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Android Phones
Motorola DROID Bionic vs. HTC ThunderBolt

Wirefly Learn » Android Phones

January 12th, 2011


As 2011 unfolds, Verizon Wireless will be aggressively releasing phones for its new 4G LTE network. One of the first of these phones is the HTC ThunderBolt, which bears a strong family resemblance to the HTC EVO 4G for Sprint’s WiMax 4G network. The HTC ThunderBolt features a 4.3-inch LCD display, 1 GHz processor, dual cameras and Android 2.2. The Motorola DROID Bionic continues the popular DROID line-up on Verizon Wireless and pushes the technical boundries with specs such as a dual-core 1GHz processor and 540 x 960-pixel display resolution. Like the HTC ThunderBolt, the DROID Bionic has a 4.3-inch display and a front-facing camera, but the two devices diverge from there. How does the Motorola DROID Bionic compare to the HTC ThunderBolt?

Motorola DROID Bionic HTC ThunderBolt  
Motorola DROID Bionic HTC ThunderBolt

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Wirefly’s Price
(as of publish date)
Not yet available Special Wirefly Price
Carrier Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless
Operating System Android 2.2 Android 2.2
Interface Modified MotoBlur

HTC Sense

Display 4.3″ TFT LCD, 540 x 960 pixels 4.3″ LCD, 480 x 800 pixels
Data Speed 4G LTE 4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.1 Bluetooth 2.1
Mobile Hotspot Not known Yes; Optional
Camera 8-megapixel, LED flash and autofocus 8-megapixel, LED flash and autofocus
Front-facing Camera Yes; 640 x 480 pixels Yes; 1.3-megapixels
Video Capture Yes; 1080p HD Yes; 720p HD
Apps Android Market Android Market
Music Player Yes Yes
Adobe Flash Support Adobe Flash 10.2 Adobe Flash 10.1
Storage Space 16GB onboard; microSD slot for expansion 8GB onboard; 32GB microSD pre-installed
Keyboard Virtual QWERTY Virtual QWERTY
Battery 1,930 mAh, lithium-ion 1,400 mAh, lithium-ion
Processor Dual-core 1 GHz processor Single-core 1 GHz processor
Memory RAM: 512MB RAM: 768MB
Microsoft Outlook Support Yes Yes
View Word Docs Yes Yes
Weight 5.6 oz 5.5 oz
Dimensions 5″ x 2.6″ x 0.5″ 4.8″ x 2.5″ x 0.5″

Key Differences

  • Display: Both the Motorola DROID Bionic and the HTC ThunderBolt will have 4.3-inch LCD displays. The big news here is that the DROID Bionic steps the screen resolution up to 540 x 960 pixels, compared to the HTC ThunderBolt’s 480 x 800-pixel display. Big screens use a lot of power, so both phones will have massive batteries to keep the screens lit up for longer times.
  • Operating system: Both the HTC ThunderBolt and the Motorola DROID Bionic will run Android 2.2, a powerful and stable operating system. Verizon is promising that the Mototola DROID Bionic will get an upgrade to Android 2.3 before the end of 2011.
  • Processor and RAM: The Motorola DROID Bionic features a dual-core 1GHz processor, and will be among the first cell phones to run with dual processors. The HTC ThunderBolt plans to run a single-core 1GHz processor. The ThunderBolt is expected to have 768MB of processor RAM, while the DROID Bionic is expected to have 512MB.
  • Keyboard: Both the Motorola DROID Bionic and the HTC ThunderBolt will have on-screen virtual QWERTY keyboards.
  • Storage Space:The Motorola DROID Bionic is expected to ship with 16GB of onboard storage, while the HTC ThunderBolt will ship with 8GB of onboard memory. The ThunderBolt comes with a 32GB microSD card for additional storage, but it is not known yet if the Droid Bionic will come wtih a microSD card.
  • Camera: Both the Motorola DROID Bionic and the HTC ThunderBolt will have 8-megapixel still-image cameras, and will be able to shoot HD video (thunderBolt at 720p and the DROID Bionic at 1080p). The DROID Bionic has a VGA-quality (640 x 480-pixel) front camera for video chat. The HTC ThunderBolt pushes the resolution of the front-facing camera to 1.3-megapixel.
  • Battery: The Motorola DROID Bionic will have a 1,930 mAh lithium-ion battery and the HTC ThunderBolt will have a 1,400 mAh battery.


Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Related posts:

  1. Motorola DROID Bionic Review – Part 1
  2. Motorola DROID Bionic vs. HTC EVO 3D Comparison
  3. Motorola DROID Bionic vs. HTC Inspire
  4. Motorola DROID Bionic vs. LG Revolution

52 Responses to “Motorola DROID Bionic vs. HTC ThunderBolt”

  • Question why only 512MB os Ram??????? that means that the phone is going to freeze is you have like more than two program running

    • Alex, a lot of details about the Motorola DROID Bionic are not yet known and this is one of them. I actually expect the DROID Bionic to ship with 1GB of processor RAM, but there is no official word on that. The chart above was assembled a few months ago, when information was even more sketchy. I just made some updates, however.

      Bob at Wirefly

      • Thanks for your information however i’m waiting for the phone my upgrade is due in August and y think this phone is going to be the best…

      • finally out i love the phone bionicc is the best phone out there

        • I just bought the Bionic and it seems like a great phone howver the battery dies so fast. I have only really just using it for calling and occasionally facebook. I loose internet conncection alot and the phone does get hot. Still trying to get used to it may go with verisons iphone 5 if they get it in october. Do you have any of these problems.

          • Candace, it’s possible there is a problem with your phone. I recommend you go to a Verizon store and have it looked at, but keep in mind the 14-day return period. If you got the Bionic from Wirefly, don’t hesitate to call and ask about a return.

            Bob at Wirefly

  • John B Doe
    July 17, 2011

    Also the previous 4g phones from verizon had some battery issues the delay was fixing that and some other problems to make it more “customer satisfactory.”

  • John B Doe
    July 17, 2011

    It’s speculation that on the 28th of July it will be announced and 4th of Aug it will be released, the Droid Bionic that is. I’m waiting for it.

    • John, I don’t know for sure but think that the Motorola DROID Bionic will arrive considerably after Aug. 4. I’ve had no official word, so I really don’t know when it will arrive, but signs point to it being well after Aug. 4.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • does the extra, RAM in the TBOLT make any difference speed wise?

    • Nick, yes the larger amount of RAM in the ThunderBolt (768MB) definitely helps the speed of the phone. The processor uses the RAM to run programs and the more RAM there is, the faster the processor can work. It doesn’t help with download speeds, but the extra RAM makes the phone run more smoothly and with less lag.

      Bob at Wirefly

      • Edgar r
        July 9, 2011

        Bob thanks for all the advice you give us….your shmackdowns are really cool and helped me make my decision. So far I’ve had my thunderbolt for 3 days and it is ridiculously fast. Thanks again!

      • Bkovacs
        You say the extra ram helps run smoother. Are you saying the tbolt is a faster running than the bionic ? Even with a single core vs a duel core ?
        I hope I made the right choice! I have a t-bolt right now, but I just ordered a Motorola Bionic! What do you or anyone else have to say about that?
        Thanks ! T

        • John, I think you are referring to what I call “processor RAM.” This is the onboard memory that the phone’s processor uses to run apps and maintain the phone’s operations. The more there is of that RAM, the better the phone runs.

          As it happens, the Motorola DROID Bionic has 1GB of processor RAM and the HTC ThunderBolt has 768MB of processor RAM. All things being equal (which they are not, of course), I would expect that the DROID Bionic would run faster than the ThunderBolt. Since the DROID Bionic also has a dual-core processor as well as additional RAM, I expect that the DROID Bionic is considerably faster than the ThunderBolt. Not that the ThunderBolt is slow or anything… just that the DROID Bionic is faster.

          Bob at Wirefly

    • hell yes it does!

  • Should i get the thunderbolt or wait for the bionic bob? what would you do? and i really like HTC Sense but would “deal” with motoblur

    • A lot depends on how badly you need a phone, Nick. If you need a phone right now, the ThunderBolt is a good choice. If you can wait, the Motorola DROID Bionic looks like it will be amazing. However, the specs are not yet known for the Bionic and there’s not a firm launch date yet, so we don’t exactly know just how amazing the Bionic will be. If it was me and I needed a phone right now for Verizon, I’d probably get either the Samsung DROID Charge or the HTC ThunderBolt. (If your area doesn’t have 4G, then the Motorola DROID X2 is terrific!) If I could wait, then I would wait for the DROID Bionic.

      Bob at Wirefly

      • I had this exact same problem…should I wait?? Or just bite the bullet and get the thunderbolt now??
        I talked to several Verizon reps, and was informed that VZW has a “trade-in” policy of sorts, which actually is pretty cool. I purchased the Thunderbolt with a contract extension, so I got additional money off, but the phone itself has a specific ‘value’ depending on what the phone is currently worth. In fact technically I could trade it in now and get about $20 MORE (credit) than I actually paid for it!
        Since the Thunderbolt is most likely still going to be a fairly expensive phone over the next several months, I felt safe to make the purchase with the intention of trading it in for its ‘current value’ (whatever that will be) in a few months when the Bionic finally comes out. Sure I might have to shell out a few bucks for the new equipment charges and activation fee, but I’d rather have a great phone now, and trade it in for the credit toward a better phone later.
        Talk to a VZW rep to see if you’re interested in this option!! It definitely worked out for me!

    • I heard that the Bionic will be released in June? Anyone know for sure?

      • No one knows for sure on the launch date for the Motorola DROID Bionic. According to some recent blog news items, Motorola has gone back to the drawing board and will use a different processor in the Bionic than was initially planned. Which points out that only Verizon and Motorola know for sure, and they’re not telling.

        I would not expect the DROID Bionic in June, but I have no facts to say that.

        Bob at Wirefly

  • Thatguywiththeshirt
    May 17, 2011

    The Bionic is supposed to come with a 16gb microSD card in addtion to the 16gb onboard.

  • WireFly – When I first read about the Thunderbolt I got extremely excited that my upgrade is due in a couple months.It looks like a winner, but here comes Bionic! Another winner and a bit more appetizing to me, but here’d be my ONLY deal breaker:

    Will the Bionic be able to simultaneously support voice and data over VZW’s 3G, like the Thunderbolt??

    I’ve heard rumors that the Thunderbolt was going to be one of the only Verizon phones that could support this simultaneous voice/data feature! Have you heard any rumors that the Bionic will support this DREAM of a feature?! Surprised that topic isn’t talked about more than screen size and processor chips lol!

    • Unfortunately, the Bionic is still many weeks away. We won’t know the final capabilities of the hardware and software until we get MUCH closer to the actual launch date. Therefore, we don’t have any info on a feature like that, and don’t expect to know for some time yet. Sorry we can’t be more helpful.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • why only a VGA front-facing camera on the BIONIC?

    • soria
      May 1, 2011

      Probably because (almost) the only reason for a higher resolution front facing camera is to win the spec comparison. The display resolution of the ThunderBolt, even with its 1.3MP front camera, is only slightly higher than vga. Not much point of the extra 916,000 pixels when using it for video chat, and with 8MP and flash on the other side, it’ll probably be used for little else.

  • Christin
    April 29, 2011

    Which phone is faster?

    • Christin, the specs on the Motorola DROID Bionic make me think it will be faster than the HTC ThunderBolt. However, the DROID Bionic is still off in the future, with a launch date nearly three months from now. If you need a fast phone now, the ThunderBolt is a great choice. If you can wait for the possibility of the DROID Bionic, then by all means wait. The DROID Bionic looks to be a really good phone when it eventually does arrive.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • cbrooks
    April 6, 2011

    I do not know which one of these phones to get! I am stuck between a rock and a hard place

    • Cale, the ThunderBolt has been out for a couple weeks and is indeed an excellent phone. The Motorola DROID Bionic hasn’t been released yet, so it’s hard to say how well it will live up to its early legend. Comparing specs, the DROID Bionic looks like it will extinguish all competition, but until it comes out all we can do is guess. If you need a phone today, the ThunderBolt is a great choice.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • MoonSkillet
    March 25, 2011

    Hello everyone and WireFly! Couple of questions. I have the 1st Gen Moto Droid and am use to it, but don’t know if I would like to switch over from the MotoBlur to the HTC Sense interfaces. Kinda tired of the block look on MotoBlur. WireFly, Thought’s please. I have also been told that right out of production Verizon is selling a bigger battery for the ThunderBolt that is almost double, 2700. Would this not make it more worth while? Unless you are mass multi tasking alot is the dual core processer of the Bionic going to be that big of a benefit? Has Wirefly not been able to get there hands on a Bionic yet to test and run a smackdown against the ThunderBolt with there dual bench test?

    • Lots of questions, Moon, and I don’t know if I can answer them all. I personally prefer the look and operation of HTC Sense to Motorola’s MotoBlur, but some people reasonably prefer MotoBlur. I don’t really know about the bigger battery for the ThunderBolt and tend to think that a battery with twice the capacity of the stock battery will require a different back cover. Otherwise, a bigger battery is always better. And no, Wirefly has not gotten a DROID Bionic yet, but we’re still trying!

      Bob at Wirefly

  • Different features are better on both phones and they are very closely comparable…. Thunderbolt has more ram but bionic has a faster processer ….. Bionic has a better battery…. Bionic has a better screen resolution …. Thunderbolt has a better front camera…. There both great phones but I think hands down get the bionic…..

    • A lot of attention has been placed on the 512M Bionic memory. There are reasons for it and you may or may not appriciate them.

      The Bionic saves battery power by the lower cell count, but there is more to it than that. the Bionic uses a desktop style DDR2 memory (as opposed to mobile DDR). It has twice the bandwidth and the same latancy over what you find in just about all other phones. I won’t say all phones, I don’t know, but it’s the only one I’m aware of, if others do it’s probably the Atrix and Xoom.

      So, yes, a little less RAM, but it’s smoking fast RAM, on the fastest processor.

      I have yet to run out of memory on my phone yet, so I don’t know how much of a practical issue it is for the vast majority of users. Yes, more is better, but are you really missing anything?

      The processor speed, the dominiating Tegra graphics and the nicer screen of the Bionic alone wins it for me. I spend more time looking at the screen than the memory chips. :)

  • I’m dealing with a broken LG Voyager right now and I just can’t wait for either of these phones to come out.

  • RobJohnsonJr
    March 5, 2011

    Thought about the IPhone4, but I am a PC guy and I need a phone now. I am into hifi, and like the Droid Bionic’s HDMI out feature, but I also like the fact that HTC Thunderbolt is expected out now (????) This waiting crap is killing me!!

    I have a dead Blackberry and had to fire up an old one with a badly cracked screen. I am just going to have to wait i suppose. And by the fricking time the Bionic or thuderbolt come out, the IPhone 5 will be coming out too!!

    And all this makes me tempted to just get the iphone now. ARGH!

  • LynxxDa Detonator
    March 5, 2011

    I’ve had my Motorola droid since it came out, and I’ve been waiting on the BIONIC to come out so i can upgrade. but I’m beginning to think that i am wasting my time waiting on the bionic.should i wait for Droid Bionic to come out or just go with Thunderbolt? cause my phone is getting reeeeeeeeeal slooooooooooooow on me….

    • Get both and see what’s better for you. I just bought the HTC Thunderbolt. It is amazingly fast and graphics compare to a Samsung Galaxy S. The batteries don’t last long. I’ll buy the Bionic too and see if I like it better.

  • Suzi Thompson
    March 4, 2011

    I have been waiting on the thunder bolt to come out the 1st it was suppose to be here Feb. 24th then it was pushed to Feb. 28th, now I here it’s March 10th, what is the hold up does that mean theres a problem with it’s creation? or other problems?

    • Suzi, we really don’t know what the holdup is with the ThunderBolt — everything we’ve seen points to the phone being a powerhouse. We are just patiently waiting to get the approval to start selling the ThunderBolt but are in the dark as to the reason why it’s not yet available.


      • I hate phrases like “powerhouse” to describe a phone. Also, I wish I could find an article that did more than chart specs. No mention that the Bionic’s RAM is DDR2 or how that will likely push the RAM spec in Bionic’s favor. No mention of the fact that the single-core cpu in the Tbolt is a 2nd generation Snapdragon (i.e., roughly 50% faster than the snapdragon in last year’s phones). No discussion about whether overheating may be an issue in the Bionic, due to dual-core functionality. No discussion or supposition about which device will turn out to be faster. No comparison or contrast between the HTC Sense and Motoblur interfaces.

        I’m not trying to be overly critical, because I know you folks at Wirefly do a great job with your unboxing and Schmackdown videos, but I just get tired of these spec charts that don’t offer further expert discussion.

        • Thanks, Buck. I agree with your criticism and appreciate your feedback.
          We’ll be more thorough on these on going forward and, certainly, once we have the phones in our hands.

          Jeff Gregory

    • I talked with my sister who works for Verizon about the Thunderbolt. She says the Thunderbolt is having problems, hence it’s delay. The second batch of phones should have the problems resolved. Apparently this is typical of smart phones today.

  • stang5litre
    March 2, 2011

    Ya it’s everywhere that it has 512mb not 1gb. Also i think the front facing camera on the thunderbolt is better.(contrast ratio is higher which makes higher resolution) But htc’s problem is their batteries they always put a 1400m in every phone. Do they not own another battery?? i have 1400 on my old dare. Let alone power a smart phone

    • I’m with you on that one….. I barely call 5 friend for 20 minutes and 30 texts and next thing I know I’m at 50 percent battery ??? Very true…. The bionic has a much better battery..

  • I like the Bionic mostly for its better front facing camera. Will they be compatible in a video chat though?

    • The Thunderbolt has a better front facing camera.

    • I don’t think so ??? .3 megapixels opposed to 1.3 (thunderbilt has a better camera)

  • So is the bionic better than the thunderbolt or you will be happy with any which one I choose.

  • Thank you for the correction, but I don’t know if all of the Bionic’s specs have been finalized. I’m going to leave this chart as it is until Verizon/Motorola release the launch kit with the final specs.

    Bob at Wirefly

  • ghostpanther
    February 11, 2011

    DROID Bionic’s onboard storage… is it 8GB or 16GB? The table lists one figure then a different is listed in the text section below…

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