HTC Hero review

HTC takes aim at the iPhone again - but is the Hero a hit or a miss?

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We're a little confused by the media options on the HTC Hero - on the one hand, the Sense UI has brought new options for such playback, as well as a whole host of neat touches.

On the other hand, the phone seems have taken a step backwards with the design and interaction with media on the new Hero compared to the Magic.

The htc hero

For instance, on the home screen you can set a music playing widget to give you easy access to you tunes. Not only that, but you can also control the music you're listening to on the lock screen, meaning that HTC has neatly sidestepped the problem of not having dedicated music player keys.

On the other hand, things like the gallery interface (or 'Albums' as it's termed in the HTC Hero, meaning we thought there was no way of viewing all our stuff in one go) were now in list format, rather than the cool grouped gallery view of the HTC Magic.

The htc hero

Music is OK, with playback sounding nice through the 3.5mm headphone jack (thanks again for including that HTC) but the Coverflow interface it seems every company has decided they should put on its phone lags somewhat, with the processor probably straining itself to breaking point when we try to flick through our albums.

If you want to make a phone that rivals the iPhone properly, one of the cornerstones of the design has to be centred about beating the iPod too, as Apple has integrated that into the phone admirably.

Video

With music only average on the HTC Hero, it's a shame to see video isn't even that good. While it will play MPEG-4, H.263, H.264 and Windows Media Video 9 formats, AVI doesn't even get a look in, so you could quite easily be barred from half your movies.

There is a download from the Android Market to help fix the problem, but it will cost you, and it's always annoying when you have to shell out to get the phone to do things others do for free.

The htc hero 3 5mm

Colours on the screen look OK too, although we would have liked to see a little better contrast ratio. The screen is also probably a little bit too small to watch a full movie on, with the 3.1-inch effort just a tad on the small side for watching over an hour.

That said, it's still better than the likes of the Nokia N97, although it lacks the crystal-clear punch of the Samsung Jet.

The htc hero

Given there's going to be around 10-20 new Android phones coming this year, we hope there will be some larger-screened versions that will perhaps pack an OLED screen too - we can't help feeling Android is just made for video, it's just HTC doesn't really class that as one of its strengths and hasn't made the effort necessary to properly take on Apple.

YouTube

Mobile YouTube is only so-so; therefore we're always glad when there's an inbuilt client on board a mobile phone to give you direct access to the wacky world of online video.

The htc hero

The level of video quality is of a comparable level to that of the iPhone or previous Android handsets' YouTube portals, with most looking grainy and a bit rubbish, but others looking frankly superb on the 3.1-inch screen. Buffering was minimal thanks to a reasonable 3.5G connection, and obviously over Wi-Fi the whole experience ran without problem.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Built-in Memory512 MB
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value1.21 W/kg
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time7 Hour
Product ModelHero
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 320
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.0
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
Height112 mm
Width56.2 mm
Depth14.4 mm
Battery Standby Time750 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameHero Smartphone
Processor Speed528 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Manufacturer Part Number99HHM005-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

HTC Hero is our first phone to embody HTC Sense an intuitive, seamless experience built upon three fundamental principles - make it mine, stay close, and discover the unexpected.

With HTC Hero, personalization reaches a level never before possible. Rather than burying important content under layers of menus, the HTC Hero lets you put it at glance view, with a selection of widgets that can be placed right on the home screen. The widgets themselves can be personalized with a variety of designs and sizes that best match your personality.

Limited Warranty1 Year
Standard Memory288 MB