Well it was bound to happen, it's a a 1 1/2 year-old phone, which is very old in the mobile tech world. Just because Sprint's moved on to newer devices shouldn't be pressure to get a new phone. There will always be something "better" months after you purchase your device, and I have to say that Sprint and HTC stuck by the Hero much longer than other devices.
Anyway, I like it and it does everything I need it to:
- Does it make phone calls? Of course.
- Customizable interface? IMO Sense is THE BEST interface. I even gave Vanilla Android 2.2.1 (AOSP ROM) a try and went back because its so easy, intuitive, and fun. Check.
- Takes pictures? Great pictures, even if no flash. Check.
- Shoot video? Check.
- Play music? I'm old enough to remember the days of carrying CD's around with a Discman. Kids are so spoiled. MP3 playback is still, IMO, a big deal even if its a standard for all devices. Sense's music player is really cool, good looking and simple to use. Check.
- All the other smart phone stuff like email, web browsing, calendar sync, GPS/Navigation, texting, etc? We take these things for granted, and again to me its still a big deal. People forget the days of carrying a cell phone that only made calls.
- Play videos and movies? Am I the only one who knows how awesome it is to live in an age where we can watch movies in a hand held device? Standard feature today, a mere dream to a teen back in the 90's.
- Tether internet? Sure, especially if rooted the Hero can be a mobile hotspot.
- Games? Ok, by today's Snapdragon standards the Hero can't compare. You can play simple games, but its no gaming powerhouse.
Things newer phones can do that the Hero can't (and I'm not sure I need it):
- 4G capabilities. I don't even get 4G where I live, but it will probably be the standard in the future.
- Video chat. Not exactly a must-have. Not available to everyone in my family who I live far from, and I'm not anxious to video chat with anyone I'm near. Its whatever.
- Flash 10.1. Ok, yeah with Flash Lite you can see all the great advertisements, but you won't be playing the cooler Flash games. Not that most of them would be much fun without a mouse or keyboard. While we're on the topic --
- Gaming. I definitely wouldn't mind a bit more processing power to play some of the more awesome games out there, but then again its not something I have a bunch of time to do.
- Mobile hotspot, but only if you refuse to root.
- Hmmm can't think of anything else. The Hero can't compete with the sheer speed of devices with Snapdragons and Hummingbirds, but overall they don't really do much it can't do.
On a related side note, since we're talking about the Hero being phased out, its "replacement" is the LG Optimus S. Reviews are good, and it has a little more under the hood than the Hero. But I saw my buddy's Optimus S, and I took one swipe on the touch screen and I didn't need to see anymore. I don't care HOW smoothly it operates or how well it plays Angry Birds, it's touch screen is nowhere near as good. And to me, for a device that has no keyboard, the touch screen is all-important and the Hero has an awesome one.