I recently lost my phone while sailing. Since there were many “bigger and better” ones getting ready to be released by some top providers, I decided to wait to buy a phone, until the new ones became available. Wait? You went without a phone – for how long? You’re not human, man. On the contrary, after rifling through my several drawers and closets, I found my old HTC Hero, the first touch screen phone HTC released, and after contacting customer support and working my charm, I was able to get it up and working within a day!
The phone itself is more compact than any touch screen currently available on the market. The Hero came equipped with something called a trackball… and only eight sensory buttons that I had to figure out how to use. Despite its tiny size, I was surprised at how many apps it came with, although now, many of the pre-installed apps did not work due to being out of date. The phone was compatible with Google but used the old Android Market instead of the Google Play Store, which made finding and downloading apps such as maps, Facebook, and the like, impossible.
This phone came equipped with the basics:
- 2” screen
- 320 x 480 pixels
- 528 MHz Qualcomm processor
- 288 MB RAM
- 512MB of storage
- 0 megapixel rear camera
- Removable mAh battery
- SD card slot
- Android 2.1 Eclair, released in 2009 (about 10 versions older than the newest one available)
Simple things like texting became a dreaded and feared task due to the limited size of the keyboard on the phone. I found myself becoming overly agitated at the poor old phone and I quickly learned to keep my texts short and sweet. Surprisingly enough, the calling feature worked quite well. I found that Gmail does in fact work on the Hero but if you have multiple accounts linked to the phone, you will not be able to tell which account a new message belongs to, when you receive the notification.
A big downside of the Hero’s Gmail interface is that all of your mail goes into one folder – be it spam, important, junk, or trash – there is no differentiating between them with this out of date contraption. I found that with this version of Gmail, in every email, there was a “show pictures” button that decided what to show me and what to hide, when I would open an email, which forced me to have to click it and wait for the images to load with almost every email.
The web browsing on this phone works, but you’re not going to like it. While you can pull up webpages, there are several limits that cut into the joys of web browsing. I’m an Orioles fan, so I figured I would pull up the live scores for the game, little did I know, getting a live score from the Hero was like asking for a miracle. On one of the Hero’s many screens, sat a widget with pre-applied bookmarks that came equipped with Google, HTC’s home website, and a MySpace link… sounds about right for a phone from 2009!
Although this phone worked decently for making and receiving calls and using Bluetooth, you didn’t get 4G LTE – 3G was as good as it got – the texting feature worked pretty well, yet, I found myself replying with short and to the point messages because of the small phone size. The battery life of the Hero is amazing, although I wasn’t fully testing its power because I couldn’t run high demand apps like Facebook, I was happy to find that I didn’t need to charge the phone every day, for the battery to last.
Do you like security updates? I know I do! That’s why, when attempting to do anything on the Hero, I took great pleasure in clicking off of the 25 different security update pop ups that would appear anytime I opened the web browser. The GPS feature that came with the phone worked… as long as I could download the helper app from the Android Market, but just like almost everything else on the phone, the updates were no longer available.
The HTC Hero comes with a camera and if you point and aim it at something it will take a photo. You won’t like the photo – you won’t like any photo taken on the HTC Hero, unless of course, you are aiming for that blurry, out of focus shot.
I used the HTC Hero, from 2009, for about a month before I finally broke down and got a new phone. From this experience I relived the good, the bad… and most definitely – the ugly truth that comes from living in 2009. I found that this phone is just that, a phone. It is not a “Smart Phone”, it wasn’t meant to be used in the high flow technological society that we see today. I survived with it for a month by only using it for texting, talking, and the very seldom, email reply. So what did this experience teach me? Don’t let this phone be your hero. The old saying, “… gets better with age,” does not apply to technological devices.