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HTC Hero Android smartphone

Cometh the hour, cometh the mobile?

The 3.2in screen is sharp and clear, but there's no option for cinema trailers to become full screen, so you'll be stuck with black bars top and bottom. Still, the BeebPlayer app we downloaded from the Market worked well, displaying Auntie's iPlayer wares in full screen mode with no lag over Wi-Fi. Call quality and reception were fine but the battery life wasn't great. It wasn’t too bad either, giving us around a day and a half of moderate use, despite HTC promises of up to 470mins of talk time and 750hrs on standby.

HTC Hero

Heroic gesture: touchscreen and multitasking, but lags behind the iPhone

In terms of connectivity, it's not lacking, offering quad-band GSM, HSPA (7.2Mps), Wi-Fi and stereo Bluetooth. It has A-GPS on board too, backed by Google Maps. This is well integrated including both Street View and Latitude; allowing you to track your friends in real time, should you feel the need.

The Hero can sync with Windows XP or Vista PCs, but it’s a bit of a pain really, as there’s no built-in link to instal and configure this automatically First, you'll need to download the rather clunky Android Sync Manager software from the HTC website, but there’s no mention of this, you're expected to figure it out for yourself.

Verdict

The HTC Hero has a lot of things going for it, with an impressive multi-touch screen, easy-access social networking apps and Google's ever-evolving Android OS, which HTC has customised, adding a few tricks of its own. It's still not quite as straightforward as the iPhone in general use, and the music player would benefit from a few usability tweaks. Yet the main issue is that, with a phone as full-featured as this, the processor appears underpowered. Perhaps HTC has jumped the gun with an interface and functionality that are just too advanced for the current hardware. That said, it's a fun smartphone that looks great and offers loads of possibilities – well worth checking out. ®

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HTC Hero

HTC Hero Android smartphone

HTC's best Android phone yet, with multi-touch screen, 5Mp camera and integrated social networking, but needs a faster processor.
Price: £400 RRP