HTC Hero Review
Looking for an Android smartphone with killer looks and rock-solid features? Try the HTC Hero, one of the most powerful offerings from HTC mobiles. Read the HTC Hero review and find out what this smarphone has got.
Ever since the Taiwanese HTC Corporation entered into making smartphones, the equations have changed. It has begun to be counted with the Nokias and Samsungs, thanks to the powerful devices that have been coming out of its stable with regularity. The sleek looks and robust functionalities have made its mobiles a darling of all generations. That is not to say that HTC is above criticism. Its first Android-powered smartphone – the HTC Magic, failed to charm all and sundry. A lot, thus, depended on the HTC Hero. And boy, it has delivered! Here is how.
HTC Hero Design
There is no denying that the basic design of the HTC Hero android phone is not an innovative one. From a distance, it looks quite similar to the iPhone. But look closer and you will feel the difference. With an unconventional 15 degree tilt at the bottom, the Hero has scored and how! The tilted bottom forms a chin to the rest of the phone and consists of basic buttons like Call, Menu, Home and End Call. Further down are keys like Search and Back. Added to this is a trackball that lets you navigate through the User interface along with different menus.
The android HTC Hero measures only 112 x 56.2 x 14.4 mm and weighs 135 gms. A little bulky perhaps, specially than the HTC Magic, but quite easy to hold for long chats.
The convenience buttons are well-placed. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack on the top along with a mini USB port that allows you to sync as well as charge the phone.
The left edge has a microSD card slot where you can push in cards to boost the storage capabilities.
The front of the phone sports an aluminum or glass build. The rubberized back gives you a leather feel and provides a rich touch experience. It also sports a 5 MP camera that we will come to later.
HTC Hero Display
The TFT capacitive touchscreen display is not the best, but quite good for the man on the street. At 3.2 inches, the display is not a very big one and shows 65,000 colors. The 320 x 480 pixel resolution also leaves much to be desired but again, good enough for normal use. Thankfully, it is hostile to fingerprints which mean no smudging. Hard use leaves some marks though but you will rarely need to clean the screen.
The display is powered with accelerometer sensor and a multi-touch input method.
Switch the phone on and the screen just stuns you with its gorgeous aura. The built-in HTC Hero themes and HTC Hero wallpapers are stunning to say the least. There are mini applications that you can customize the display with. There are some cool widgets that HTC has thrown into the phone. You can make the home screen more power-packed with these HTC Hero softwares.
HTC Hero Softwares
For starters, there are basic HTC Hero widgets like Weather Update and Clock. Social networkers will have a fun time with a range of HTC Hero apps suited for Twitter, Facebook and Flickr users. There are a slew of new HTC Hero applications like the mobile maker’s own Twitter client Peep, camera app Footprints to geotag photos and simple toggles to help you flip services like mobile networks, Bluetooth or Wifi.
HTC Hero Keyboard
A real QWERTY keyboard is missing here but the virtual one is a pretty piece that makes you ignore the absence happily. As far as performance goes, it is not as good as the iPhone4 or Blackberry Curve 8900 mainly because of its narrower screen. But the keyboard layout is definitely an improvement on Magic, Hero’s predecessor. If you do not type too fast, the experience is a decent one.
HTC Hero Features
The internals of the Hero are not very heroic. There is the seen-before Qualcomm 528MHz processor paired with a paltry 288MB RAM and 512MB ROM. The usual functionalities are not too affected, however, by this ho-hum hardware.
In the connectivity field, Hero is no dampener. There is sadly, no infrared. But GPRS, WiFi, 3G and EDGE are enough to help you surf at ease and surf well. Browsing is good, thanks mainly to the pinch and zoom feature. The on-board HTML browser is a nice one and better than even Apple’s Safari in some ways. We could wrap text and zoom the content much to our surfing pleasure.
Syncing your HTC Hero 3G phone to other mobiles and computers can be facilitated by the USB 2.0 cable and Bluetooth 2.0.
There is also the integrated Flash feature that many users drool over. But it actually does more harm than good. While browsing a Flash-heavy site, the loading time got sluggish. Flash broadens the scope of viewing more media files alright, but it really annoys while surfing.
HTC Hero Basic Performance
Basic functionalities are decent in the HTC Hero phone. The call quality is excellent and speaker volume is good though not loud enough to be heard in crowded environments. You can find a contact very easily by just typing on the onscreen dial pad.
HTC Hero Multimedia Capabilities
Talking about multimedia performance, Hero fares moderately. Here is why.
HTC Hero Camera Performance
The auto-focus enabled 5 megapixel camera shoots images at 1024 X 768 pixel resolution which gives you a fair idea how the quality is. Do not expect an iPhone 3GS or a Nokia N97 and the images will be decent enough for you. Personally however, we would have liked no less than HD support. Is HTC listening?
The videos are an average fare. You can shoot frames at 15fps which is not a great thing. Neither is the 320 X 240 resolution which falls on the low side. Compare with the iPhone4 and the HTC needs some serious rethinking about the camera front.
Video playing is good even though the quality is not up to the mark. There is support for a variety of formats like H.263, H.264, MPEG-4 AND Windows Media Video 9. HTC Hero YouTube experience was another downer. There is no support for letting videos stream in the background. Buffering time is sluggish and the phone goes into lock mode. Unlock it and you are unable to play the videos. Pretty frustrating!
HTC Hero Audio Performance
Unlike the videos, music playing is very good in the HTC Hero. The inbuilt audio player is friendly to a large number of file formats like AAC, WAV, MIDI, MP3 and WMA 9. The sound quality is average and nothing extraordinary. If you are listening to songs on the HTC Hero headphones can better the experience. The 3.5 mm audio jack lets you slip in the headset and boost the audio performance.
HTC Hero Games
The inbuilt games are okay for average users and if you are not looking for 3D stuff, expect things to be more or less satisfying. If you are not content with the on-board stuff you can just download a few from the Android Market. With support for java being there, you can get some good HTC Hero java games for yourself.
HTC Hero Accessories
The phone comes with standard accessories in the package. There is a HTC Hero charger for the battery. A USB data cable is also available for you. Beginners will find the HTC Hero manual particularly useful considering the number of apps and nitty-gritties the phone comes with. There is also a headset and a 2GB memory card included in the box.
Considering the amount of time gone by since the first release you may also get HTC Hero cases and a HTC Hero screen protector in the pack. But that depends on where you live and who you are buying the mobile from.
HTC Hero Battery Performance
Even after heavy usage, we found the HTC Hero battery life a solid 6 hours in 3G and 7 hrs in 2G. The stand-by time is reportedly 750 hrs in 3G and 440 hrs in 2G. Pretty decent for a smartphone of its caliber, we must say.
HTC Hero Mobile Price
Normally, HTC Hero cost is approximately 432 USD. A HTC Hero contract buy for 2 years in the US will cost somewhere around $180. In the UK, HTC Hero latest price is about 361 pounds. For HTC Hero skins are varied. Our favorites were the HTC Hero black, HTC Hero white, HTC Hero brown, HTC Hero pink and HTC Hero Orange.
It may have failed in the first outing but HTC’s second coming with the Android base has been a success. A vast improvement on the magic, the HTC Hero scores with its gorgeous looks and functionalities. If you are ready to overlook the average multimedia capabilities, here is a solid phone that can fit snugly into your pocket. The Hero rocks with its good audio performance, robust social media capabilities, smooth interface and great ease-of-use! Go buy HTC Hero. You will not regret the decision.