The third HTC phone to cram Google Android under the bonnet, the HTC Hero has enough going on to sate even the most demanding of techheads needs. As well as the incredibly slick and intuitive Sense UI, it also comes with a HTC Magic–matching 3.2–inch touchscreen, Wi–Fi, GPS, compass and HSDPA. And that’s before we even get to the T–Mobile G1–bashing 5–megapixel camera.
Be in no doubt. The HTC Hero is a massive leap from the rightly lauded HTC Magic and the hugely outdated T–Mobile G1 (known elsewhere as the HTC Dream). It’s all thanks to the aforementioned HTC Sense UI. Overlaid on top of the regular Google Android platform, it offers tons more widgets and even multiple homescreens (there are now seven), making it easy to switch between work and play.
Then there’s that rather lush capacitive touchscreen. HTC’s Windows Mobile Touch Diamond 2 can’t come close to this. It’s a joy to behold, with typing either in landscape or portrait a breeze thanks to auto–correction. The HTC Hero’s body is none–too–shabby either, it’s Teflon coating meaning only the heaviest of fingerprints remain.
Perhaps the best addition to the HTC Hero is the 3.5mm jack, something which HTC has said will now come with all its handsets. That means your own headphones will play nice. Throw in a full day’s battery for getting said tunes into your lugholes and you’re looking at a winner.
HTC Hero hands–on photo avalanche!
That’s not to say the HTC Hero doesn’t have its problems. There’s no flash on that 5–megapixel camera, and video remains a problem for Android. Playback is shonky in spite of Flash being present and codec support is not a patch on other smartphones currently doing the business.
Then there’s that god–awful lip down at the bottom. It’s about as big as Jimmy Hill’s chin and means the Hero doesn’t sit comfortably in your pocket either. Quite why HTC has persisted with this design quirk remains a mystery.
These are small quibbles though. Having threatened to do so for nearly a year, Google Android has at last come of age, thanks to the HTC Hero. Finally, the iPhone has a proper contender for top spot.