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First Look: HTC Hero S (U.S. Cellular)

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First Look: HTC Hero S (U.S. Cellular)

2:26 /

The HTC Hero S is an attractive and capable Android smartphone for U.S. Cellular customers, but the Motorola Electrify offers more bang for your buck.

-Hey everyone. I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com, here with your First Look at the HTC Hero S for U.S. Cellular. The carrier has been on a [unk] with the release of several android devices and the Hero S is another great addition. One of the things I like most about this handset is the design. For one thing, it has a solid construction. Like a number of HTC phones, it has an aluminum unit body design with soft touch finishes, so it feels like you're getting your money's worth. Does it feel like a plastic toy? Also, it's nice and compact, so it's easy to hold and slip into a pants pocket, which is a refreshing change after viewing all the larger devices. Because of the smaller size, the HTC Hero has a smaller screen, but it's only small when compared to the 4.3-inch and 4.5-inch displays out there. It measures 4 inches diagonally and is sharp and bright, so you should have no problem reading text or viewing web pages and images. Like HTC's most recent phones, the Hero runs the latest version of HTC Sense, which includes a more functional lock screen. It offers shortcuts to 4 of your favorites apps and also showcases more of your content such as your photos and friend stream. The phone is running android Gingerbread, so you get the standard Google service like Gmail, Google Maps, Places, and YouTube. The Hero is also a dual-mode world phone, so you can use it overseas. U.S. Cellular doesn't ship the phone with a simcard. Instead, the sim is unlocked so once you arrive at your destination, you can buy a prepaid sim and use that. On the back, you've got a 5-megapixel camera and LED flash. Picture quality was pretty typical of other camera phones we've tested. It does a great job in outdoor situations, but in low light conditions, the camera struggled a bit. Call quality was okay. I'm using roaming service here in New York and caller sounded a bit muffled. I had to ask a couple of friends to repeat themselves, but general performance was pretty good. The Hero has a 1.2-gigahertz Qualcomm processor. I was able to navigate the phone without problem and apps launched pretty quickly. All in all, I think the HTC Hero S is a very beautiful and solid android phone for U.S. Cellular customers, but I think the Motorola Electrify, which is also available from the carrier, is a better value. However, if you wanted something with a smaller design or don't like Motorola's UI, the HTC Hero S will definitely serve you well. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your First Look at the HTC Hero S.

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