HTC hero / Android review

Last month, I got an HTC hero phone running Android to replace my ancient o2 ice which had started to crash whenever a phone call ended. I decided to ditch o2 as well due to problems with their data network ever since the iPhone came out.

The hero is slightly faster than my old phone, although it is occasionally prone to hanging, mainly during sync to Google by the looks of things. The Google side seems to be the weakest part of the phone. The mail and contacts have stopped syncing with Google, but the HTC email via IMAP, Facebook, Flickr and other sync are still working perfectly.

The camera is good quality (see the attached photo) but without a flash, don’t bother in dark conditions.

I’ve seen reviews that talk about poor battery life, and it can run low fairly quickly under heavy usage, but the stand-by time is fine, now that I’ve turned off always-on mobile internet in favour of WiFi.

There’s a number of good apps in the market, including wpToGo that I’m using to write this, the app, and the games Abduction and Bonsai Blast.

The soft keyboard works well, and is much easier to use than my wife’s acer aspire one once I learnt to trust the auto-correct, type in landscape and to avoid the settings key which is annoyingly close to the comma.

There are some flaws which would put some people off, and I think they’d kill the experience for me on a stock Android phone. The HTC extensions make for a much nicer experience than the g1 I’ve tried, but the primary problems all seem to be software related, so I’ll have to update my thoughts once the new HTC firmware and Android 1.6 are ready and installed.

For now, it’s worth checking out, but don’t break your contract for one.