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HTC Hero review

It's the latest handset to feature the power house that is Android, but does this HTC device live up to its name?

With so many mobile users being web hungry, enhancing the experience is vital. Thankfully, the HTC Hero has this covered. Users can pinch to zoom into the detail of the content, for example. It works well, but without multi-touch, it's not as sophisticated as, say, the iPhone.

There's also plenty to keep business users entertained either in between meetings or when trying to switch off from the world of work altogether. The media player being a case in point. Users can control the player without touching the phone by using the mid-wire controls attached to the headphones.

The on-phone interface is also lovely, however it's very tempting to press forward on back on the phone itself to fast forward or rewind but that actually skips to the next track. Instead, users simply have to drag the bar along.

When it comes to video and still images, the HTC Hero is not bad at all. In fact, despite lacking a flash, pictures generally comes out quite good thanks to the five megapixel snapper, the only shortcomings occurring in bright lighting or darkness - although, we're not quite sure how we feel about using the trackball to take the picture as it's very easy to get things the way you want and then shoot too soon or too late with this kind of mechanism.

The ability to flip through pictures in a photo album is also nice touch and geotagging should also come in handing for naming and shaming during drunken office parties.

Video, however, is a slightly different story. Clips shot using the phone are of average quality, but video stored on the device is much better indeed.

The Beeb channel' is a nice addition. Considering the size of the device, quality is not bad at all, although it was quite jerky at times and we certainly wouldn't want to watch a whole programme streamed in this way. YouTube clips, however, proved a much better experience.

All in all, HTC has certainly delivered the goods with the HTC Hero. Pre-launch, the company claimed that the device put people at the heart of its design, rather than technology and we're pleased to report it has actually come up with the best of both worlds.

Verdict

There are a few little niggles about this handset, such as the jutting lip and the fiddliness of taking pictures with the trackball. But the drawbacks are far outweighed by the multimedia and business centric benefits on offer, not to mention the possibilities the Android Market offer.

So, given some of the diabolical handsets on the market at present, this HTC device is somewhat heroic.

Connectivity: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G, HSDPA 7.2Mbps

Display: 320x480 pixels, 3.2in

Processor: 528 MHz

Storage: 288MB, microSD card slot

Camera: 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels

GPS: Yes

Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g

Dimensions: 56.2x14.4x112mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 135g

Operating system: Android with HTC's Sense UI

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