I’ve had my Hero almost four weeks. I was so impressed by it that I posted here after just two days of use. I’m pleased to say I still view my HTC Hero as a marvel of design and function. HTC’s motto, “quietly brilliant”, is an apt one.
Many of the Hero’s good features are standard among Android phones.Google integration
Foremost among these is the effortless access to Google mail, contacts and calendar. Updates to email status are reflected on the Hero within a few seconds. All my contacts are there and available… since getting my Hero I have tidied these, and the recently released Gmail feature “Find duplicates” has been very helpful.
Part of the ease with which email is handled is due to the notification bar at the top of the Hero’s screen, a simple yet effective feature: emails, messages, software install status, connection options. Drag the notification bar down the screen and the full list is displayed. For example, if the Hero has just been connected by USB to a computer, the notification list includes a button to enable the phone’s SD card as a flash drive and another to run HTC Sync.
Google Talk is handled equally seamlessly. The notification bar tells me someone has started a chat with me. Drag down the bar and tap the link to open the Talk app. Easy. I use Google Talk from my Windows PC, but on the Hero it’s so much more useful.Twitter and the Web
I use Twitter daily and started out using the HTC’s Peep app, finding it met most of my needs. I’ve since switched to Twidroid Pro for improved usability and customization. Both Peep and Twidroid will indicate arrival of new tweets via the notification bar and these are easily accessed from the drag down list.
The Hero’s web browser works well, and the multi-touch zoom is smooth and controlled. Visual bookmarks are a nice feature, as is “share this page” with options for SMS, email and Twitter (Peep or Twidroid). The browser supports multiple windows, selected via a nice mini display of the each window’s content.Customization
Customization of the Hero is one of its strengths. The phone comes with an array of high quality HTC widgets including browser bookmarks, calendar, clock, mail, messages, music, photos, stocks and Twitter. HTC recently published four additional widgets specifically for Hero and Eris users: battery status, dice, “today in history” and a tip calculator.
HTC’s Sense desktop has seven panels, so there’s lots of room for your chosen apps and widgets. HTC have extended this further with what they call “scenes”, which are custom saved desktops. You could have one for general use, another for socializing and others for commuting, business, sports events, etc. Each scene can provide easy access to the apps and widgets that you need for those activities.Summing up
The Hero is a quality product. Everything about it says “quietly brilliant”.