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Steve Wozniak: The HTC Thunderbolt Was One of the Worst Gadgets I Ever Purchased

Bear with me here, because the mention of someone from Apple doesn’t necessarily mean a flame war immediately. Gizmodo recently asked their readers what the worst technology gadget they had ever purchased was, and if you dig through the comments you can find Apple honcho Steve Wozniak weighing in that the HTC Thunderbolt was right at the top of his list.

Unfortunately, he did not go into much detail, but take a poll from the TBolt owners we have reading the site and they can be sure to tell you. Bad LTE signals all over the place, random reboots, update failures and that isn’t even touching on the horrible stock battery life.

Would you agree with Woz that the Thunderbolt was that bad? Or have you had worse?

Via: Gizmodo

  • marcus russell

    my thunder bolt was good to me. never really had any technical problems and i got the extended battery for the battery issue. would probaly still use it if i didn’t win a droid razr. i hear team bamf got a official ics rom for it might have to check it out

  • phoneteck

    No way, once rooted with one of the many custom ROMs and it was great! Although it didn’t take me long to go to the G-nex.

  • Havoc70

    My Tbolt was great, no issues at all. So FU Woz !

  • kilbasar

    Thunderbolt was a very mixed bag. Absolutely terrible battery life, had to carry around 2 spares just to be sure I’d get through the day. Screen was unreadable outdoors. Stock ROM was bloated, slow, and prone to crashing. However, the phone was indeed a tank (I dropped it repeatedly), had a great kickstand, and was very fast/stable with the right ROM on it. Nothing could ever fix the abysmal battery though, and I will never again own a phone that lasts less than a day on a charge. So happy with my S3.

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    I agree with the woz…the only reason I bought the tbolt was to get unlimited data on another line..it wasn’t worth it D:

  • Executor

    Worst thing I ever bought was probably my Blackberry Curve 8330, which replaced my LG enV and was replaced in turn by my Droid 2. At first I was all ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’, but then after only a couple of months I grew to hate the damn thing. It didn’t help that six months in, the OG Droid came out to vastly raise my expectations.

  • Destroythanet

    As a Thunderbolt owner, I totally agree with Wozniak. The Thunderbolt is a crappy phone. But, it makes for a pretty good dedicated mobile hotspot.

  • Atomicmoon

    I personally felt more abandoned more than upset with my thunder bolt due to battery life or, random rebooting. I was excited about android development and a monthly rom flasher coming from the g1, to the droid, droid x, incredible 2, to the thundebolt. And the developers had to abandon the tbolt and it sure as hell wasnt for a lack of effort it was more the locked RIL. With miui i was able to go 40+ hrs on an extended life battery with moderate usage but no mms. There was always a catch with the thubderbolt. Ive since upgraded to the galaxy necus and happy to back in the active community and finding android relevant again.

  • matthew

    LG Ally, Motorola Citrus, LG Vortex, take your pick, they all suck.

  • Mike B

    you guys are funny..really we are going to sit here and listen to an Apple person about his opinion on phones..really ..My Thunderbolt is just fine, No problems, and at this point with Big Red and their Tiered Plan looks like ill be using it for some time. Big Reds too Darn Greedy

  • wjb

    Yes, my wife bought an iPad over my objections. What a piece of crap.
    She’s really excited about not being able to view videos.
    And I own an iPod and have for many years. This thing wouldn’t update for 2 years. Then one day it did when I put it on a new laptop. The only thing worse than these two things was the customer service, or complete lack of it, from Apple.

  • Who cares

    My thunderbolt was a POS but my gf loves it but them again she had a blackberry before that, I offered my bionic after I got the S3 she said no cause thunderbolt camera was worth too much to her!

  • ICS for TB
  • Martin

    I don’t think thunderbold is bad. Do you know Nokia 5530? I had it and it was worse phone that i ever see in my life. It’s so so bad. I can’t forget it and I stil hate it.

  • ReZCommando4231

    Toshiba HD-DVD player.
    Had it two months before Blu-ray was announced as the format winner…

  • John

    The TB is the red headed step child. It was great with all the Dev’s creating awesome roms to help us forget about little glitches. It does have horrible charge time and connection. Ever since 4G came to my area it changes to 3G and then no connection. HTC should allow us to trade in the TB for something more reliable. Verizon people really don’t care about the phone, just the sale. They won’t allow you to trade until your upgrade. So I was stuck with this problem for 2yrs. My upgrade is coming and its bye bye TB.

  • coolsilver


  • Mchl496

    HTC Thunderbolt was the worst because it was the first. People can say the Charge was bad but the Thunderbolt was the premiere flagship phone that got dropped from support so fast. It debuted with so many bugs, and coupled with verizon’s very slow testing process I didn’t have a semi working phone until they released the last patch. Lets see the fast reset feature in the phone was crap, and even with it on I’ve had the phone take 15-20 minutes to reset, while at the same time killing 20% of the battery. The random resets in the middle of tasks, the speaker which was terrible, and the fact that the ram was gimped down.

    • Tyler Chappell

      The LG Revolution and the Charge ended up being far worse phones than the TB in the end. I remember having buyer’s remorse when they came out, so glad I didnt wait another 5 months for the Bionic and stuck with my Thunderbolt which now has ICS whereas my brother has yet to have it on his Bionic.

      • Mchl496

        Thats crap, the revolution and the charge didn’t have the same fanfare. The Thunderbolt drew more people in because it was the first. The Bionic was delayed and delayed and so many people didn’t go for it because they didn’t have options. The first 4G LTE phone… has a lot further to fall then the 5th phone which was delayed significantly

        • Tyler Chappell

          Then it’s a shame that my TB is so much better than the Bionic.

          • Mchl496

            Small failure that was dragges a couple people down or flagship that failed completely and is the industrt joke of what not to do

  • rey

    Sure the battery life was terrible but the phone itself was amazing. I still have mine after upgrading to a rezound. The thunderbolt now has a oem rezound battery and that has helped it tremendously. CM7 for the thunderbolt was what made it great, all the devs really. I have no problem getting 16 hours, 2.5 hours of screen time, on a 85db connection to LTE.

    the thunderbolt is awesome. I bet he never ran cm7 on it.

  • jrummy16

    Whether that is really Wazniak or not I would agree that the tbolt is an epic fail 😛

  • biscuitti

    My thunderbolt is a POS. And the singular reason that I will never buy another HTC product nor recommend another HTC phone to anyone. The question is not what was bad about it, but rather what was good……. absolutely nothing. It is no wonder that HTC will either go bankrupt or be bought out by someone else soon, as this product has done more to damage their image and customer retention than any other product they have released.

  • Nope. The Charge was still somehow worse. At least the TBolt had dev support

  • Stac

    Worst worst worst! 100 percent agree! And now with the crappy Verizon plans I can’t easily upgrade!

  • U Mad Bro? No But Your Mom Is

    I have had 4 different Android phones, 1 Android tablet and an iPhone 4S. I have owned two MacBook Pro’s. My wife has has 3 different Android phones, an iPhone 4 and an original iPad. Her Thunderbolt was definitely the worst device we’ve ever had, with the Droid Charge coming in second.

  • arturo_bandini

    I’m with Wozniak here. I dumped my Thunderbolt on Verizon for a HTC One V on Virgin Mobile and consider it an all-around upgrade. That’s saying something.

  • I can agree that anyone can make an account saying they are anyone

  • Droid eris.

  • Steve Douglas

    For those twitters users skyraider37 has the TB ICS rom. I’m hoping he’ll post a link for us all. Looks very nice!

  • It was really bad. Maybe the Atari Lynx was worse… but I was a kid.

  • Gimp_Ninja

    I had a T-bolt with the OEM extended battery, and I thought it was a decent phone. It is true, though, that signal strength was often weak.

  • Droid forever

    The biggest piece of junk I seen was the Motorola Q. But real close to that was the awful experience they called the original IPhone with At&t. That is what made me go back to Verizon and the Android experience and have not looked back.

  • ChonChon

    My Droid X2 was the worst phone I’ve ever owned. Essentially a Droid X with a dual core processor that stock gingerbread couldn’t properly support. It had daily frequent random reboots and lock ups. Custom roms made it more manageable, but the phone never should have been released.

    My wife has a Droid 3 and it’s sadly an even worse phone with the same problems but also has a camera that still doesn’t work right, and when it does work it takes 20-30 seconds to take a single picture. A phone so bad Motorola released the Droid 4 to replace it only about 6 months later.

  • edwoordd

    Sure the Tbolt has it flaws.. but you can make it better by rooting it! I still have my Thunderbolt rooted with cm7 and 2 1700mah batteries, I’m still waiting for HTC to come out with something good for verizon.

  • noc007

    I owned a HTC manufactured phone and it was absolute shite. Being a POS, shapped like a brick, and having the weight of a brick made it pretty tempting to throw that thing through a window. From then on, HTC joined Samsung on my banned manufacturer’s list. Seriously not going to fall for their shoddy quality again, especially on something that’s suppose to be top-of-the-line. It’ll take a lot to get me to consider a product from them anytime soon, Nexus device or not.

  • Okki125

    It wasn’t bad for a pioneer phone, but WHERE ARE MY UPDATES!!!!!?????!!! I mean; how about sharing some love and getting the bloatware off and some ice cream sandwich or jelly bean on?? oh well.. just 2.5 more months until I’m upgrade eligible…

  • Larry

    The Thunderbolt has been the best phone that I’ve owned thus far. I still have my OG, but don’t use it much anymore. During the random reboot era, I experienced less than a handful of reboots. I wasn’t too impressed with the custom ROMs out on the market until I came across SkyRaider Zeus 1.3. I’m a fan of the Sense user interface so AOSP ROMs just don’t cut it. SkyRaider Zeus 1.3 is the fastest and least buggy Sense based ROM available for the Thunderbolt.

  • azndan4

    The thunderbolt had way better lte reception that my Nexus, bionic, or s3 had.

  • Octotron

    Yes. 100%. Biggest let down of a phone I have ever had.

  • Hogasswild

    Actually it was a study yet heavy phone. However it was more like a landline since it was always plugged in. It would live long enough to go to dinner or maybe a movie but then it was done. The Rezound battery helped some but not enough. I left Verizon last week for T-Mobile and am paying $60 less than I was before. My galaxy note lasts a full day without being charged too. 4g is just as fast as it was on Verizon, but the network sweet spot is smaller”

  • Chahk Noir

    For me the two worst handsets I’ve paid money for were Motorola CHARM, closely followed by Motorola Atrix 4G. Notice the common thread? #NeverAgain, Motorola.

  • coolfx35

    don’t all android phones have some sort of random reboots?

  • NorCalDroid

    Meh, Nothing compares to my good o’le Blackberry Storm. Worst purchase ever. In history.

  • That’s why Google gave him a GNEX. To make up for his bad Android experience.

  • hiway12

    THE worst. I did replace it with the Charge while I waited for the GNex. By comparison I didn’t think the Charge was that bad

  • Never had issues with my T-BOLT?

  • Chris Stuart

    Droid X2 has it beat. That thing was gimped from the go. My original X was faster.

    • 4n1m4L

      I liked the x2 for its battery life. Other than that though…

  • Hardware build quality wise the Thunderbolt was right there with my OG Droid ( a phone that I wish could be updated to ICS/JB). now software wise I hated the Thunderbolt most custom roms felt sluggish hated sense and the radios always seemed like crap. The only saving grace was that with Imoseyon’s lovely kernel the battery life could be made bearable. Oh and the fact that AOSP roms on the Tbolt weren’t fully functional while I was using didnt help (I dont know if this has changed)

  • Suralin

    Well, my girlfriend’s mother hasn’t had too many complaints…Thank God…

  • Mike Adams

    The thunderbolt was extra special bad stock, but was greatly improved by moving to CM7.. Not the worst device I ever owned, but it definitely took a lot of work to make it usable.

  • Ouch.