Hands on with Sprint's Hero and Instinct HD

Hands on with Sprint's Hero and Instinct HD
What a difference a year makes  Last September the first Diamonds were trickling into the market while some were holding out for their beloved QWERTY keyboard, but the Instinct still reigned supreme at Sprint.  All were fine devices, to be sure, but the landscape has changed drastically since.  In June Sprint released the most anticipated device of the year (Pre,) then followed it up with the best BlackBerry ever (Tour,) and maybe the best Windows device ever (Touch Pro2.)  Not content to rest on their laurels, the fast-moving company is looking to kick the competition when it's down: enter the HTC Hero and Samsung Instinct HD.


The latter is the proper refresh to the original Instinct, bumping the spec sheet in nearly every way.  It is the first phone in the US to offer HD video recording, and with an optional HDMI cable content can be displayed on an HDTV.  The 5 megapixel camera with flash is a hefty jump up from the original 2MP shooter without.  There are proper apps this time around, including the ever-popular Facebook, Twitter, and Google Maps.  The interface has been slightly reworked for the better, allowing outlets like weather.com and CNN to deliver content straight to the homescreen.  The screen has been upgraded to 3.2" at 320x480 and is much crisper, and an accelerometer lets the user switch to landscape easily.  WiFi has been added for those of you who don't live in 3G areas, and the HD marks the first time we've seen the Opera Mobile browser outside of Windows Mobile.  All in all, we're really impressed with the upgrades...just not enough to justify the $250 pricetag.


For a full $70 less you will be able to score yourself an HTC Hero on October 11.  Sprint has been on-board with the Open Handset Alliance since launch, but this marks the first Android phone for the carrier.  On paper the device is simply the CDMA variant of the European GSM unit, but it has undergone a complete visual makeover.  Gone is the distinctive chin, a huge plus in our book, and the the hard lines have been replaced for hand-caressing curves.  The buttons have also been mercifully rearranged to be more symmetrical.  We wouldn't have minded seeing a dash of color, but the silver-on-gray looks better than it sounds, and the phone feels wonderful in your hands.  As for features, Sprint has left the device pretty much alone.  Their TV, NFL, NASCAR and navigation apps come preloaded, and visual voicemail has been thankfully included.  Beyond that it is the same Sense UI-running Android beast that it was when we first took a look at it.  Everything we loved is still there, and the major lag issue seems to be fixed, though some minor lag is still present at times.

So let's review Sprint's lineup again.  Best (only) webOS device, check.  Best BlackBerry, check.  Best Windows Mobile device, check.  Best Android device, check.  Best (overpriced) dumbphone, check.  Best plans, check.  Can you hear them now?  Check back for a full review of both units soon!

Samsung Instinct HD Specifications
HTC Hero CDMA Specifications

*images of the Hero have been shot with the Instinct HD, and vice versa.  Images of both have been shot with our normal camera.



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14 Comments

1. nalu808

Posts: 39; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

why is everone complaining about the price...accelerometer, wi-fi o and wait hd...hd hardware must not be cheap. yes i agree its pricey but the pre and hero dont have hd.

2. Ray

Posts: 62; Member since: Apr 30, 2009

Who is the best?..... oh yea Sprint!

3. acipollo

Posts: 34; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Go Sprint!!

4. stuntz

Posts: 178; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

hero doesnt have flash on the camera if it did it be up to 199.99. I guess for the first cell phone in the US to record HD video, its not a bad price.

5. pa156287

Posts: 23; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Finally The company is headed in the right direction, now all they need is to get rid of that Nextel B.S.

6. AZNphoneGeek

Posts: 200; Member since: May 15, 2009

damm, the sprint fall lineup has some major balls. not bad at all =)

7. josh10132

Posts: 30; Member since: Sep 29, 2009

I agree about the major balls, it looks like the instinct hd takes better quality pics, the "Samsung" seems blurry when the Hero took the pic, the "HTC" doesn't seem blurry when the HD took it

8. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

LOL...so I'm cursed. I've spent approximately 3 hours(including yesterday) talking to Sprint Customer Service over the last 2 months regarding me losing my eligibility for 2 year upgrade due to an issue at the warehouse when someone incorrectly processed a return handset. Well I talked to Telesales again for like 45mins yesterday, the day after the Instinct HD launched. I finally got them to reset my 2 yr eligibility status. First thing, let me tell you I've been waiting for the "M850" "Samsung Dash" "Instinct Deuce" or whatever you want to call it for the last 5 months. I started thinking to myself "WOOHOO, I'll be able to get the phone from Best Buy now! For $200 out the door insted of the $250 after $100 rebate Sprint wanted!" I went to Best Buy, waited to talk to a rep, just to find out...Best Buy doesn't sell Sprint phones in Washington State.....So......I'm stuck waiting for Oct 11 because Sprint doesn't have anyone in Washington state who sells Instinct HDs yet, checked other Best Buy stores, and the local corporate Sprint stores, and asked Telesales(they never even heard of the Instinct HD). You think when they agreed to a exclusivity period with Best Buy they would think of including the whole USA being that Best Buy Mobile doesnt serve Sprint to the whole country. Anyone have any ideas on how I can get an InstinctHD without having to wait till OCT 11? And I'm not driving 5 hours to get to a different state who Best Buy does sell them in.

9. AZNphoneGeek

Posts: 200; Member since: May 15, 2009

hey DOAKIE... didn't i rip on you the other day for throwing up a stupid post? want a hug or something? Tmobile called, they want you back.

10. nalu808

Posts: 39; Member since: Jul 14, 2009

Doeakie: first you complained about the price and now this. DO YA WANT SOME CHEESE WITHJ THAT WINE. its probably not sprints fault that best buy doesnt have it, im sure there is a stupid but cost effective buisness decision behind that to save both companies money...get over it and wait...and better hope that rebate sticks..lol

11. DonLouie

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 22, 2008

Doakie, try ordering it online thru BB. All of you jumping on the guy for venting should chill, buddy has been all over every post about this phone on most sites so excuse the enthusiasim because he's not the only one complaining about the $350 out the door price w/Sprint

12. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

thank you!!!!! so glad they got rid of that ugly ass chin

13. BB_HTC

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

HERO IS MUCH BETTER!!! DEALT WITH BOTH STUCK WITH THE HERO!!! I USE TO ONLY LOVE BB BUT the Hero really changed my perspective on touchscreen phones!!! the IHD looks kool but its like the same interace as all the othe instincts n they r boring now!!!

14. DonLouie

Posts: 594; Member since: Dec 22, 2008

I lean towards the IHD myself

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