HTC Hero vs iPhone 3G/3Gs13 Aug 2009 43 Comments
After finally giving up my iPhone 3G (which i was enjoying apart from some trivial stuff), i got my hands on the HTC Hero. This will not be an indepth review of both, but a basic and quick comparison as N. will post his full review of the HTC Hero soon. I will forego all the basic specs such as Wi-Fi, Quadband, bluetooth, etc. cuz every smart phone should have that.
This will not be a no holds barred duel between the 2 smart phones, i will just note some of the things that i have noticed while using both.
First of all, the looks. The iPhone looks good, but the HTC Hero looks unique. With the curve at the bottom enabling you to place it on its screen without worrying about it getting scratched. it is slightly thicker and with a slightly narrower screen than the iPhone.
The coating is made of teflon, apart from being a tough substance, it ensures your phone stays smudge and print free which is one of the annoying things on the iPhone. On the back of the HTC Hero you have a 5.0 Megapixel camera with autofocus which also serves as the video camera.
If you are more into music, the iPhone wins hands down because of its built in iPod, but if you dont need your full music library than you wont feel the disadvantage of the Hero in that sense. There are 6 buttons on front of the phone as well as a pushable trackball. its a fully resistive touch screen, not as sensitive as the iPhone so you wont be pressing on buttons and apps by mistake.
Customization. On the Hero, there are 5 fully customizable screens besides the homescreen, which you can add apps and any kind of widget you find necessary. you can save different ”scenes” with your setups to satisfy your needs. also, on the screen itself is the left arrow which is a showing of all the apps, and a phone button and the + button in which you can add shortcuts, htc widgets, android widgets or your own. this customization gives it the edge over the iPhone hands down. Everything gets synced with your google account, so on your calendar widget for example on your homescreen, you will get any update from your google calendar.
Browsing is at times very annoying in the iPhone. you try to browse with the page not fully loaded and it gets choppy or sends you back to the top after scrolling down before fully loading. the browsing in the Hero is alot easier and faster. also the Hero is flash based, so you can access flash on the websites you surf, Apple has still not implemented it as this will allow 3rd party apps to bypass the iTunes App store and release them without any cha-ching going into Stevie Jobs pocket.
Running background apps is only possible by jailbreaking the iPhone, if you need to jailbreak a phone for a simple feature then its not worth it. HTC hero can handle alot of apps working in the background, of course it will not work at optimum speed, but coming from an iPhone i appreciate it and always close the apps i dont use to make the experience on the Hero swifter. EIther way you can Root the device on the HTC hero which enables you to access the protected system files, its not jailbreaking but a way around some operating system protections.
The apps stores. Apple has the awesome iTunes App store, and Android have their Android Market. One is open to any developer and the other is limited in every way imaginable. This does not mean the Android Market is better. You will find many apps and widgets not available for the iPhone, but the opposite as well. Many apps are found in both such as Shazam, Backgrounds and alot of the basic apps/games. The games in the iTunes store are of a higher standard hands down. but having the freedom to select any app and install it, is also a good thing for Android. So far, i only miss some of the games from the iPhone. But you even have the dumb gun apps on Android so my son will remain happy at least.
Social Networks. The Hero comes with direct integration to Facebook, all email accounts, exchange support, Twitter, Flickr and many of these kinds of sites where you automatically get updated with notifications whenever you have one. the instant messaging programs arent as hardcore as Beejive on the iPhone, but then again i have only explored the free apps as i have no need for any paid one just yet. so basically any kind of app in the iTunes store for 2 $ and below is free, in the Android Market.
Price. The HTC Hero costs at least 100KD less than the iPhone 3Gs 16GB. Obvious winner here is the Hero.
Battery life. Battery life in the iPhone is crap if you actually use it, but the Hero isnt that much of a winner either, but i do push it all day with 3G on, Wi-Fi, background apps and connecting to many programs. basically i never stop messing around with the phone. but there is a catch, 3rd party developers always develop batteries which are the same dimensions yet more powerful. as HTC probably wanted the cheapest battery to keep sale prices down. so in the upcoming weeks i will be looking to upgrade my stock battery. charging is used with mini-usb, so you can go to any electronic store and buy either a socket charger or computer charger for it.
Basically, these phones are very well rivalled, if it wasnt for N. i would have probably never bought the HTC Hero, Apple have marketed their products as well, also boasting an incredible app store and music library. these phones are very similair in specs and usage but with different UI (user interface), of course it has been only a week with this phone but so far i am very impressed and enjoying it.
i leave you below with a look at the screenshots of the different UI experiences.
UPDATE : An update to the ROM of the HTC Hero can be found at www.htc.com. This update will eliminate the lag, fix the autofocus on the camera, and more. You can click here and see the Htc Hero with the ROM update in action. Make sure to back up your files before installing it. MyBackUp is recommended from the andorid market.