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Dealing With Stock Life
The stock battery on the HTC Thunderbolt is a 1400mah model. This isn't a large battery for a modern 4.3" smartphone, and when you throw in the 4G LTE network adapter, you receive a short battery life. While the phone is capable of lasting throughout a day of light use, web browsing can suck the phone dry in a few hours.
If you have a Thunderbolt and are unhappy with its endurance, you do have some options available. There are extended batteries for the HTC Thunderbolt that can double its time away from a socket. Let's have a look at some popular options.
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Official HTC 2750mAh Battery
Short battery life is not an issue that caught HTC or Verizon off guard. Both knew that the Thunderbolt, for all its other benefits, would have to deal with this disadvantage. As a result, an official 2750mAh extended battery was made available shortly after the release of the phone.
This large 2750mAh battery is far too beefy to fit inside the Thunderbolt's stock case, so it comes with an extend battery door that accommodates it. This adds significant bulk to the back of the phone, but the fit and appearance is tight and consistent, which is what you'd expect from an extended battery coming straight from a phone's manufacturer.
The 2750mAh rating of this upgrade is almost double the 1400mAh of the stock, so it's unsurprising that battery life is roughly doubled. The Thunderbolt should be able to last several days of light use with this battery, or endure about 8 hours of non-stop 4G Internet use.
You'll have to pay about $50 bucks for this accessory, which isn't a bad price for an official battery upgrade. The large battery and plus-sized cover make it incompatible with standard Thunderbolt cases, but there are some cases available that accommodate the Thunderbolt with extended battery installed.
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Seido Innocell 1600 mAh Slim Battery
Bigger batteries result in better battery life, but they give your phone serious junk in the trunk. Seido's Innocell 1600 mAh Slim Extended Battery attempts to solve this problem by adding an extra 200mAh but keeping the size down so that the battery still fits within the standard Thunderbolt cover.
While the idea is good, such a small increase in battery life isn't enough to be noticeable in the real world. Many customers have expressed disappointment because they apparently did not realize that this was the case. Don't be fooled - while this is technically and extended life battery, it only makes sense if your existing one is already about to go kaput. This battery isn't even inexpensive - at about $35, it's not a good value compared to larger options.
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Seido Innocell 3200mAh Battery
Rated at 3200mAh, this battery trumps even HTC's own extended battery by a fair margin. With so much charge available, users should be able to take their Thunderbolt through several days of life use or 10 hours+ of continuous 4G use.
Despite the extra size, this product is not much larger than the 2750mAh battery sold by HTC. The covers are different, and this battery ships with its own rear cover in addition to the battery, but in terms of look and feel, the differences are minimal. Seido offers a line of cases designed for extended endurance that will fit either this option or the official HTC product.
Praise aside, this battery is a bit expensive at $60 on Amazon. Although it's only $10 to $15 more than the typical price of the HTC battery, it's also not much larger, and it's from an unofficial manufacturer. It's hard to say if the extra cost is worthwhile.
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In addition to these popular batteries there is a wide variety of other options available from companies like Trexacell, Hyperion, and Prodicell. These companies are generally small and make their way by selling batteries at very low prices. For example, Hyperion will sell you a 3500mAh battery with back cover for just $14.99.
This might be a great value, or it might be a rip-off. For example, while some customers are happy with the inexpensive Hyperion battery, others have complained that the back cover does not fit well and impedes 4G reception, resulting in lower data transfer rates.
Ultimately, such products tend to be a gamble because it's so easy to acquire batteries and re-sell them under a different brand name. Is that 3500mAh battery really rated at that, or is it an exaggeration? That's difficult to tell without buying the battery and trying it yourself. That's not to say you should never try the cheap, off-brand batteries, but if you do make sure you buy from a store with a solid returns policy.
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- Engadget: Verizon and HTC offer Thunderbolt extended battery, give your phone dumps like a truck, http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/21/verizon-and-htc-offer-thunderbolt-extended-battery-give-your-ph/
- PC Perspective: HTC Thunderbolt Review, http://pcper.com/reviews/Mobile/HTC-Thunderbolt-Review-4G-LTE-Storms-Airwaves
All images are from battery manufacturers