HTC Hero smartphone
Boasting HTC's Sense UI, the HTC Hero is without doubt the best Android phone yet and the closet competitor to the iPhone we've seen.
- Distinctive design, Teflon-coated casing, Sense UI is excellent, user-friendly and a joy to use, Android platform, fully customisable, polished Web browser, 3.5mm headphone jack, contacts integration with social networking
- Interface feels sluggish at various times, on-screen keyboard is a little frustrating
The HTC Hero is without doubt one of the most impressive smartphones we've reviewed. The design is distinctive, the user interface is absolutely superb and it's packed with all the latest features. Unfortunately, the Hero doesn't seem to have the hardware needed to keep up with its innovative software, resulting in a sometimes slow and frustrating user experience. It remains a superb phone that is really only let down by slow performance.
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Just the third Google Android mobile phone to be released in Australia, HTC's Hero smartphone takes the platform to new heights. It follows on from the HTC Dream and the HTC Magic with Google. Featuring HTC's Sense user interface, the Hero is without doubt the closest challenger yet to Apple's iPhone 3GS, leaving both the Dream and the Magic in its wake.
The HTC Hero we reviewed was an imported model, though the Australian release is almost identical. We'll update this review with any changes, including Australian pricing and carriers, when it's officially released.
The HTC Hero's design is distinctive. Apart from the stylish white casing with an etched silver finish, the Hero distinguishes itself thanks to a unique angled lip at the bottom of the phone (often referred to as a Jay Leno chin in the US). The angled design houses the Hero's controls, including a BlackBerry-like trackball, answer and end call keys and dedicated home, menu, search and back buttons. The Hero's design has divided opinion; we feel it looks better in the flesh than it does in pictures.
The HTC Hero has a distinctive angled lip at its base. It houses the Hero's physical controls, including a BlackBerry-style trackball.
The HTC Hero's build quality is impressive and the Teflon coating is a highlight. The Hero can be handled without leaving any fingerprint marks. A week's worth of use resulted in some small scratches on the rear, but they were barely noticeable. In comparison to the iPhone 3GS' glossy, fingerprint-magnet coating, the Hero definitely wins.
The Hero's 3.2in screen is slightly smaller than the iPhone 3GS' display, but it's as good. The screen has an anti-fingerprint coating which makes it easy to keep clean and viewing angles are good. However, it can be difficult to see in direct sunlight.
The HTC Hero's Teflon-coated surface is a highlight. It repels scratches and fingerprints and makes the phone easy to keep clean.
The big selling point of the Hero is HTC's Sense UI, developed specifically for the Android platform. Unlike many other smartphone UIs, Sense isn’t just a layer on top of the regular Android interface; almost every aspect of the interface has been upgraded or tweaked since the HTC Magic. The good news is that most of the changes look superb: the graphics are rich and colourful and the end result is an extremely user-friendly smartphone that is full of eye candy.
The home screen is where many of the Sense UI's benefits can be seen. Consisting of seven screens, the home screen can be swiped from side to side to reveal any number of shortcuts, folders or widgets (both Android widgets and specific HTC-developed widgets). The seven home screens are completely customisable; for example, you can have the native Twitter client on one screen, the clock and calendar on the other and your e-mail on the next. Because these are all live widgets, there is no need to delve into the main menu to access these features. The Twitter, clock and weather widgets are a few of the most impressive (though the weather widget in particular does seem sluggish, and can result in some slow down).
One widget worth mentioning is Footprints. This allows you to take a geotagged photo and store the image in a particular category, for example restaurants or shopping. You can then instantly share the content with others via e-mail.
Although the changes the Sense UI brings are largely positive in both looks and functionality, there is one issue: speed. At various times using the HTC Hero, it felt sluggish and struggled to keep up with the UI, particularly the widgets on the home screens. The lack of grunt is something you'll eventually get used to. However, when used alongside an iPhone 3GS, it's clear the Hero is missing the necessary power that would make using this superb interface an even better experience.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost review
- 2 Synology DS216+ Review
- 3 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 4 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 5 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Google is building its own smartphone, report says
- Report: HTC-built Nexus 'Sailfish' leaks reveal the undercard in the next Nexus lineup
- What iOS 10 can tell us about the new iPhone
- Rumor check: Everything we think we know about the Galaxy Note 7
- Windows 10 phones finally gain NFC payment support as Wallet 2.0 rolls out in preview
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCNational Project CoordinatorNSW
- FTService Delivery Coordinator - ApplicationsNSW
- CCJava Developer with Oracle database experience | Defence intelligence | NV1ACT
- CCProject ControllerQLD
- CCProject CoordinatorNSW
- CCTechnologyOne System Administration and DevelopmentACT
- CCSolution DesignerACT
- FTOracle Fusion Implementation ConsultantNSW
- CCTibco DeveloperWA
- CCLinux Systems AdministratorVIC
- CCScrum Master with Java development backgroundACT
- CCWindows 2003-2012 R2 Active Directory Consultant/ManagerNSW
- FTSolution Architect - Data/ InformationVIC
- CCSharepoint Developer | Air Force project | NV1 clearanceNSW
- FTTechnical COE SpecialistACT
- CCProgrammer (IT Security/Website Administration) 160711/P/565Asia
- CCMobility Developer (iOS or Android)NSW
- CCProgram Controls ManagerACT
- CCSenior Performance & Automation EngineerNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTProject Manager - Insurance experience neededNSW
- FTVoice ArchitectNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSystems Engineer / Applications Scripting DeveloperSA
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/SQL) 160620/AP/623Asia