As for the display, it’s pretty fantastic — definitely an upgrade from the EVO’s component thanks to a superior viewing angle that never washes out or inverts. Admittedly, WVGA starts to look just a tad pixellated once you get past 4 inches into the 4.3-inch category, but we’re spoiled these days — and if they Pyramid rumors are true, HTC is hard at work on qHD solutions for its next-gen devices anyway. One characteristic that we’ve noticed on a number of other phones in the past year that we miss here is the gapless display, a display so close to the glass that it appears to be on the surface of the phone itself (in fact, it’s so cool that Sony Ericsson actively markets it as a feature of the Xperia Arc). Well, there’s definitely a noticeable gap on the Thunderbolt, but it’s a purely aesthetic complaint — there’s zero effect on capability or usability whatsoever — it’s just fun to hold your phone at an angle once in a while and say, “wow.”
800×480 pixels on a 4.3-inch LCD is getting pretty old. It has been almost an entire year where 960×640 on a much smaller 3.5-inch display has been leading the way.
So the cover glass is not optically laminated to the LCD. One possible positive is that it will be easier to repair/replace the cover glass or LCD. The downside is optical clarity: there will be more refraction because of the air gap and therefore display performance will suffer. And finally there is a chance that dust will get stuck right where you notice it: something I really didn’t appreciate on all the iPhones prior to the 4.