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Old November 27th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Lisbon, Portugal
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Device(s): HTC Hero
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Default Went out to buy a Nokia N97, brought an HTC Hero instead...

Hi everyone!

This is my first day with my new HTC Hero (european) phone. And boy, how exciting is this? I feel a need to express myself and, for some reason, I believe this is the place to do it. (so you can say it was the empty stare from my girlfriend's face that kind of brought me here...)

Have been a Nokia user since I can remember, have been using an E71 lately. Did I need a new phone? Of course not. Actually, that's the big difference between guys and girls. Men find the need to overly justify any purchase they make. Women buy what they want because they want it. Period.

Long story short, had the N97 in my hand at the store and remember thinking "Wow! What a crappy and slow and not so bright touch screen this is! Looked way better at the Nokia website..." Every icon and shortcut felt jumpy and slow and cheap...
Luckily, the wise words from one of the store clerks arrived at my ears. "Hey man, if you want a good fluid touch-screen and some good apps, you should try this one (HTC Hero). It's not Symbian, though. It's that Cyborg thing from Google."

Guess what? It's not a Cyborg, it's an Android, and I absolutely loved it! Made sense to me. I love the Google search engine, use GMail every day, use Google Maps and Earth extensively, so why not jump at the opportunity of having something different?

Have been using my HTC Hero just for a day, and because everyone is asking me to shut up, here goes a list of what I like and what I still don't understand about this machine (that stuff is highlighted in red):

1. Killer sound! I'm a sound engineer and work in sales, and because I tend to spend some time at the phone with customers and friends, the sound of a phone is actually important to me. To be honest, I don't know why no one here is talking about that. The Hero has the best out-of-the-package sound capabilities I've ever had in a mobile phone! (and I thought the Nokia E71 was the best so far) Clear, crisp, intelligible conversations, with plenty of volume. And the music player with the supplied headphones actually sound way better to me than my iPod Touch. (bear in mind that I have a pair of hi-fi Ultrasone cans at home that cost me around $400, so I'm talking relatively)

2. Love the customization features and the fact that I can "get lost" inside the Hero. It's a great feeling knowing I'll have an entire weekend to play with my new toy without the fear of getting to the finish line before the next morning. Maybe it's just the excitement hormones still kicking in. But what I'm feeling is that I can actually do stuff with this product; instead of only being able to learn how the product works (as is usually the case). This is not a phone, it's a platform of some kind and that feels goooood!

3. Love the touch screen, it's fluid, responsive, bright, crisp, a pure joy! Having also an iPod Touch, I can vouch that this is right on par with Apple stuff. Ok, so maybe Apple works a bit better on those fancy-*****ly-animation-transition-fading-things, but that's about it. The multi-touch could bit a bit more responsive when it comes to the pinch-and-zoom stuff. And can someone explain me the reasoning behind the pinch-and-zoom not working with Google Maps? Come on, if there is an app that could effectively use that tecnology...

4. Did I mention I love the sound of this beast? Well, lest not we forget this is also a phone... it's nice to be able to talk for half an hour and not feeling hearing fatigue.

5. I still don't know how can I configure different GMail accounts and switch between them. This is actually pretty easy with other phones (well, like my Nokia's for sure). Maybe I'm missing something here.

6. Still haven't got hold of a single thread in this forum regarding Mac compatibility. I know a lot of you guys use Windows and Linux, but come on... there's everything Google for Mac. Why not a simple app to sync iCal and iTunes stuff? How hard could it be?

7. I'm not sure yet how to close the applications after using them. Should I leave them open and don't care about that? Does the OS closes them automatically? Does it closes them when RAM is low? I read here somewhere that a few apps tend to creep in memory when the phone is turned on and use up valuable RAM. Is there an app that can maybe counteract this?

8. I get it that some countries close the paying markets (the reasoning behind that thinking is what I don't understand). I keep reading everyone telling wonders about the Camera Zoom FX app and how that improves the in-built camera quality. But being in one of those only-free-apps-will-do country, any idea how can I install this app? I've installed other store apps, searched the web for any other ways of paying for the Zoom FX app, but nothing seems to work. Weird how technology evolves, right? We're at an age where it's easier to rip movies, music and entire tv series from the web, but yet a simple $2 application that I'm willing to pay for... oh, well...

9. Love the physical format. A bit weird with that angle down below, but hey... at least it's an original design without being tacky.

10. I'm happy for all the left-handed people out there using the Hero (and you say you have it hard...). But I'm not left handed, unfortunately, so the search/return button being on the right side of the trackball is a bitch to my thumb! $5 says the designer of this phone is left-handed.

Overall - and sorry about this long post but someone had to have it! - I'm very pleased with this machine.
So rarely I have the feeling I buy something unique these days. And having been using Mac computers for the past 16 years, I definitely didn't want to get onto the iPhone bandwagon (also, the iPhone is expensive as hell if you count the price of the phone + those restrictive data plans. And a guy needs a few buttons to click... yeah, sorry about that, iPhone users... but the iPhone is a bit girly... my opinion only)

Next week I plan on visiting a car dealer and ask to test a Honda. Who knows, maybe I come out of there driving a Maserati...

Bye, everyone, have a nice weekend, sorry again for the long post, and keep up the good work with this community. I'll definitely be around.
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