HTC Hero Review
An HTC device that´s not handy when it comes to messages and emails? There´s no such thing under the Sun and the Hero is no exception to the rule. SMS and MMS content is visualized in threaded style and creating a new message is just a click away. Email accounts are easy to deploy and you have automated settings for major service providers. Your inbox filters letters by different criteria, showing them in threaded style, by file attachments, alphabetically etc.
The only chat client that came preinstalled on our unit is Google Talk, but fortunately, Android Market is brimming with free, well-made applications like this, so we´ve lucked out. We are really happy to see that a Twitter client has been integrated and is showed as a separate widget. Micro blogging, along with Facebook, have been by far a superior source of information to CNN lately.
The screen keyboard of the HTC Hero is quite similar to the one that the Magic sports, with the major difference being all special symbols are visible all the time here and can be activated by touching and keeping your finger pressed against them for a while. All told, the overall implementation is pretty close to what the iPhone delivers, which currently constitutes the standard for screen keyboards, although due to the smaller display size, the Hero feels less comfy.
Touching the QWERTY keyboard buttons produces a mild vibration feedback, which makes for an easier text entry plus the entered letter shows above your finger, so you can see if you´ve made a mistake. If you need another letter, just keep you finger pressed against the screen for a while, then move it to the one of your choice. If you type in with the T9 turned on, a row of word suggestions appears above the keyboard and all it takes to correct mistakes or add words to the dictionary is a simple touch with your finger.
Typing away using landscape and portrait mode keyboard feels really easy. The first allows for more space and is handier for two-handed entry, although the small size of the letters limits your speed. The situation is actually better than with the Crystal GD900, but still, typing feels pretty much the same. There are three different portrait modes available – a full and compact QWERTY keyboards plus standard phone keypad. Letters on the second are arranged in pretty much the same way as on the full QWERTY, but each key is assigned two letters and this is your best option when it comes to typing away with one hand.
The HTC Hero is a quad-band GSM, working at 7.2Mbps download and 2Mbps upload speeds. Our test unit is European version and runs on 900 and 2100MHz 3G networks. The rumor has it that a CDMA version is coming out on Sprint in the US. Moreover, the phone supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
Well, you must be burning with desire to find out how the browser stacks up against the competition and whether or not it´s the one and only to finally bring the all-mighty iPhone to its knees in terms of internet surfing. We, however, feel are being bad guys today and will first tell you about the last fishing trip of the uncle of one of our colleagues. All right, no more torturing, it´s time to get down to the browser implementation.
Wow, the browser… In reality, it´s not that dissimilar from the standard WebKit-based Android browser. HTC has just integrated multitouch functionality and Flash support. The end result is a browser that is controlled by spanning and pinching, loads and visualizes pages perfectly, works pretty fast (although slower than the iPhone) and plays animations. There is this insignificant, tiny thing about it though.
Unfortunately, we´ve come by a large number of devices laying claims to deliver full Flash support lately. This is nice in general, but all of them proved to deliver limited functionality and the HTC Hero is not an exception. Flash content is quite a bite to chew for modern hardware. Videos stutter on the Hero and therefore the device is unable to deliver proper experience. What´s more, popular web sites like Vimeo fail to load and the music Flash player on MySpace just won´t work, which basically means the functionality is limited to YouTube browsing.
Despite the shortcoming, the HTC Hero deserves an A plus with that respect, because the app represents an evolutionary development, even if it´s slightly below par when compared to the iPhone browser, because it runs slower and tends to stutter at times.
Aside from Google, the Hero can be synced with Microsoft Exchange Server and normal PCs (via Outlook) with dedicated software, called HTC Sync. Unfortunately, it simply cannot synchronize multimedia content like iTunes.
1. DontHateOnS60 posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55 0
Wow, I thought this phone was dumb looking when I first saw, and it's still dumb looking now. It's not all about software either. I do like the 1/2 QWERTY though.
2. DontHateOnS60 posted on 06 Aug 2009, 07:40 0
I'm still trying to figure out how exactly this is worthy of a 9, when so many other devices with a better combo of software and hardware get 8's. You guys like Android that much? Whatever...
3. behold--me posted on 06 Aug 2009, 15:43 0
why teflon on white? what a load of crap the sense ui is very nice.....best interface judging on looks and appearance. WAY better than dull plain andriod.... why not better processor? say 800 mhz like the samsung jet? all those transition effects would need some power to get it all runnin smoothly.
8. Vandro posted on 22 Aug 2009, 10:15 0
The teflon is supposed to prevent greasy fingers and dirt from staining the white, soft-touch plastic - believe me, it will. Adds grip, keeps away the dirt. It seems like there needs to be some pre-modification to Android to set it up for faster processors/bigger screens. If the software does not fully utilize the chipset it is running on - for example, Toshiba's skinned WinMo on the TG01 - we end up with an un-optimized, buggy OS with a good deal of lag that looks good. *See above*
4. MTLance (unregistered) posted on 07 Aug 2009, 19:08 0
Sluggish phones turned me off by PhoneArena ratings. Sluggish phone should be rated lower. I have my iPhone 3GS never been sluggish before and I would be pissed if that happens. Of well another HTC fail product. Does anyone know the price for HTC Hero? I mean in New Zealand here, on retailer is selling HTC Hero more than my iPhone 3GS 32GB. And not to mention you have to fork out a couple hundreds NZDs for MicroSD card. What an epic fail pricing to me here lol.
5. laseczek29 posted on 19 Aug 2009, 13:38 0
I got it!!! I bought it on 13th and I what to tell? It costed mi 480 euro and it was cheaper for 250 Euro than 32G iphone 3g in Poland. I was very curious it's better to buy Apple or HTC. I've checked all reviews, he, and decided to take htc:) Impressions? Hmmm, what makes me really nervous is...speed of the device. I hope it will be solved in soon future with something like software upgrade, otherwise I will sell that phone ASAP. Why? Lagging all the time, worse that it's shown in this review...:( It's really really nervous. You buy the device to use it without any problem but switching screens lasts sometimes ages... I'm a perfect sound maniac, but no bass or treble control in menu is ridiculous! Sound quality is just average, even compering with cheap SonyEricsson phones. Touch screen is awesome, colours, widgets, etc are also nice, but when you switch them, and suddenly want to make a phone call - he - it will tak almost 3 seconds to go to phone keyboard! Funny isn't it? I hope HTS solve it very soon. I'm really curious that Apple is like HTC, I mean slow, slow? Who can tell me? Because everyone say "ah, eh, i love it, etc" but is it truth? I heard the same with Hero, but honestly I can say, it's worth maybe maximum 200 Euro, not 500. So, I think I will sell it on ebay very soon and buy new iphone 3G :) So fellas, if you don't want to have a lot of laggs, forget about HTC... BR S ps. in Poland they don't give that nice looking case and wiper...:(
6. remixfa posted on 20 Aug 2009, 22:19 0
dude, an iphone, android, and for that matter, blackberry and windows, all are completely different. i have never been a big htc fan, their phones never quite work right for one reason or another. give me a trusty blackberry any day. it may not have all the fluff and sizzle, but it sure delivers a lot of great steak, where other phones, even the jesus phone, fall way short.
7. Vandro posted on 22 Aug 2009, 10:10 0
Just flash the Hero ROM on to a HTC Magic/Sapphire/myTouch 3G. Same basic architecture underneath all the plastic, with a slimmer form. You'll only have to sacrifice the piss poor 5MP for a 3.2MP that can actually take accurate, but underwhelming, photos. And can you say "cheaper."
9. tomtom (unregistered) posted on 06 Oct 2009, 18:07 0
This is an awesome phone! My friend bought his from JAB Cellular (http://www.jabcellular.com) and got a really good deal, and great service.
10. mjpower4 posted on 27 Oct 2009, 04:23 0
I like the phone and the premise of it but as a first time G1 adopter previously I wouldn't touch android until they can get a handset together that has better battery life. The G1 was a good handset in theory and so is the Hero but I need to go longer than 24 hours without carrying a charger and car charger and spare handset. Shame will wait to see how further android handsets do next year