HTC Hero CDMA Review
The HTC Hero features the same Sense UI we saw the first time around. This marks the first time a manufacturer has really customized Android, though since then Motorola has introduced their MOTOBLUR interface on the upcoming CLIQ. Sense takes the best of the TouchFLO 3D interface and integrates the personalization afforded by Android. The “homescreen” is actually 7 screens, and each one is fully customizable. There are plenty of stock Android widgets, hundreds of more available through the market, and a number of new HTC widgets. The HTC widgets are very impressive, anything from contacts, messaging, calendar, music, Twitter, a whole slew of clocks and many others.
In case seven pages of customizations aren’t enough, there are multiple “scenes” that the user can switch between. The theory behind this is that the user can have a scene for work, a scene for the weekend, a scene for social networking, etc. There are pre-named scenes- of course all customizable- and the user can save and name other scenes. The possibilities are virtually endless.
There were lag issues with the original, but for the most part they seem to have been fixed in Sprint’s version. It is still present at times however; for instance when typing something and rotating the device there is 1-2 seconds before it responds. Nothing major, but just bad enough that it may get annoying after time. The biggest annoyance is opening apps, which can take 5-10s. We’re not sure how much of this is Android and how much of this is Sense. Hopefully it will be corrected in a future update, but the lag is no worse than what the iPhone or the Pre exhibit at times.
The dedicated search key will bring up a Google search bar, and much like the search bar in Firefox it will give suggestions for popular searches as you type. Opening the search key in certain apps, for instance contacts, will search that app rather than the web. Unlike Palm’s webOS you cannot search for a contact or other local information from the main screen.
Phonebook and Organizer:
Again, there isn’t anything new here, but HTC’s contact management is awesome. For starters, you can link contacts to their Facebook profile and Flickr pages. In this manner status updates will be delivered to your device, and within the contact you can view albums from both services. Linked Facebook contacts use their Facebook profile picture, but unlike this feature for HTC’s Windows Mobile devices, this picture does not stay with the contact when synced, whereas manually set pictures do.
Each contact has six tabs. The first contains their information, the second your text history with them, the third your email history and the sixth your call history. The fourth tab is Updates and Events, which shows their Facebook status and any upcoming events, such as a birthday, and the fifth tab is their albums, again from Facebook, Flickr or both. TouchFLO 3D 2.0 users should be used to this type of contact view, and it is very nice to have everything about a contact self contained.
Being a smartphone, the Hero has a space for any manner of information on a given contact. You can store birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, IM, email and a few other items. For those people you just don’t want to talk to there is an option to send their calls directly to voicemail, a handy feature to be sure. HTC does offer a desktop sync client for this, but being an Android phone the device syncs contact and calendar info with your Gmail account. This sync is not instantaneous, like it is on the Pre, but it does run quietly in the background.
The calendar has everything you’d want and expect. When adding an event you can choose what calendar you want it to be stored to, your options are Gmail, Outlook or Exchange. One minor quirk that annoyed us is that all day events show up a day early on the calendar widget. For instance, if someone in your contact list has a birthday two days from now the widget will say that it is an all day event tomorrow, and then tomorrow it will say that it is occurring that day but when you open the calendar it is indeed listed as an all day event on the proper day.
There are no tasks or notes apps, but the Android Market has several to choose from. The clock app gives you an alarm clock, world clock, stopwatch and countdown timer. The basic calculator has an advanced panel, but disappointingly does not switch to scientific mode when the Hero is turned on its side.
There is a handy voice search application which allows you to perform a Google search with your voice. In our testing it was very accurate and served its purpose. There is also a voice command app which is accurate as well, however you have to confirm your selection by pressing a button, which means the device must be with you. We used a few different Bluetooth headsets, and unfortunately you cannot activate the voice command feature via the headset, it must be initiated from the phone itself. This doesn’t make much sense to us and defeats one of the main purposes of both Bluetooth and a voice command program.
The HTC Hero has many messaging options. SMS and MMS are encompassed within the messaging app, and conversations are threaded. The IM client bundles AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger, and Google Talk has its own stand alone app.
Gmail is of course the preferred email solution, but it will support nearly any IMAP and POP client, as well as Exchange email. Like Google Talk, Gmail has its own stand alone client and all other emails - including other Gmail accounts - are checked via the Mail app. The Gmail app is very nice, and replicates the web experience well. The Mail app had some issues with other Gmail accounts, for instance it would sync some of our labels, which it recognized as folders, but not others. Other email accounts synced just fine, which leads us to wish the Gmail app could handle multiple accounts.
We found the same three keyboards as on the original Hero, which originated from the Diamond. The QWERTY keyboard is, as you would expect, a full QWERTY. The compact QWERTY is similar to BlackBerry’s SureType keyboard, and the Phone Keypad is a T9 keypad. No matter which keyboard you choose, rotating the Hero to landscape mode brings up a full QWERTY. As we mentioned earlier there is a bit of lag for this transition however.
1. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
lag is a factor from the sence ui. of course, u can root the phone and get the free app that uses a swap file on your mem card as extra system memory, making things smooth as butter again. i wonder if the "1 click root" will work on the hero? anyone know?
6. coleckelberry (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Oct 2009)
what app is this and is it an approved android app ??
2. dialtone (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 Oct 2009)
Just played with this little jewel at the local Sprint store, and had to quickly move on as others were waiting to do the same. I can tell you it's very well built. I didn't experience any lag - the web browser was plenty smooth and the whole UI seemed well put together. Very impressed.
3. GoofyGirl_77 (Posts: 11; Member since: 09 Oct 2009)
I have a few questions - I'm seriously contemplating getting this phone but would like to know: 1. When the phone rings can you really silence it by turning the phone over? 2. Does this phone have a cut, copy & paste feature? 3. Is there a way to lock the screen when you answer the phone so you don't accidentally access other apps? 4. How is battery life compared to the Palm Pre? Thanks!
5. tokuzumi (Posts: 81; Member since: 27 Aug 2009)
I have been unable to find anything that is missing, with regards to colors.
7. letoauto (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Oct 2009)
anyone haveing issues with software... dont like no proximity sensor... and hard to end a call???
8. GoofyGirl_77 (Posts: 11; Member since: 09 Oct 2009)
Ok - I got the Hero today - wow! It is stunning! I have not found any issues with lag, no proximity sensor really isn't an issue when on a call and I didn't have any problems ending a call. Very easy to setup. I recommend using the clean slate scene to start then after putting everything where you want it save it as a scene. Much easier than deleting and rearranging!! Just my .02
9. bigdog805 (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)
Great phone, Just dont understand why sprint isnt promoting it like they did the palm pre. Android is a great OS, and have a well established app store where almost all the apps are free unlike most other app stores.
10. Cooper33 (Posts: 25; Member since: 31 Jul 2009)
I know phonearena rates the phones only between the phones of that particular cell phone carrier with which the phones are available. so tell me how he htc hero and the palm pixi have the same score? they're both and sprint, and this is clearly a much better phone becuase of the many capabilities is has in comparison to the pixi. god review i guess. but phonearena's ratings never seem consistent to me.
11. dweezilb (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)
I've had the hero for about a week now and I like it, but the virtual keyboard is very hard to use. I'm coming from a TouchDiamond with a smaller resistive screen, but strangely I could type faster on the Touch because I could use my fingernails to pinpoint the key I wanted. With the Hero's capacitive screen I have to use my fingertip and I keep hitting the wrong keys. Strange that I prefer the resistive technology! Seriously considering trading it for a Samsung Moment for the keyboard.
12. abdul12345 (unregistered)
are yeh chahiye mujhe
contact urjently htc agent plzzzzzzz
13. angry consumer (unregistered)
This phone is such a piece of s**t.