News Column

Meet the 4G phones: ThunderBolt, Atrix and Evo Shift

Mar 21 2011 10:00PM

Mark W. Smith

AT&T Logo

Several new 4G smartphones offer a range of features.

HTC ThunderBolt from Verizon

The HTC ThunderBolt is the most heavily anticipated smartphone of the year, with its huge 4.3-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera and mobile hotspot support for up to eight WiFi devices.

All of that and it runs on Verizon's blazing fast 4G LTE network.

It's far and away the best smartphone I've had my hands on this year.

At a weight of 6.32 ounces, though, the ThunderBolt does feel heavy.

Verizon is offering free mobile hotspot service on the ThunderBolt through May 15. Pricing for the feature after that has not been announced.

The ThunderBolt is $250 with a two-year agreement from Verizon.

Motorola Atrix 4G and laptop dock from AT&T

The Motorola Atrix 4G is a solid-enough Android-based smartphone. It has all the features you'd expect: Android 2.2 (Froyo), front- and rear-facing cameras and a dual-core processor.

The key innovation here, though, is the availability of a laptop dock.

Users can plug the Motorola Atrix 4G into a laptop cradle and use the computing power and Web connection of the smartphone to run a simple laptop experience.

It's a bit clunky in its execution -- the Motorola Android operating system can be hard to navigate on a laptop screen -- but the idea makes me excited for when this is the norm.

The smartphone is well on its way to becoming our window to the Web in all our tasks.

The Motorola Atrix 4G is $200 with a two-year agreement from AT&T. The laptop dock is $300 after a $100 mail-in rebate with the purchase of the phone.

HTC Evo Shift 4G from Sprint

The HTC Evo Shift 4G is the next generation of the HTC Evo 4G that Sprint launched as its flagship 4G-capable smartphone last summer.

The Evo Shift is more consumer friendly, featuring a slide-out physical keyboard and smaller screen than the Evo's mondo 4.3-inch touchscreen.

The keyboard is very comfortable to type on and features a dedicated "@" button -- a big time saver when typing e-mail addresses. It could use a dedicated row of numbers, though.

The HTC Evo Shift 4G is $149.99 with a two-year agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, Detroit Free Press

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