HTC Thunderbolt battery upgrade, $49.99 well spent?

By Alan Ng - Mar 21, 2011

Now that the HTC Thunderbolt has been out for a good few days, we want to know your immediate thoughts on it. We recently asked you about the types of 4G LTE speeds you were getting on the handset, but now we want to know what your battery life is like.

As most of you will know, the handset came in for a considerable amount of criticism over fears that battery life was poor, and having had a chance to see this aspect up close at hand – would you agree that the battery life is unacceptable?

Luckily, there is an alternative option if you are getting poor battery life, but it comes at a price at $49.99 to upgrade the battery to a 2750mAh powered one. This will offer almost double the battery power that you’d usually get on the shipped 1400mAh one, and we’re interested to know who has already paid $50 for one.

We know a lot of you are pretty disappointed with the battery life, we’ve even heard in some instances that the handset only offers a dismal four hours of usage. With this in mind, it seems like this $50 extra battery is essential if you want to make the most out of the handset. Verizon obviously has said very little about the battery life issues, but it perhaps seems a little unfair to charge customers $50 for a decent battery that should have been on the handset in the first place.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you bought the $50 battery for the HTC Thunderbolt?

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Also See: Verizon Unlimited free for 12 months is a scam

  • Stephen

    How much to people use their phones….I guess I am just a casual user…perfect battery life for me. Lasts all day with all the time I have to do anything with it. I am not watching full length movies or anything. But given that the battery is actually bigger….screw that!! I would get another regular sized battery first.

  • Joseph

    HTC has learned. Just not Verizon. The new HTC evo 3d has a 1730 mah battery stock

  • Chris

    However, as Tim also noted, you can improve battery life by making some simple changes, not the least of which is switching to 3G when speed isn't necessary. (Verizon reps will tell you this isn't possible, but it is; download Any Cut from the Android market, make Phone Info a shortcut, and that will display the switch. Choose "3G – CDMA auto (PRL)" or "4G – CDMA + LTE/EvDo auto".) You can also turn down the screen brightness (the screen is a major power hog) and either dial the the screen timeout down to 30 seconds or simply turn off the screen when you don't need it. More ideas are available; just Google "improve Thunderbolt battery life." I'm not sure about app killers, though, as there seems to be some debate as to whether they help or harm. I don't use one and my TB's battery holds up well.

  • Chris

    Tim wrote: "The same thing happened when the EVO came out. everyone flipped out and started returning them." And no wonder, since the EVO and Thunderbolt are basically the same phone. The thing is, all smart phones drain the battery faster than plainer phones because of the data usage and their more complex operating systems. 4G service is great, but it requires even more power than 3G, so a 4G use will drain the battery faster. HTC could have just produced the EVO/TB with the larger battery, but then people would turn away because of the bulk.

  • ralphyg

    Good luck getting your hands on the extended battery. SOLD OUT!

  • Bnk

    I returned mine and waiting for the bionic to come out It's not worth putting another 50 into and I'm not going to have to carry a charger in my pocket for the next year

  • Mike E.

    Love reading all the issue for the TB regarding battery life. I am picking mine up today and will get the extended battery. I agree that I feel it's a marketing ploy and they should have thought this out before selling them. I am sure I will figure out some tricks to make the battery issue freindly. Thanks for all the tips!!!

  • njma53

    HTC Thunderbolt Battery update Well beleive it or not you can get 8 hours of use out of the regular battery if you do the following. Let your battery run down to the red zone couple of times if your phone is new to break it in. Turn off your 4g there is a app for this call phone info works awesome when you want to use 4g you switch it back easy! Turn down your brightness past half way to almost a 1/4 turn off animations. I have done all of this and I have gotten 8 hours of use from my std battery. Surf the web not all day when I needed too. check emails, made and recieve calls and I got 8 hours of use . I DONT WORK FOR VZ…. I also did complain about the battery and I was going to send it back to VZ they cut me a deal to keep it . EXT battery I pay 30 bucks and free shipping! It is not that Big with the EXT BATTERY 1/8 thicker that is it.. This phone is really awesome and they are up grading to Ginger Bread shortly which will improve battery life and add a few other things as well.
    Give it a try TB you have 14 day to run it . I have read up and read every review tips and tricks this is what I have found to work for me.
    Good Luck

  • george

    vz should provide the extended battery at no charge.
    i spent $30.00 on a case that i can not use or return after upgrating to the new battery
    the phone is nice, vz and htc should do better

  • deelongo

    as long as we do nothing about the battery issue….verizon will get away with it…….someone should call the news media and report what the thunderbolt has with the battery issue….i phone had a problem with their antenna and at&t provided them a cover free of charge……..we all paid over $200.00 for this phone and shouldnt have to pay more………on top of that verizons thunderbolt has no skype video…..sounds like false advertisement to me………

  • lawrence

    yes the BIG VZ sould have package a ext battery and and reg battery and a stand alone charger like att did after the blackjack1 come out att re package the blackjack 1 because of short battery life … but i really like my thunderbolt and yes i needed the ext battery so for it better than my battery deading after 6 hours even with turning off all the items i dont use will in standby mode big red i hope your reading this and sould take care of people that pay for a phone and a 30 DATA PLAN that a phone sould less you at less to you make it home with out over charging your battery to DEATH

  • njma53

    First let me say this the TB is a awesome phone beside the battery issue if you take the time and search out the exstended battery there is a review on this in video and it is not at all that thick 1/8 thicker. What I do not beleive is any of us should have to pay 50.00 plus for this because VZ new of this b4 hand they should offer a BIG DISCOUNT to all that bought this phone period. There is also a app on the andriod market call ( phone info ) which let you turn off 4g and then runs on 3 g it a very simple 2 steps save battery life by 50% with the app you can go back and switch on the 4g when in need. As for returns no matter who you bought from as long as you return the phone within 14 days they have to credit you. Only thing you will be charge is a restocking fee of 35.00 wirefly may not do this but I know vZ does I AM not sure what I will do yet I am having that same issue over the us paying 50.00 for the battery! I will update on using the phone info app… see where that brings me!

  • Patricia

    I bought the extended battery Monday. I have not used it yet. Used my Advanced Task Killer and set all my limits to the power saving level. So far my battery has lasted for almost 24 hours, that is without my going on the internet. I do love this phone for it's quickness and alot of the things it's capable of doing. I especially like the voice texting.

    • George

      Are you talking about setting the limits in the Task Killer App or on the phone

  • Gary

    I agree with most posts… I read up on the batery life before purchasing the phone. got it the first day it came out ans immediately bought the battery upgrade. I get about a days worth with moderate use. I am somewhat satisfied with the upgrade battery, but feel it is a joke that it was not included. I still feel even with the upgrade the life is unacceptable. i am looking at getting the third party upgrade for even more life, but concerned about the bulkiness.

    I think a rebate from verizon is in order for at least $50 bucks.

  • Marco

    God forbid you people would have to lug around a beige brick phone with extended battery that a 7'" non retractable rubber antenna in 1990's trust me it fit in your back pocket. Get over it, buy an extended battery it makes the phone no larger than the original motorola droid it is only 1/8" larger!

  • tim

    The same thing happened when the EVO came out. everyone flipped out and started returning them. You have to change a lot of settings and use a task killer. I have had my phone off the charger for 7 hrs now and still have 60% battery. I am using the stock battery. The battery will get better every day. I did order the extended battery for the days that I will be on the phone constantly due to my busy season with my job. I do think htc and verizon should have figured out a way to put a larger battery in. Maybe get rid of the kick stand for more room.

  • Rose

    I too am very disappointed by the battery life. I was actually contracted under another cell phone company and was waiting for the IPhone 5 to make the switch over with my husband under a family plan. Instead, he decided to surprise me for my birthday and pre-order the Thunderbolt. This is my first droid phone and I expected a lot more from Verizon and htc. I'm a little disappointed that I made the switch, considering how unreliable my phone is now. We've already bought the phone and the case, and now I have to consider buying another battery for $50 just so I can rely on it lasting for more than 4 hours and then not be able to use the $25 case I just bought?? How much money do I have to spend just to have a phone I can be satisfied with??

  • MIK3

    Bought mine the day it came out. Couldn't get it to stay on. Battery would die even with the phone off. Had to charge it 3 times a day. Took the phone back and car mount for a full refund. 50 for a battery is ridiculous. How am I supposed to used the car mount with a huge batter sticking out in the back.
    200phone + 50battery + 30car mount +15Invishield = wait for something else to comeout

  • doug

    just got mine a few days ago as well. took it to work today and could almost actually see the battery icon go down and down. this is my first smartphone and i was real excited about it and have to say its been a big let-down… not sure what to do, get a bigger battery or take it back, bought it from wirefly, anyone have any thoughts on what wirefly does ??

    • Karen

      Per Wireflys website:
      When you sign up for wireless carrier service through Wirefly, we discount your phone purchase price by an Equipment Discount amount ranging from $200 to $300. By ordering through Wirefly, you agree to repay this discount if, during the 181 days after your new equipment is activated, if you:

      * Fail to pay your balance due to your carrier each month
      * Disconnect this line of service
      * Transfer this equipment to another line of service
      * Change your carrier service rate plan to a lower monthly service rate plan
      * Deactivate the email/data feature if one was required at the point of purchase
      * Transfer/port an existing phone number from another account if this is a new line of service
      * Replace an existing account with this account if this is a new line of service
      * Return or exchange your phone and it is not in its original, new condition with no more than 30 minutes of usage

      If you break any of these contract provisions, except as a result of a documented service quality issue related to the carrier service, you authorize us to charge your credit card in repayment of the Equipment Discount.

    • njma53

      Send it back they have to refund your money only they may charge you 35.00 restocking they didnt with me when a different phone back sent within the 14 days. Yake them about a week to credit your card!
      Good Luck

  • bugmania

    after having the TB for 7 days i'm returning back the phone, because battery sucks!!!!!! And dont want to pay more for a battery when htc already knew about this problem. maybe thats why release dates were changed and.what abut built in video skype they promise, and 8gb of internal's going back to B.R.

  • alex

    i bought one and wow its huge kinda ugly looking

  • Mikifin

    I got my Thunderbolt yesterday and charged it from 10pm last night until 7 this morning. At 2 pm this afternoon I had 28% battery left. It is on the charger now. I haven't bought the bigger battery yet but it looks like the $250 phone just went to $300. Verizon should have to pay for the battery.

  • Mike

    Got mine yesterday and used it at work today. Haven't even taken a phone call and I have had to take it out to my car 3 times to charge it enough to even be on. I didn't bring the charger because I didn't think it would be needed, but alas it is horrible. As I type this it is on its last death rolls of life. It will die before I get a chance to charge it again. Verizon better do something or I am taking the thing back. Having to charge it every 3 hours is unacceptable and I am not buying another battery for what should be a standard issue item.

    • Carol

      Make sure you watch the time because you only have 14 days to return it. Mine is going back too. I agree with John ..

    • Stephen

      Lmao….I have taken many calls today…surfed the web…remoted into my home computer, watched videos…talked on IM…and downloaded at least 15 apps…and i am not halfway dead on my battery. I say operator error.

  • John

    The battery life if a joke. My concern about shelling out $50.00 for a "big person battery" is that you can't cover the phone properly due to the added bulk. This renders all cases useless…until Verizon nicely comes out with a cover for the Thunderbolt with extended battery…for an additional fee.

  • Jody

    I'm thinking about purchasing it (the extended battery); my belief is that this device should be classified as a "luxury phone" until it can get you through an entire day without it dying. Verizon and HTC should do some due diligence and offer that battery upgrade at a considerable discount or free…. frankly at the moment, the battery life is a joke.

  • Gman2201

    I agree with Chris- I purchased the larger battery for the Thunderbolt also. I am also getting about a 1 day with moderate ussage. I also feel that it is worth the extra money for a little piece of mind.

  • Chris

    I purchased the larger battery for the Thunderbolt. The phone will last me all day with moderate use. It does make the phone more bulky but I feel it is worth it to not have to charge in the middle of the day.

  • Katie

    I have not bought the better battery, the current battery life sucks.. I had to charge my phone over 3 or 4 times in a day so far.. The battery is horrible.. I am going to try a few things to see if it will get better, but I think Verizon should automatically upgrade the battery for the people that bought this phone.. They should have tested the battery before shoving it out there to sale..