Is this a Hero phone or what?

June 25th, 2009 | by Alfred Siew

Hero in white - chio!

Once in a while, a phone can come along and seriously wow you just by its looks.

HTC’s new “hero” phone, aptly called the Hero, is one such gizmo that is just begging to be carried in your hands. Dressed in white and dark brown, this looks at first like a HTC Touch Diamond 2 with Google Android in its DNA. But look closer, and you’d find a few surprises.

Announced yesterday, the 135-gram phone comes with the a generous 3.2-inch screen, 5-meg camera, 7.2Mbps 3.5G downloads and many other goodies.

More importantly, it appears to be a real multi-touch phone that lets you “pinch” the screen to zoom in and out of a webpage, a la the iPhone.

But if you think this is just another copy of the iPhone, then you’re sadly mistaken. Take a quick online tour of the gizmo at the HTC site, and it’s clear the handset maker and Google have come up with an interface that possibly matches and extends beyond the iPhone’s.

For starters, widgets appear to be easily moved on screen, and you also can choose which screen suits your mood (“weekend or “work”, for example).

HTC Hero

Another nice touch comes from the integration of all your transactions with a contact, from your SMSes to e-mails to Facebook conversations or Flikr photos. In other words, you can just slide your thumb along and see all these interactions you’ve had with your friend (or boss) faster than ever.

I’ve been an HTC fan since the Touch Diamond, which I still use, and I’ve been particularly impressed by the Androids that have come out of the Taiwanese phone maker. More than just clones of one popular model, these “half-humans” are getting new features with each release, and HTC looks hard to stop this year with the Hero.

Forget the iPhone 3GS re-spin. Instead, look out for the Hero when it is out in July in Europe “later in the summer” in Asia.

We’ll check for more details on local pricing when they become available, likely in the coming month or two.

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13 Comments

  1. ocworkbench says:

    Alfred, after trying out the htc magic and samsung android phone, i would never watch a windows mobile, it is sluggish.

    You can find the review/video here.
    http://www.ocworkbench.com/2009/reviews2009.htm

  2. Alfred Siew says:

    To be fair to WinMobile, some of the newer HTC models are pretty zippy compared to older ones like my Touch Diamond. There’s always been a pre-conception that they are slow/laggy just like Windows PCs – which is unfair. Try first to see the truth!

  3. Boon Kiat says:

    Ian – I have not tried the Touch Diamond 2 so I will take your word for it when you say it is lag-free. The new Touch Pro 2, which I have recently fiddled with, does not feel more zippy than its Android cousin Magic.

  4. Ian Tan says:

    Boon Kiat – indeed, you’re right, but the Touch Diamond 2 is really quite fast and suffers from no lag even with Spb Mobile layered on top. Of course, the price to pay is that the battery only lasts a day for me. Previous HTC phones were really underpowered to run TouchFlo efficiently.

  5. Boon Kiat says:

    Windows Mobile, or for that matter the HTC TouchFlo overlay, feels too slow to me, compared to the fleetfooted Android. I know I am not comparing like for like hardware but that has been the general impression – borne from the hands-on experiences – that I’ve had in the past few months. With the performance of applications like widgets, and touchscreen functionalities like flick-and-scroll, so dependent on the nimbleness of the platform they ride on, I leaning towards an Android-based phone as a next upgrade.

  6. Ian Tan says:

    Alf – nothing new about movable widgets. I’m now using the third-party addon SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 on my Touch Diamond 2 and it also provides customizable screens and widgets. Far superior to HTC’s original TouchFlo interface and I’ve really fallen in love with my revitalized Diamond 2.

    Spb Mobile Shell also allows you to add Facebook friend photos directly to your phone book contacts with a simple application.

    See pix of my Botticelli Diamond here.

    http://iantan.org/?p=1327

  7. Albert says:

    Maybe it is supposed to be ergonomic, like flip phone angle relative to the screen.

  8. Boon Kiat says:

    Don’t like the “lip” design of this.

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