Friday, November 5, 2010

HTC Hero

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.

The Hero's 5 megapixel camera is pretty darn amazing, we must say. Coming off of most devices with their paltry 3-or-so megapixel entries, it's a real treat to have an onboard cam which can actually stand in for a proper shooter. While the image quality isn't up there with dedicated point-and-shoots, it's certainly leaps and bounds better than the nearest competitor, with near-macro focus length. We take a little bit of issue with HTC's UI design on the camera app -- using the sometimes-slippery trackball for both zooming and snapping shots seems kind of ill-advised to us, though we didn't have much trouble with it (a toggle to cancel zooming would be nice). As with most phone cameras, the colors weren't quite as vivid as we would have liked -- bright hues somehow came out murky with the Hero -- but we weren't expecting the world here. HTC seems to have tweaked shutter speeds and processing as well, as snapping photos was noticeably faster than on the earlier Android phones, though we still think the iPhone 3GS and Pre feel tighter (of course the Pre doesn't have to worry about that pesky focusing stuff).  For More Detail

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