HTC Hero CDMA Review

Sprint continues its onslaught of devices with their version of the HTC Hero.  This is the company’s first Android device, though it will be joined by the Samsung Moment just a few weeks later.  The Hero distinguishes itself from other Android devices thanks to HTC’s Sense UI.  Actually, Sense personalizes Android in a similar fashion to how TouchFLO 3D does it with Windows Mobile. It allows the user total customization of homescreen apps, widgets and even allows for different interface setups.  Other features of this fully-stocked phone include a 3.2” capacitive display, 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, EVDO Rev. A, 3.5mm headphone jack and microSDHC expansion up to 32GB.  Included in the box you’ll find:

•    1500mAh Li-ion battery
•    AC adapter with female USB end
•    USB data/charging cable
•    2GB microSD card


We first saw the Hero as a Teflon-coated, chinned device in Europe.  Underneath the Sprint version is identical (save for the CDMA radio,) but externally the two devices are vastly different.  For starters, the chin is gone.   This was a distinctive feature of HTC Android devices, but one that we never cared much for, although it does contribute a little bit to a better voice clarity during talks. 

This CDMA Hero had ditched the original angular design, trading in the hard lines for soft curves.  The device feels fantastic in your hand; while we still feel that the Diamond was the best device to hold, this new Hero is hot on its heels.  It is narrower than other full touchscreen devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm, which makes it more comfortable to hold.

You can compare the HTC Hero CDMA with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

While the GSM counterpart is available in white and brown (with others likely forthcoming,) Sprint’s version comes in a drab gray.  HTC is in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation here.  They tried to infuse some color and personality into the Diamond with its red back but got flack for it, and now they are getting flack for the more conservatively styled Hero.  We wouldn’t have minded some color, but the silver-on-gray color scheme isn’t ugly by any stretch of the imagination.

The buttons remain the same as the original, but have been moved around and are thankfully now symmetrical.  The user has Send and End keys on the far edges, and Menu, Home, Back and Search buttons situated inside them, with a trackball at the middle of this cluster.  The trackball of the G1 was revealed to be the same as found on the Curve, but this trackball is larger than the one we’ve encountered into the past.  The bigger ball is easy to navigate with and we appreciate the larger size.  The only other buttons on the device is the volume rocker on the left side.

The 3.2” glass screen
is capacitive, incorporates multi-touch technology and has a resolution of 320x480.  It is similar if not identical to the screen we’ve seen on the G1 and Magic, which means that it is 65k colors.  It is a good display, but does not have the pop that the Instinct HD or Palm Pre has - each with 16m colors.  The screen fingerprints worse than most, and is nearly impossible to keep clean.  We’re not sure if it has the same oleophobic coating that the GSM version did, but we were constantly cleaning ours.  The auto-adjusting backlight kept the display too dim for our tastes, so we disabled it.  For whatever reason this sensor is not used to turn off the screen during a phone call when the Hero is against your face, as it is on many of HTC’s Windows phones.

The bottom of the phone  has HTC’s funky miniUSB port, though any miniUSB charger or cable works with it.  At a time when all other manufacturers not named Apple are going to a microUSB standard it is rather frustrating to see this older port used.  Thankfully HTC has included a 3.5mm headset jack, which can be found at the top of the Hero.  The back is very plain, with the 5 megapixel camera housing surrounded by the speaker cutout.

While the color scheme could be better, we really like this new design for the HTC Hero overall.  It is extraordinarily comfortable to hold and we do not miss the chin one bit.  The phone is built very solidly, the screen is very responsive and the buttons all offer good travel.  HTC adheres to a high manufacturing standard and the Hero is undoubtedly no exception.

HTC Hero CDMA 360 Degrees View:



1. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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: Oct 14, 2009

what app is this and is it an approved android app ??

2. dialtone

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 12, 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: Oct 09, 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!

4. TheEclectic

Posts: 77; Member since: Sep 23, 2009

65k colors? Fail.

5. tokuzumi

Posts: 1961; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I have been unable to find anything that is missing, with regards to colors.

7. letoauto

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 16, 2009

anyone haveing issues with software... dont like no proximity sensor... and hard to end a call???

8. GoofyGirl_77

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 09, 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: Jun 06, 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: Jul 31, 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: Feb 12, 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.
  • Display 3.2" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm MSM7200A, Single core, 528 MHz
  • Battery 1500 mAh(4.00h talk time)

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