The HTC Hero offers a refreshing break from the smartphone OEMs’ infinite attempts to reproduce the iPhone experience. With its focus on personalization, Sprint’s most recent – and only – Android addition forges its own unique path, and does so with pleasing results. The handset features one of the most responsive touch screens available outside of the iPhone.
The Hero comes equipped with a 5 MP camera, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, capacitive pinch-to-zoom touch screen, trackball and up to 32GB of expandable memory. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter integration is well done; each was easy to find and set up. The only thing that stuck out was the virtual keyboard’s relatively small keys.
Downloading applications from Android Market was easy. Most of the applications were useful and cheap, if not free. A download of the augmented reality browser, Layar was a joy to play with and demonstrated real-world use cases that are just the tip of the iceberg for this technology.
The Hero will be available on Oct. 11 for $179.99 after a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement. Pre-registration for the Hero is currently available.
The Hero may be the finest example of Android’s promise going forward, as well as the closest competitor to the iPhone. While Palm’s Pre could have been a contender, it simply doesn’t currently offer the depth of available applications necessary for success in the smartphone market. As it stands, the easily accessible Android Market offers Hero users an estimated 10,000 applications, plenty to get your new device humming with possibilities.