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Review of HTC's Android-powered DROID Eris for Verizon and Hero for Sprint

Review by Michael Oryl on Monday November 23, 2009.

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The DROID Eris for Verizon Wireless and HTC Hero for Sprint are both based very heavily on the original HTC Hero for Europe that we have already reviewed. But since these two models are so important to the U.S. market, I've decided to put together a separate review that reiterates what these phones can do and goes over some of the minor differences between the devices, which are mostly hardware in nature.

If you haven't already, you might want to read Russell's full review, with video, of the original HTC Hero as a backgrounder. But for those that just want the short version, this review and its own videos should give you the basics of what you need to know.

Physical Aspects

From the perspective of a European HTC Hero user, the most obvious change in the two U.S. variants, the Hero for Sprint and the DROID Eris for Verizon, is the thinner body design that lacks the distinctive bent chin of the original.

The changes go slightly deeper than that purely aesthetic change, though, when it comes to the DROID Eris. The Eris, for its part, totally does away with the hardware controls for home, menu, back, and search that the two Hero labeled smartphones feature, though all have a nice hardware trackball for basic direction control, when needed. From my perspective, the switch to touch sensitive controls on the DROID Eris is a bad thing, as it not only makes the device harder to unlock, since you can't just hit the hardware menu key twice, but it also makes the phone overall harder to use - especially in dark environments.

This is something the DROID Eris shares with the more expensive Motorola DROID. The touch sensitive keys don't light up until the screen is activated, and they don't stay lighted for all that long in general. This leads to a bit of fumbling and the occasional misstep in the dark. As a general rule, I find that touch sensitive keys are always less effective than even the worst hardware controls, and the DROID Eris hasn't altered my opinion on that point at all.

But apart from those touch controls, the 3 devices share the same basic hardware, including very nice 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen(INFO) displays with half VGA (320 x 480 pixel) resolution. The displays, and the user interface that runs on them, are very responsive and easy to use.

The rest of the hardware on the Sprint Hero and the Verizon DROID Eris is rock solid. They both features a miniUSB connector for charging and USB connections to a PC, and each have a regular 3.5mm headphone jack for use with regular headphones. Both devices also feature a microSDHC(INFO) memory card slot underneath the rear cover.

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mattsprint999 @ 2:11:57AM EST on Wednesday December 9, 2009

will sprint get the all black htc hero?
and if so when?

Julz @ 6:57:51PM EDT on Wednesday April 28, 2010

Flash on the camera PLEASE?!!!

This is a piece of garbage! @ 7:35:04PM EDT on Wednesday July 28, 2010

This is a terrible, terrible phone. Firstly, I have extreme troubles unlocking the phone for calls, so I miss them. The battery life sucks, the touch screen is difficult, it freezes and lags, and just today it crashed and deleted all my stuff. DO NOT GET THIS PHONE! It seems great at first but then it becomes terrible.

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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