Trevor Power

18 August 2009

Finally got my Android

I've had my HTC Hero for a few weeks now and I have to say it's fantastic. I've never owned an iPhone or other smart phone so I can't really give a proper review but I'll make a few points.

The first thing that strikes me is that the user interface looks shiny and sleek but is also very practical.

I know other phones already do this but putting widgets on the home screen is a great way to customize the phone, you spend a lot less time scrolling through menus and lists. Apart from the standard clock/weather type widgets I use the twitter client widget and some of the on/off widgets for wifi, bluetooth, GPS etc.

One feature I really like is that when I add a contact I can select that person from my facebook and flickr friends, it will then use that persons facebook avatar and date of birth if available.

Although it comes with it's own twitter application called Peep it doesn't integrate twitter into the phone in the same way that it does with facebook and flickr. For example when I select a contact I can easily see their facebook/flickr updates and photos. I would've liked to see the same support for twitter (or even better, arbitrary person related data via third party plugins).

You could say a phone is only as good as the available apps, and this is a little problem for Irish users because paid apps are not yet available on the market place. But this is surely to change soon. In the meantime there are lots of free apps to play around with and it also comes with some nice apps pre installed like google maps and youtube.

With regard to using it in Ireland I have had no other problems except that O2 weren't able to help setup the 3G settings. I eventually found the correct APN settings but MMS message are working for me at the moment, apparantly these settings work for both 3G and MMS but I haven't tried them myself.

The only real problem I've had so far was with my home wifi, where I would connect successfully but about 30 seconds later it would drop the connection. I had to fiddle with my router's wireless settings a lot until the phone's wifi connection was more stable.

All the early reviews of the phone said that the phone was a bit sluggish, and I have to agree. While scrolling and sliding things around the screen it doesn't always go smoothly.

But I'm using it quite happily and it seems that there is even a software update on the way that will help the performance.

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