Jul 21 AT 9:54 PM Taylor Wimberly 10 Comments

HTC Hero review roundup

While American consumers are eagerly awaiting HTC’s second Android phone(myTouch 3G), the company’s third phone the Hero is launching overseas.  The internals are almost identical to the myTouch 3G, but the phone sports an updated casing design and comes loaded with the new HTC Sense user interface.

We thought we would take a look at the early reviews since US customers won’t be able to purchase the phone for awhile.  T-Mobile recently mentioned at their New York press conference that they would not be launching the Hero, but another carrier like AT&T could pick up the device.

TechRadar.com reports:

It’s clear this is the best Android phone yet (we know that’s not hard to do given there’s only three, but this is a big improvement over the Magic).

However, there were lows, and some of them were pretty deep indeed. The 528MHz processor doesn’t seem to be grunty enough to power all the multi-tasking the phone needs to do.

The camera quality was also laughable, both in terms of video recording and photography.

MobileCruch.com reports:

In one sense the Hero is “just another Android phone”; in another sense, it’s an entirely new direction for HTC and the platform.

In general the Sense UI is a triumph. It’s that good. They’ve made Android amazingly usable and that’s quite exciting.

The Hero is well-designed, usable, and powerful. The OS and UI combo is almost perfect and the future is bright for the phones running Sense.

SlashGear.com reports:

Up top there’s a welcome addition to an HTC Android device, in the shape of a 3.5mm headphones socket, while on the base there’s the company’s own ExtUSB port (which is compatible with standard mini-USB).

What elevates People above and beyond the standard Android address book is its integration with Facebook and Flickr.  By entering your login details for one or both, People automatically tries to match up contacts you have on those networks with entries in your address book.

Android’s flexibility is, arguably, one of its biggest stumbling blocks; out of the box there’s little to guide a new owner through the platform’s capabilities.  By introducing Sense, however, HTC have made the Hero instantly usable, and they’ve done so not with the bare minimum of app investment but with a range of programs that offer up-to-date functionality like social network integration.

Gizmodo.com reports:

The HTC Hero is as much a champion for HTC as it is for Android: It’s the first genuinely gorgeous piece of hardware running Android, and the Sense UI is the most ambitious, polished software HTC has developed yet.

The Hero is flawed, though, in ways that are truly depressing in light of its potential and how much it does get truly right: It’s often sluggish, which absolutely destroys the user experience.

HTC’s done a fairly remarkable job transforming Android’s rough surface into something slick and glossy and palatable while integrating social networking features that go beyond any phone but the Pre.

Stuff.tv reports:

While its predecessors ran Google’s mobile OS in its barebones form, the Hero glosses it with HTC’s new ‘Sense’ UI, adds multi-touch support and brings a strong feature set that includes a 5MP camera. The result is the closest thing we’ve seen to an iPhone-beating experience.

Support for multi-touch ‘pinch to zoom’ gestures is also welcome, with our only quibble being that scrolling around web pages isn’t quite iPhone-smooth (though again this may be pre-production cobwebs).

With a battery life that’s not class-leading but certainly adequate (we got a day and half from moderate use) all that remains is for Android’s Marketplace to fill up its shelves with more compelling apps.

The Verdict

Overall, it looks like the Hero is getting positive reviews.  Some have criticized the phone for its sluggish performance, but I expect this to be resolved by future software updates.  The new Sense UI looks to be a smash hit, which is good news for Android phones as it is likely to appear on other devices.  HTC has raised the bar for the Android platform and it will be interesting to see how Motorola and Sony Ericsson respond later this year with their custom versions of Android.

Check out the following series of videos designed for new Hero users. (HTC has an awesome YouTube channel)

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Niels

    Heard great things about the Sense UI and they did good to add a 3.5 mm jack, but the reason why I choose a G1 over the Iphone was because of the physical keyboard. Is it too obvious not to show it in any of the promo’s, or is the Hero missing this?

    In that case, screw the faster processor and bigger ram, I can type with my thumbs!

    • Alex

      I would have agreed with you before I got myself a Hero. I was using an XDA Stellar, with a flip out keyboard, and it’s alot faster than the iPhones shitty keyboard. But I decided fuck it, I want something with android on it. I got the hero and the keyboard is surprisingly fast.

      In all fairness, in Portrait mode, the keyboard is a steaming pile of shit, but tip the phone into landscape, and the keyboard widens up, and is super fast. The keys are bigger than that of the G1, and even if you fuck up, it corrects the word your typing. So far, everything it’s corrected has been the word I wanted, and thanks to T-Mobile throwing me unlimited texts instead of the 400 a month I paid for, I’ve typed a ridiculous amount with it. I really couldn’t recommend it any more.

  • http://rjgonza.com rjgonza

    Wow, the more I see this phone the more I can’t wait. I just pray that T-Mobile just gets it, otherwise I am switching to whatever carrier is getting this awesome phone. I knew what I was getting in to the G1 I just thought it would be a little later until a great android phone like this came around. I want it so bad!

  • http://myspace.com/lolbreebreebree FckingAllen

    Oh i will be getting this phone. i just hope it hits the US. and it better be for Tmobile, no Verizon or AT&T bullshit lol.

  • gdigenis

    The videos I watched today showed no signs of sluggishness at all. The gizmodo guy comments that androids os is rough? What is he talking about? Do these reviewers just write stuff to fill up a page or do they actually think first?

  • Brantyr

    Sorry but I think people who want a hard-keyboard are in the minority – I’m pretty fast typing on my Magic, I suspect faster than I would be with a real keyboard because I don’t worry about hitting the real keys, if I’m close enough the HTC keyboard (sadly not installed by default) figures it out.

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • http://www.topmobilephonereviews.co.uk/HTC-Hero HTC Hero

    I agree with you Brantyr – a hard (actual) keyboard just slows me down

  • http://Website logan

    i like the touch screen and how you can scroll around, also the apps are nice. camera is great, but i prefer my other touch diamond better. i bought this and another one for my daughter on gsmallover.com and we love both of them. i gave her the touch diamond though so i think i will strike a deal with her to get that back! as for the hero, definately glad i got it in the gsm version because i heard sprint’s isn’t very good. also i like the feel and how it fits your face.