30 April, 2010

HTC Hero Review

So, I've had a busy couple of days playing with my new 'phone, and if you are interested, I'm going to offer my first impressions...was I right not to get an iphone? Looks like it, while 3G drops in and out a *bit* here in the Wharf, it's generally strong, I've been able to upload pictures to flickr and download 4-5Mb applications sat at my desk (at lunchtime I might add), so that's one worry out the way...second worry was battery life, as I said, it merrily charges from USB (took about 4 hours for a full charge on my PC - not all USB ports are equal), and this means we can charge up in the car (if needs be) from our USB/cigarette lighter thingy, web browsing works amazingly well (both the iphone browser and the Android browsers are children from the same technology and they both work equally well) Android flip to horizontal is just slightly quicker than the iphone, but not much in it, touch keyboard is intuitive and accurate, auto-complete is obviously aimed at geeks (I'm getting suggestions of things like "Mbps" as I'm typing...and even with everything turned on (GPS/Bluetooth/Wifi/GPRS/running apps) after 24 hours I'm still at 80% juice...you can buy bigger batteries though, if you like (and you can't do that with an iphone either)... ;)

One very cool thing about the Android marketplace (although searching it is admittedly a bit confusing) is that every purchase (if you make one, most things are free that I have found) is fully refundable in the first 24 hours, so you really are free to try *everything* out... ;)

Apps I've installed so far (apart from *lots* of games - Robot tower defence is *ACE*, not to mention "almost miss your stop" addictive) are as follows -

Locale - allows you to set power settings based on your GPS location - i.e. automatically turn on wifi at home, or at known hotspots, don't waste energy searching while on the train (that sort of thing), it does the same with other phone settings, so set normal ringtone at home, set it to loud on the train, set it to vibrate in the office (etc)...

Google Skymap - an "augmented reality" app where, when looking at the night sky through the camera it overlays the view with planets, star and constellations (incredible)! Even links to the latest sweet hubble shots of what you are observing!

Wikitude - another "augmented reality" app, wave the phone around using the camera and find related wikipedia articles/restaurant reviews/facebook events/youtube video/flickr shots of what you are looking at! There are about 50 different wikis you can choose to overlay on reality, it's truly amazing!

Dolphin - a different web browser - absolutely pin sharp rendering - super fast

Skyfire - an amazing web browser that plays flash videos and games even with hardly any signal (incredible)!

Shopsavvy - a barcode/QT scanner (combined with a quick search to price comparison websites) - also scans QT codes on websites (just point the camera at the screen or bit of paper) to auto download content or quickly get to a linked site

Geobeagle - a geocaching app (not tried it out yet, will do when I get some downtime)

The most impressive things about it so far? Turning it on for the first time and it asking me to log in to gmail/flickr/twitter/facebook etc. and them just all suddenly springing to life - that was amazingly impressive...Watching yourself zooming along on Google maps on the train, and being able to say "find me the nearest x" and the phone give you directions (does the same job as a TomTom in the car too - out of the box)...'phone making a noise and you want it suddenly to be silent (like when your headphones fall out on the train) - just turn it upside down and everything is automatically muted...All websites - including Flash sites - just working (well, that I have tried so far)...want to watch youtube? Just go there and hit the video...true multi-tasking (run everything you want all at once) - be downloading apps while listening to music while browsing the web...

The least impressive - the camera - although apparently there is an app you can download that greatly improves it (but it costs a quid so I haven't downloaded it yet)..I can honestly say the one on the Nokia N73 was twice as good...still, it's not the end of the world, it's just time to go back to bracing the phone against things to get blur free shots...

Overall - Very happy indeed... ;)


Absolute Beginner said...

Does it have the same kind of photo apps as the iPhone? I am loving mine and have downloaded about 5 different ones as I love the Lomography style and am enjoying the mobile version of Photoshop also. And oi, stop having a dig at the iPhone!

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

There's an app called "Camera Zoom FX" which apparently fixes the camera and offers all those funky modes, will probably buy it next month and yes, thank you for reminding me(!), there is a (free) android version of photoshop too, I'll just pop and get that now!

And I've got nothing against the iphone (how can 8 million iphone users be wrong?), it's just that they don't work very well when you get lots of them together and there are literally tens of *thousands* of them in every direction all around my desk sucking up each others bandwidth! I wouldn't be able to do *anything* apart from stare at my phone and wish I had signal... ;)

Anonymous said...

have you used your TELEPHONE to call home yet???? gadgets & gizmo's eh!!!