HTC Hero review

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

The HTC Hero review
The HTC Hero review

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The Webkit-based internet on HTC's Android range has always been pretty good... well, it's just got that much better. Not content with nabbing multi-touch off Mr Jobs and his iPhone lot, the phone also has a couple of other bells and whistles to show off too.

The speed of the inbuilt browser is such that you can never imagine changing it, despite the plethora of options available in the Android Market. One of the best features is the fact that it can smart fit text almost infinitely, so no matter how bad your eyesight, there's an option for you in there.

The htc hero

On most top end mobile web browsers you can simply double tap on text when viewing a web page and it will zoom in and reformat the text so you can read it neatly on one screen.

With the Hero, you can pinch and zoom into the text as closely as you want, the phone will keep resizing to make sure the text is readable.

The htc hero

Another feature the HTC Hero is shouting about to anybody that will listen is the fact it can play Flash video from the internet, which other phones (ie the iPhone 3GS and all its iPhone-y companions) can't do.

Well, we're sorry to say that the HTC Hero can't really do it either. Whether it's some sort of conspiracy between all the major phone manufacturers to say they can play Flash video when they really can't, we don't know.

The htc hero

But whenever we try to watch Flash video, for instance on a number of stories in the BBC news archives, it simply gives us the whirling icon to say it's working on getting it ready, and then just hangs there, like it expects us to wait for it to figure out how to make this whole Flash thing work.

UPDATE: The Flash conundrum sadly continues with the update, although YouTube now works in its native site. The BBC videos were still hanging on us, so we're not sure if this problem will ever be truly sorted.

YouTube is a little bit better, but that's only because it defaults into the mobile version then slips into the YouTube client that comes pre-installed with the phone (which is actually rather good).

The htc hero visual bookmarks

We've spoken to HTC about this problem, and the company assures us we've got a slightly faulty pre-production device. We only hope that future firmare updates increase the power of the on board Flash player, as we'd like to have ubiquitous video on the device.

The htc hero back

At least the visual bookmarks are pretty cool. When you set up a new bookmark it takes a snapshot of the page and uses that to let you know what you're about to look at, which we liked a lot. You could either swipe through the options within the browser itself, or head to the home screen, where you can see them all laid out in a nice grid formation to swipe through instead.

Multiple windows are also in force here as well, meaning you can open up to five separate web browsers and flick through thumbnails of the ones you want to look at, or simply hit the 'x' in the top right hand corner to shut them down.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.