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It’s been close to two weeks since I picked up the new 4G HTC Thunderbolt from Verizon, and contrary to popular opinion I’m starting to find that the battery isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.  Obviously, if you’re an extremely heavy user, as in on it for more than an hour or two straight, then the battery will take a beating, but in a normal setting mine has been lasting all day.  I would consider myself to be a moderate to heavy user, but rarely do I find myself playing with it for more than 30 minutes straight, so my supposed weak battery lasts all day.  Unlike some of the user claims which put the Thunderbolt battery in the 6 hour range per charge, I have not experienced this.  In fact, I think my conditioning program may have helped it out.

I know most uber-nerds will criticize me when I say that you should condition your Thunderbolt’s battery because it is Lithium-Ion based, but I found that after doing so my battery seemed to settle in and put out adequate up times.  For example, my phone has been off the charger for 5 hours today and it is currently at an 80% charge.  I’ve had wi-fi on the whole time, taken an HD video, uploaded that video (86MB) to YouTube (display was on the whole time), made a few calls, and did some browsing in the Seesmic client.  Considering that I’ve been using it fairly heavily I’d say an 80% charge after 5 hours is pretty reasonable.  I have configured certain things on the Thunderbolt to help with its performance, and I’d like to share them with you below.

  1. Condition your battery by sucking it completely dry.  Once dead, charge it without turning your phone on. (Do it while you sleep) I only had to do this once, but I also let the battery get pretty weak a few times before I completely conditioned it.
  2. Turn off Auto-Brightness and set it to 20-25%.  The phone will still look plenty vibrant, and the payoff is worth it.  Although, I do find myself needing to turn the Auto-Brightness back on when I’m outside in bright lights
  3. Have your widgets only update once an hour or two.
  4. Even though the supposed experts say that Froyo Android doesn’t need a task killer I find it to work wonders.  Froyo will still let crap run in the background, so I like having the ATK set on aggressive to kill my apps.  Use this link to help deeply configure the Froyo Version of ATK.  Start reading around the bullet points that talk about Task Killers.  Don’t read the rooting stuff.  Download link for ATK Froyo.
  5. Set the screen timeout to 30 seconds, and always remember to put your Thunderbolt to sleep after using it by pushing on the power button.
  6. You could try some of the hacks to disable 4G, but I haven’t found it necessary.  Besides, why get a 4G phone only to use it on 3G?  Sounds kind of as*-backwards to me, but people are doing it.  Although, I’d recommend using wi-fi in basement settings so your 4G antenna isn’t fighting to stay connected.

These are just recommendations, but I’ve found them to help out immensely with making the HTC Thunderbolt battery perform better than what the media is saying.  I still ordered the Seidio 1600mAh battery, but I don’t even know if it’ll be necessary for my normal use.  Either way it’s good to have a backup.  I’d also recommend picking up the Verizon car dock for it as well, mainly to give it an extra boost while you’re on the road.  I mean the phone is going to be in the car with you anyway, so why not charge it while keeping it in a better line of sight versus your lap, or other crevices in your car.  Plus, it allows you to work your phone without fumbling with it while driving.  Finally, if you’re going to be around a PC for a large chunk of your day why not keep your Thunderbolt plugged into its USB port.

Before you rail on me I understand that the car dock and USB cable are cheating when it comes to how long your Thunderbolt battery will last, but to me they’re common sense ideas.  Especially if your deeply involved with your Droid all day long.  With that being said I still find my Thunderbolt to last all day (15-17 hours for me) with normal to moderate use.  Not since the first few days have I had it die out on me before the day was through.

I’m sure some of you may have gotten some lemons, but in my experience I find the HTC Thunderbolt’s battery to be just fine.  Sure it’s not a battery lover like the iPhone, but I’d take the functionality of a Droid any day over the sexy hardware that Apple puts out.  Bring on the fanboy rage!  You’ve been starting to think that maybe the Thunderbolt battery issue was slightly overblown…

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Tags : AndroidBatteriesfandroidsHTC ThunderboltPerformance
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.