HTC Hero review: Born to rise

GSMArena team, 06 August 2009.
Pages: «12345678910»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Phonebook synergy

You've probably heard of Palm's new WebOS - and one of its most touted features - Synergy. Well, HTC have their own take at the concept, which is reminiscent of the way TouchFLO displays contact info but with plenty of additions.

Opening a contact's details presents you with the basic info for the contact - name and photo, numbers, emails and such. What you'd notice though is that there are another five tabs at the bottom and you're just viewing the first tab.

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Viewing a contact • received SMS from the contact • received mail

The next tab holds the SMS messages received from the contact - it'd have been a lot more useful if it held the entire conversation, but for that you have to go to the Messages app.

The third tab holds a list of emails you've exchanged with the contact. The next two tabs are quite interesting and can turn the Hero (or in fact any phone running the Sense UI) into a social networking power tool.

The first holds Facebook contact updates, and the other called "Albums" pulls the albums that contacts have created on Flickr and Facebook.

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Facebook updates • Facebook and Flickr albums • call history

The final tab shows the call history for the contact.

The entire People app (the phonebook) is tabbed too and with more tabs than the stock Android. You have all contacts and favorite contacts tabs, as well as a call log, groups and "Updates and events". The latter holds updates for all your Facebook contacts.

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Phonebook • favorite contacts • groups • events for all contacts

The contact editing screen has been reskinned. It looks closer to the Dream concept rather than the Magic. There's no plus key to add a new detail of a certain type, just a delete detail key. This saves some space (one line per each category) but you have to scroll down to the bottom every time you want to add a new detail.

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Editing a contact • cropping a photo

There is a lot of information you can store per contact as usual, and searching the phonebook is very easy - just press the search button.

Telephony

Voice quality in calls is good and the volume is louder than the Magic's. Reception is quite good as well.

The dialer features a keypad and a list of contacts beneath (you can hide the keypad) and also sports Smart dialing.

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, turn-to-mute also works like a charm.

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The dialer • calling Dexter • Dexter calling back

Just like the HTC Magic, the Hero has an interesting feature you'll notice when you make your first call - it vibrates when your call is connected. That's a good way to let you know the other side has picked up if you hold the phone in your hand and not to your ear. But if you do hold it to your ear - then it's just irritating. It would have been great if it were disabled automatically by a proximity sensor for example. Unfortunately we didn't find an option to at least switch it off manually either.

The call log shows the latest dialed, received and missed calls all in one.

HTC Hero
The call log holds incoming, outgoing and missed calls

The HTC Hero doesn't have voice dialing, even though previous handsets had it.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.1 62.171.7Below Average
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic75.766.568.5Good
LG KM900 Arena70.968.278.3Good
HTC Magic70.369.579.3Very Good
HTC Hero76.771.977.7Very Good
Samsung M8800 Pixon75.7 69.682.1Very Good
LG KF900 Prada77.175.782.0Excellent
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