Do I need a Hero?

by Vikki Chowney on 2nd March 2010

HTC Hero

As part of my ongoing search to find a new phone, those lovely folk at 3MobileBuzz recently sent me an HTC Hero to try out…

It’s not the newest handset on the market granted, but I’ve heard good things about Android and after too many contract-based nightmares to count in the past – I’m a 3 customer so have the option of getting it on 3 with Spotify included. I’m not going to choose it just to make my life easier, but it’s definitely a consideration.

It was my first long-term touchscreen experience and it took me the full length of the trial to get used to it. In the end, I was satisfied with the fact that I could use it happily without needing tactile keys (though I tend not to use my handset to reply to long emails anyway, so maybe it wasn’t a fair test).

The fact that it was always online (due to aforementioned 3 SIM) took a few days to get used to as well. I kept reverting to a Nokia mindset and thinking that I must have run down my battery due to not disconnecting.

But that’s not the case, the battery’s pretty good and I only needed to charge it every other day.

Though I didn’t use it for too much multimedia (no videos or Qiks for instance), I did get stuck into some of the other apps. Let’s face it, the selection is pretty impressive. I gave up on the Ovi store a long time ago and have never owned an iPhone, so this was another first. It’s fast becoming the norm to have an in-built app marketplace on your handset (though Blackberry could do with pulling its socks up), and with the formation of the Wholesale Applications Community at MWC – the app explosion is only bound to get bigger. Android is well placed in this respect, though I missed some of the official publisher’s offerings that I know are so good on other phones eg: NYTimes, The Guardian etc.

However, there is something truly appealing about the ease of access to ridiculous games and services that make my life easier. Yelp’s Android offering disappointed though. I’m an avid fan, but you can’t review through it – only search.

Software-wise, the Hero was frighteningly easy to sync with my Facebook and email – though I signed out of the default Twitter app Peep pretty quickly once I discovered Seesmic, which is fantastic for extra functionality (and I’ve all but fallen in love with it).

Overall, my main niggle was the strange approach the Hero took to my contacts. Royally messing them up and duplicating most people’s details, I could just about handle. Suddenly having every single Google mail contact listed, though making it harder to find someone’s number, also OK. But showing me one of my best friend’s numbers, but not letting me actually text or phone her – that’s just ridiculous.

Then there’s the random stopping and starting. Not re-booting, just taking its sweet time to perform a task.

The hardware feels less plastic-like than its G1 and Magic counterparts, and the camera is great. Two weeks down the line, aside from the said messing up of my contacts, the Hero and I have had a good run. But do I love it enough? I don’t know yet.

I had to send it back last week and have switched over to the E72 and to be honest, I miss the Hero. I’m not even sure why – but I do. I think I might need to mess about with an iPhone 3GS before making a decision.

Though to make it even more difficult, the Google Nexus One looks pretty nice as well…

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