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HTC Hero review

Barry de la Rosa
16 Nov 2009
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
361
on £29-per-month, 18-month contract from Orange; £353 inc VAT from LambdaTek

The new Hero is fast, with a good screen and camera, and Android's unrestrictive software is complemented by HTC's Sense apps and interface.

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Specifications

Android 1.6, 3.2in 320x480 display

HTC's Hero is a large touchscreen phone that runs Google's Android operating system. However, the manufacturer has adapted Android with its own interface, which it calls Sense.

Sense provides seven screens for widgets, web pages, apps and background images. You can save multiple screens as 'scenes', and have different scenes for weekends, work or travel. HTC's widgets made a good impression: the email widget, for example, shows you a stack of emails, and you can flick through the pile by flicking your finger upwards on the screen.

Sense includes an app that integrates contacts from Facebook, Gmail and your SIM - an incredibly useful feature that we've only previously seen on 3's INQ1. Each contact has one screen that shows all information relating to that person, including calls, messages, email, photos (from Flickr) and Facebook updates.

The 5-megapixel camera shoots video and stills. Low-light shots are poor compared with those from even a budget digital camera, and there's no flash. However, photos had less noise, more contrast and more natural colours than from other phones. We liked the capacitive screen, which has an oleophobic coating that's smooth and doesn't pick up fingerprints easily, plus the standard 3.5mm headphone socket and mini-USB port.

Battery life is poor, and if you use GPS, WiFi and 3G, you'll need to recharge every night. The new Hero is much faster than before, and even with a few apps open, the interface was slick and responsive. HTC bundles a PDF viewer and Quickoffice for viewing Office documents, but it doesn't support Office 2007 formats.

Sense is a pleasure to use, and the Hero's new firmware makes it faster and puts it on a par with the iPhone. The Android Market offers a wealth of apps, and you're not tied to using one company's approved software. It's much cheaper than the iPhone and represents much better value. It wins our Best Buy award.

Details

Price£361
Rating*****
AwardBest Buy

Hardware

Main display size3.2in
Native resolution320x480
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels5-megapixel
Video recording format3GP
ConnectivityBluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPSyes
Internal memory288MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included2048MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA
Size112x56x14mm
Weight135g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 1.6
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC, AMR-NB, WAV, MIDI, WMA
Video playback formatsMPEG4, H.264, H.263
FM Radiono
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesheadset, USB data cable, travel mains adapter
Talk time7.8 hours
Standby time31.3 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)15h 16m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£361
Price on contract£49 on £29-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierwww.lambdatek.co.uk/componentshop/
Contract/prepay supplierwww.orange.co.uk
Detailswww.htc.com

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