Although Sprint was one of the first companies to join the Open Handset Alliance, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the operating system wasn't good enough when it first debuted, so the carrier waited to offer a Google Android device. That was then, and this is now. Starting on October 11, 2009, the HTC Hero will be available at Sprint for $179.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate
The HTC Hero is the most advanced Android smartphone to date and offers several features the T-Mobile G1 and T-Mobile MyTouch 3G don't have, including Outlook calendar and contacts synchronization, a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, and multitouch capabilities.
However, what really makes the Hero unique is the HTC Sense user interface that lets you customize seven home panels with various widgets and shortcuts. In addition, you can choose from different Scenes. This function lets you change the theme of phone depending on whether you're at work, traveling, out on the town, and so forth.
Even though the it shares a similar shape to the MyTouch 3G, the build quality of the Hero is much better. It doesn't feel slick or plasticky, thanks to the soft-touch finish throughout the body of the phone.
The Sprint HTC Hero measures 4.46 inches tall by 2.2 inches wide by 0.54 inch thick and weighs 4.5 ounces. It's quite a compact handset and fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Also, without the chin that was on the GSM Hero, it fits more easily into a pants pocket.
For text entry, the HTC Hero features a virtual QWERTY keyboard in both portrait and landscape mode. Not surprisingly, the keyboard is a bit cramped in portrait mode and lead to a number of mispresses. However, we had no major problems with the landscape keyboard.
Though you'll use the Hero's multitouch screen most of the time, there are a handful of navigation controls below the display, including Talk and End keys, a back button, a Home shortcut, Google Search launcher, menu button, and a trackball navigator.
Unfortunately, picture quality wasn't significantly better. Colors were OK, but it was hard to get a clear shot using the Hero and images were often fuzzy. We took about five photos before getting this clear photo. There was also a bit of shutter lag and the camera options didn't always come up when we pressed the menu button.