Product Listing

ZoneOut: HTC Hero - In the Nick of Time

By Seow Tein Hee - 4 Sep 2009

Performance

A Hero's Power Lies Within

The Hero isn't exactly what one might call a multimedia device, but it does hold its weight against dedicated media players. For one, the HVGA resolution on the 3.2-inch display is adequate for movie viewing. Details were crisp and clear, with the right amount of brightness to combat sunlight glare. However, we were a bit surprised that our test movie showed a slight lag for scenes with faster frame rates.

As mentioned in our preview article, the Hero is now equipped with a 3.5mm audio jack. We scrolled through our test tracks using the Music widget, and found the audio quality to be acceptable. Not impeccable, but we are fine with it.

Like the HTC Magic, you'll notice the lack of a camera button on the Hero. This means you'll be depending on the trackball as the shutter button. For focusing purposes, you can simply touch any area of the screen to focus on the specific point. We subjected the camera to the usual color chart and our standard test subject for quality checking.

Colors are well-balanced, with no strong saturation across any of the colors. Noise, as usual, is unavoidable, but it is relatively mild with the Hero's 5-megapixel camera sensor. Using our standard setup, we had to fiddle with a few shots before a clear, focused shot is obtained. Nonetheless, we did like how the white balance managed to keep the colors clean. Once again, we are flabbergasted at the lack of even an LED flash for night shots.

So far, multimedia functions check out okay for a phone of this nature. But what about overall phone usability and ease of use? Thanks to the Sense UI's snappy and fast interface, we were pretty much impressed. Swiping across pages to access various functions was smooth. For the more animated widgets such as Weather, Messaging and Email, we noted some slight slowdown, but not to the point it was excessively slow. It doesn't yet hinder the overall user experience, so we're not yet penalizing the phone on this aspect. More so often than not, there would always be a firmware update that'll improve and enhance the experience as we've seen with a variety of smartphones in the last couple of years. With the Hero, this is likely the case in our opinion.

While the trackball is great for navigation across the seven customizable pages, we found our fingers instinctively going for the screen for more direct interaction. For text messaging fans, the Hero's virtual numeric keypad and QWERTY keyboard proved to be versatile.

The onscreen numeric keypad is our choice for text input. But if you're more used to the QWERTY keyboard, it's just as usable. Like the Magic, the Hero will automatically switch the QWERTY keyboard to landscape mode according to your orientation.

Next up, we assessed the Hero's battery uptime in a probable worst-case scenario by looping our test video (240 x 320 pixels at a frame rate of 24fps). As usual, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth were left active, with the volume and display brightness at the full 100%. As a gauge, we placed the results against its predecessors, the HTC Dream and Magic.

Specifications/Device HTC Hero HTC Magic HTC Dream
Processor
  • Qualcomm MSM7200A 528 MHz
  • Qualcomm MSM7200A 528 MHz
  • Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 MHz
Memory
  • 288MB RAM
  • 512MB ROM
  • 288MB RAM
  • 512MB ROM
  • 192MB RAM
  • 256MB ROM
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
Dimensions
  • 112 x 56.2 x 14.35 mm
  • 113 x 55.56 x 13.65 mm
  • 117.7 mm x 55.7 mm x 17.1 mm
Weight
  • 135g
  • 116g
  • 158g
Screen size
  • 3.2-inch, 320 x 480 pixels
  • 3.2-inch, 320 x 480 pixels
  • 3.2-inch, 320 x 480 pixels
Battery
  • Li-Ion 1350 mAh
  • Li-Ion 1340 mAh
  • Li-Ion 1150 mAh

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.