” Yes the reports were true, it is a beautiful device, both inside and out…”
The HTC Hero has been an object of lust for some time now for gadget enthusiasts. Even from the earliest days of leaked hardware shots and blurry demo videos of its UI, smartphone fans seemed to agree that the company had finally achieved what has been missing in the world of Android. Namely, a polished and attractive device — polished enough to go head-to-head with the iPhone — that kept its open source heart. So, here we are months later with an actual, bona fide Hero in our midst. Yes the reports were true, it is a beautiful device, both inside and out (though of course opinions differ on that chin). But does being a beautiful device mean Android is about to move to a bigger stage? Is HTC’s spit-shine enough to overcome some of the hurdles that have plagued the platform? That question — and more — is answered in the text below, so read on for the full review.
In terms of overall design and layout, the Hero is very much a product of evolution. Like its forebears the G1 (or Dream) and MyTouch (or Magic / Ion), the general stats like screen size, technology, and resolution, button placement, unit size and weight, and basic aesthetic are pure HTC. Like those previous devices, the Hero contains a smattering of hardware buttons on the base (or chin as some call it) of the phone, including a home, menu, back, send, end, and dedicated search key. The device also sports a trackball in this area, which shouldn’t surprise any Android aficionados.
Where the Hero breaks from convention, however, is in the overall look and feel of the phone. If the Dream and Magic felt plasticky and cheap (they did), the Hero is quite the opposite — it’s like a solid brick in your hand. The casing is made of a soft-touch material (Teflon on the white version to prevent dirt), and the shape of the device takes a much more severe, almost rectangular slant. The buttons along the bottom are small, evenly spaced ovals (save for the search and back key — we’ll get to that), the earpiece is covered in a stylish mesh, and the volume rocker on the side is a smooth, single button. The screen also uses a new oleophobic treatment (similar to the iPhone 3GS), and thankfully HTC has added a 3.5mm headphone jack to the top of the phone.