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HTC Hero review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £361
on £29-per-month, 18-month contract from Orange; £353 inc VAT from LambdaTek

The new Hero is fast, with a good screen and camera, and Android's unrestrictive software is complemented by HTC's Sense apps and interface.


Android 1.6, 3.2in 320×480 display

HTC’s Hero is a large touchscreen phone that runs Google’s Android operating system. However, the manufacturer has adapted Android with its own interface, which it calls Sense.

Sense provides seven screens for widgets, web pages, apps and background images. You can save multiple screens as ‘scenes’, and have different scenes for weekends, work or travel. HTC’s widgets made a good impression: the email widget, for example, shows you a stack of emails, and you can flick through the pile by flicking your finger upwards on the screen.

Sense includes an app that integrates contacts from Facebook, Gmail and your SIM – an incredibly useful feature that we’ve only previously seen on 3’s INQ1. Each contact has one screen that shows all information relating to that person, including calls, messages, email, photos (from Flickr) and Facebook updates.

The 5-megapixel camera shoots video and stills. Low-light shots are poor compared with those from even a budget digital camera, and there’s no flash. However, photos had less noise, more contrast and more natural colours than from other phones. We liked the capacitive screen, which has an oleophobic coating that’s smooth and doesn’t pick up fingerprints easily, plus the standard 3.5mm headphone socket and mini-USB port.

Battery life is poor, and if you use GPS, WiFi and 3G, you’ll need to recharge every night. The new Hero is much faster than before, and even with a few apps open, the interface was slick and responsive. HTC bundles a PDF viewer and Quickoffice for viewing Office documents, but it doesn’t support Office 2007 formats.

Sense is a pleasure to use, and the Hero’s new firmware makes it faster and puts it on a par with the iPhone. The Android Market offers a wealth of apps, and you’re not tied to using one company’s approved software. It’s much cheaper than the iPhone and represents much better value. It wins our Best Buy award.


Price £361
Rating *****
Award Best Buy


Main display size 3.2in
Native resolution 320×480
Second Display No
CCD effective megapixels 5-megapixel
Video recording format 3GP
Connectivity Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
GPS yes
Internal memory 288MB
Memory card support microSDHC
Memory card included 2048MB
Operating frequencies GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless data EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA
Size 112x56x14mm
Weight 135g


Operating system Android 1.6
Microsoft Office compatibility Word/Excel/PowerPoint viewers
Email client POP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format support MP3, AAC, AAC+, AAC-LC, AMR-NB, WAV, MIDI, WMA
Video playback formats MPEG4, H.264, H.263
FM Radio no
Web Browser Webkit
Accessories headset, USB data cable, travel mains adapter
Talk time 7.8 hours
Standby time 31.3 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 15h 16m

Buying Information

SIM-free price £361
Price on contract £49 on £29-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplier
Contract/prepay supplier

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