processor- while the evo is a really snappy device it can lag and its game performance left alot of to be desired. Early on users where hampered by a software lock on frames per second the device could push and even after an update corrected this the device still lags behind powerhouse gpu’s found in Samsung (all hail pimpin sammy) and Moto.  This unit runs the updated Snapdragon and improvement is stunning.  the newer smaller chip improves in heat handling, power consumption and provides much better graphics power then the last iteration.

Unit is running android 2.2 but HTC is working on updating the sense UI to the newest android build of 2.3 gingerbread and historically they have been among the first to have their updates done so no worries there.

But all is not peaches and cream in HTC land..

With upcoming devices using dual core and quad core cpu’s and Goggles new honeycomb build looking like it will be their most graphical intense yet, as well as gaming on android looking to explode… there is a fear that the Bolt maybe starting off as underpowered already.

The Bolt improves all these and swaps out sprint/Clears wimax radio for a lovely LTE unit on the Verizon network. Hence making this device the first handset to launch on that newly launched network, But is it the device you should be buying???

because.. “there is another”

Enter the DROID BIONIC from Motorola…

full of power... but hacker proof??

Yes…  the MOTOROLA BIONIC!  A DRRRRROOOOOIIIIDDDD branded device which means the hype storm near launch will have you thinking your name is John Conner and this thing is the beginning of skynet.  Expect lots of red eyes, death metal and that announcer guy with the gravelly voice..

Made by Motorola.... or is it!!!??
Networks: LTE 700, CDMA EvDO revA (and perhaps support for svdo)
Operating system: Android™ 2.2 + Moto Blur
Display: 4.3” 540 x 960 pixels QHD capacitive touch screen
Camera: 8MP with autofocus, LED Flash (2x LED), VGA front facing camera
Memory: 16 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 2 GB ROM
WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA
Bluetooth: Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR
Battery: 1930 mAh
Special features: Compass sensor, G-Sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, 3.5mm audio jack, MicroUSB,  LTE SIM slot, – HDMI port, Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Chipset: Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, ULP GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset

Now that we have the spec lust out the way lets take a look at what it all means..

You are getting a big HD screen with amazing media sharing using DLNA/HDMI, Great rear cam and dual core with amazing gaming power and all running on the new LTE network.   This device will be the best android device on the network..

But every big hit isnt a homerun and as future proofed as Moto tried to make the Bionic,  there are some caveats to think about.

UI: Moto blur is a like/hate ui skin on android.  most users either dont mind it or really really hate it..  I happen to fall into the slightly annoyed by it mindset… its useable and you can always delete the widgets or load up launcher pro (which works lovely on it) and blur be gone~or hidden.    Stock android lovers will have to look elsewhere sadly.

hackability:  Motorola came back from the brink of shutdown and with the Droid 1 and 110 million in verizon ads are back in black in a BIG way.. so how did they repay those loyal customers>  they locked down the hardware so that the “open” OS that is android is no longer so.   This will not really affect most customers but those that say “Root and Rom” in their sleep will be forced to wait for XDA to work their magic.

and my personal issue with the device:  So moto.. u give use dual core an saddle it with some sub standard parts?  a VGA front cam? im sure that a 1.3mp wouldnt have broke the bank.. would it?  if your marketing it to be the ultimate communication device how can a panda get his Vsexting on and look all blurry to Mrs. Panda??

Aint nothing sexy about BLURRY CAM JUNK!!

512mb of ram??  Lets just say it..  the Motorola atrix going to att has 1gb of ram and while alot of that is needed for the notebook and media dock that device has (bionic doesnt) it still would have been nice because as it stands.. This Droid may not be the most powerful in its own house..

The droid Brand has always been reserved for devices that are considered the best of the best and to have the 1# partner on that branding take their best device to another carrier is a slap in the face…

so what is a consumer to do?  go with the Bolt in Feb or wait for the bionic later this year?

depends on what you need?

for the large number of customers the Bolt will service quite well,  its a well polished UI that will give great performance as a media capture and sharing device, will work great with Skype video chatting and just does everything well.  It will also allow in some situations the ability to use voice and data over a 3G connection(limited data so dont expect high speeds) as well as over LTE which will scream.

But if your a POWER USER..  someone that lives on their phone, a person who cant caress your loved one gently because touchscreens have killed the fine nerves in your finger tips then the BIONIC maybe for you.  It gives you more storage, more power, longer battery life and better gaming.. Who cares that you will look like Fred Mertz when your video chatting, that stuff is for people that dont have this type of power anyway..

what do u mean im burry!? I have dual core sucker!!

As always I simply provide my opinions of the devices…. what you choose should be determined by your own needs….  because there is always..  “another”…


Panda Out….


18 thoughts on “Thunderbolt or Bionic.. Round 1 Fight!!”

  1. You’re killin me with the tease. I’m a power user but I need hackability. I love my Droid Inc. with stock 2.2. Ive got much love for HTC so I tend to lean that way. I guess I’ll wait for the next big thing and buy my girlfriend the Bolt so I can tinker.

  2. Will this have the bionic have the 8gb dedicated strictly for apps like the X? Also dreamt the ddr2 RAM make the 512seem like 1gb. .

  3. Nice comparison. Any specific reason (that you’re allowed to tell) on why the Thunderbolt isn’t part of the Droid line? If it’s b/c it’s so similar to the Evo and Inspire and Desire HD, what about Moto giving the Atrix (which is a Bionic with more capabilities) to Att?

  4. Love it makes my choice even harder the specs on the bionic are great but I will only get a device on a 1 year contract and knowing the bionic will be overshadowed come winter in don’t know if it’s worth the wait especially for a locked bootloader. If motorola were to allow bootloader unlock and release it before summer within two months of the bolt i will wait

  5. @thebizz,

    “knowing the bionic will be overshadowed come winter”? I’m not sure that that will be the case. The Incredible came out in April of last year, and the Droid X came out in July of last year. Nothing was released to this point that has overshadowed either of those two devices.

    I do agree, I like this article a lot, and it does make the choice harder. However, for me, with the Bolt having specs that are at least good enough, but also having a better ui, and coming out this soon, I will get that on a one year, then wait and see what will be coming at that one year mark.

      1. They have ot gotten rid of 1 year contracts. They have gotten rid of the annual upgrade that was available to people on a 2 year contract. If you were on a 2 year contract, after 12 months you could upgrade at 2 year pricing (+ a $20 upgrade fee) to a new phone. Doing so required you to enter into a new 2 year contract. It effectively extended your original contract by another year. That is what they have gotten rid of. You now have 2 choices: 2 year contract (upgrade in 20 months) or 1 year contract ($50-70 higher than 2 year but upgrade in 10 months).

  6. great read! sucks that dual-core Bionic will be such a beast over the Bolt.. but i can make do with a 1yr on the Bolt and see what pops up by Dec. and i like the overall design way more than Bionic.
    can that teaser possibly be the LG or DX2??? im gonna keep my fingers crossed for an LTE DX2!

  7. @The One…I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing with the one year contract. For now, the Bolt would suit my needs but I would love to get my hands on both to get a feel for each device. Thanks Panda! Still having a hard decision……

  8. I think I’ll wait for Moto to bring an Atrix like device to Verizon, otherwise, I may have to jump ship to get the best of the best of Android. Sigh, AT&T… 😦

  9. I am really hoping the new version of Blur shipping with Android 2.3 will bring many improvements! As of right now I think I will stick with my X until the Bionic comes out!

  10. I hate this panda tease. Guess i’ll be doing a one yr or pay full price and see what “another” brings.

    I have an Andtoid family. I have DInc, mom had a G1, Droid and now Droid Pro and shs had a G1 and now a Droid X. Anways back to my point…. I’ve had an opportunity to play with Moto and HTC and Sense just always gets it right. I can’t cozy up to Blur it’s just not as sexy.

  11. I don’t know I believe the bionic will be overshadowed by my upgrade just because all the other dualcore processors haven’t been implemented into a device yet with samsung possible using the tegra 2 in the SGS 2 and lg using the tegra2 3d in their upcoming 3d Phone and let’s not overlook htc and the likely hood of them releasing a dualcore phone mid to end of year

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