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HTC Thunderbolt 4G: Can the EVO's powerhouse design strike twice?

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The HTC Thunderbolt, a chunky smartphone powered by Verizon's new 4G network, doesn't have a price or a concrete release date, but it is already soaking up a good deal of the buzz at the CES show in Vegas.

And for good reason: the thing is packed with features, from a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, pre-loaded Skype video chat, a 32GB MicroSD card for storage, HTC Sense interface, and a big old speaker on the back for playing video and music.

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But can the HTC Thunderbolt stand up to its competitors, or the near identical Sprint EVO 4G?

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Over at PC World, Ginny Mies, who got a hands-on with the Thunderbolt, says the phone is a true "multimedia powerhouse" – a phone geared toward content creators and content consumers.

"Similar in design to the HTC EVO 4G, the monsterous Thunderbolt sports a 4.3-inch Super LCD display, a front-facing video camera and yes, even a kickstand," Mies writes. "It feels really well-constructed and solid in hand while maintaining the slick aesthetic we've come to expect of HTC phones. It also has an 8-megapixel camera, which took pretty clean pictures in the bright lights of the Las Vegas In-and-Out."

As Mies hints, when the HTC EVO 4G first hit shelves in early June of 2010, reviewers were well-nigh delirious with happiness. "Let us be crystal clear: we love this phone. Nay, we adore it," gushed the folks at Engadget.

Of course, the Thunderbolt won't have the next-gen 4G handset market all to itself. On January 9, Sprint will release the EVO Shift 4G, an HTC Sense-equipped handset with a 3.6-inch LCD display.

4G fever! Read more here.

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Related: Verizon iPhone is reportedly signed, sealed, and ready for 2011 delivery