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Mobile research company RootMetrics is out with a new study today that will pique the interest of anyone considering a new phone on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. The Bellevue-based firm ran extensive tests of the HTC Thunderbolt and the Samsung Droid Charge on Verizon’s network in Seattle to compare the performance of the rival devices.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for raw download speed, go with the Thunderbolt. But that performance comes at price in the form of significantly shorter battery life, which is where the Charge prevails.

Read the full study here, and see a summary from Root below.

  • Data speed: Advantage – Thunderbolt. HTC Thunderbolt delivered download data speeds faster than Charge nearly 80% of the time. In fact, the Thunderbolt’s maximum speed was the fastest download speed ever measured by RootMetrics.
  • Data reliability: A draw
  • Battery life: Advantage – Charge. Both phones utilize a significant amount of battery life within 3 hours of extreme use, but the Charge drains battery power more slowly. At the end of a 3-hour test, the Thunderbolt’s battery level was 15%, while the Charge’s battery level was 47%.
  • Call reliability: A draw
  • Text delivery: Advantage- Charge. When using the Charge, the median delivery time of a text message was 11.7 seconds. With the Thunderbolt, delivery time was 2X as slow, recording a median delivery time of 23.8 seconds.

Apart from the comparison of the phones, the study contains some interesting findings about Verizon’s LTE network in general. Root encountered zero data access failures and zero dropped or blocked calls during its extensive testing of the devices, resulting in the draws on the reliability measures above.

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