back to article 2009's Top Android Smartphones

From one handset in 2008, Google's Android has become one of 2009's fastest-growing smartphone platforms. HTC continued to support Android with some good new handsets, and Samsung made a good start, but we were particularly taken with offerings from the newer entrants, Motorola and Huawei. Motorola Dext MB200 Motorola Dext …


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  1. Si 1

    We need to invent a new law....

    .... for articles with "iPhone killer" in the title. A bit like like Godwin's Law but for smartphones.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Hero is NOT underpowered.

    ALL of the Hero's UI lag issues were solved with the firmware update released a couple of months ago. Your main criticism of the Hero is no longer valid.

  3. Phillip Webster
    Jobs Horns

    I think you need to re-look at Android

    Owning both an iPod Touch and a Hero I can honestly say the Hero UI beats Apples rather plain UI all over. No widgets or backgrounds? No real ability to customise where the icons are placed (just their order) it's pretty bad. Sure it brought in a new generation of smart phones, but it's not as good as many make out.

    Same goes for the music player. I find the iPod Touch's rather bewildering. On such an advanced device why can't I rename a playlist _ON_ the device itself? Instead I'm forced to use the nightmare that is iTunes. In comparison the Hero's player is a doddle to use, I'm not following the "needs a few usability tweaks" at all, the only things it lacks are FLAC playback and quickly skipping through tracks, with the Touch lacking FLAC support as well.

    The CPU is only underpowered if you use touchflo. Which is nice, but it's a bit slow. Drop back to the default Android UI and you lose minimal functionality (just a few customising and HTC-specific widgets for which there are replacements in the marketplace) and gain a lot of speed.

    In short, the iPhone was nice a few years ago, but with the 1.5 release on the Hero, Android overtook it. It would be nice to have a few extra multi-touch features (since Android supports single-touch screens as well, the apps are based around this) but with the Hero you at least have the same pinch-to-zoom as on the iPhone for pictures and browsing.

  4. Chris Wilson

    Pulse is cheaper than that!

    Get with the times - T-Mobile took £50 off the price of the Pulse yesterday!

  5. Tipjip


    As far as I know the Droid/Milestone is available already. So shouldn't it be somewhere in that list or at least be mentioned?

  6. Matt White 1

    Milestone should be on there...

    Seriously, woooooooaaaaah....

    £35 a month 18 monther? Hell yes.

  7. Law
    Thumb Up

    Hero processor

    You guys should really re-look at the Hero... I know it's probably because I have one now, but the processor seems to be just fine, the previous firmware was extremely laggy but that was fixed, so seems like a sloppy code issue than a processor issue, even with 5 screens of quite heavy widgets my hero is working smoothly and without lag.

    That said, I completely agree on the whole iPod/Music apps... the iPhones music player was much nicer, but it probably helped that it auto-sync'd music from itunes too, so I used it more. I think the music app is the area they should concentrate on now though, just like the ui was before the latest update, the music app seems a little laggy sometimes - and they really need to stop defaulting to 3d coverview style, it's horrible, and I think that is the main culprit for the lag... just a simple wall of album art would be nice, and have the 3d stuff as an option for those who need to pretend it's a floating line of cds.

    I can't decide whether I should wait for double twist to add auto-sync to their application for playlists, or to write my own mono or objective c app to do it for me... but that really isn't htc's problem I don't think..

  8. Jimmy Floyd

    Flan? Éclair? Mmm, lunch.

    There is also the persistent rumour that Android 2.0 (or even 2.1, if you believe some blogs) will land on the Hero very soon. I wonder if a re-review might be appropriate at that juncture...?

    Penguin, because I've wanted a Linux phone since 2002 (and, thanks to the Hero, now have one!).

  9. Paul_Murphy
    Paris Hilton

    The only problem with the Hero

    Is the battery life, it could do with a larger battery is all.

    Oh, and to be supplied with noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones with a microphone in.


    PH - cos while I'm dreaming..


  10. Yorkshirepudding

    a good motorola?

    have i woken up in a parallel universe this morning

    /pats 5800 hapilly

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hero & Eclair

    The Hero will be getting Android 2.0 in the near future, that has been confirmed by HTC and is why they haven't released Donut for it. They are re-writing their Sense interface to work with 2.0.

    Also the lag thing on the HERO - come on Reg, this was fixed a couple of weeks after your last review and you didn't update the review. I very rarely get lag on the Hero and as it has a multi-tasking OS you may need to close down som eother apps if it starts to stumble (doesn't the iPhone generally only allow 1 app + music at a time?).

    Having used an iPhone and a Hero, I think that the Hero wins hands down. The widgets really make a difference - my home screen can give me a quick look at my e-mail, messages, upcoming appointments and weather without having to launch an application. As well as the seven desktops, you can also set up scenes to change your whole phone image depending on what you are doing. You could have a Games scence, a Navigation scene or a work scene and your desktops will all change to reflect it. Far better than pages and pages of icons?

  12. swaygeo

    Hero Review

    I have a Hero on T-mobile, and I really like it.

    Also because I've made a financial commitment to the phone by means of a contract, I like validate this frankly ridiculous choice to spend so much money on something that I probably don't need, by attacking all of the other equally, less, or indeed more ridiculous choices I could have made.

    Therefore, iPhone sucks.


  13. Neur0mancer


    Android is most certainly the mobile OS of the future. But not yet.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    because of the formatting of the page I was lead to believe for a minute there that the hero was £147 payg. I had my credit card out and and ready to go before I realised that's the price for the pulse

  15. Mick Stranahan
    Thumb Up

    Hero music player

    there's nothing wrong with the Hero's music player. Its very easy to use, has all the usual shuffle etc features and unlike many devices you always get your album art. And you can add widgets to the desktop to take you directly to selected playlists.

  16. JeeBee

    My Hero is arriving this week

    (to replace what is hopefully my last ever Nokia phone)

    Also I used skills to get it on a cheaper shorter contract than the £35x24 standard by requesting a PAC code to move to another provider.

    When I played with it in the store I never noticed any UI lag. I hear that this issue was fixed. Can't wait to get Android 2.1 on there.

    When I get it I will surely use all my powers to justify the expenditure!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Hero

    Was gonna get me an iphone but the tarrifs were stupid so plumped for the Hero instead. Really glad I did. Excellent piece of kit. Don't think, just buy it.

  18. Craig Mulvaney

    Hero = lag

    I use an iPhone 3GS along side a Hero, and I'm affraid that the Hero still lags....yes, that's after the ROM update too. Perhaps those who claim no lag have nothign better to compare it against, but using it along side the iPhone it's clear as day. The Hero just doesn't cut it.

    1. Law
      Paris Hilton


      "Perhaps those who claim no lag have nothign better to compare it against, but using it along side the iPhone it's clear as day."

      I've got an iphone and 2 hero's on my desk right now... ok, so one is pink (the wifes), but still, neither have lag compared to the iphone, even pre-3.* updates. Perhaps your hero is faulty? Or you are using the non-EU Hero? Think they use different firmwares no?

  19. Alan 43
    Black Helicopters

    Hero rocks

    I was going to change from Orange to O2 for the iphone but then came across the Hero. I almost went anyhow after several reviews reported the Hero as slow and underpowered but i can confirm as soon as you update the ROM (if you even need to now) there are no such issues and HTC are currently at work on Android 2.1 implementation of Sense for Hero. The Android OS & apps and the Sense UI are excellent and no lag except when you have alot of apps running at the same time (iphone can only run 1 at a time) and then it is just a case of freeing up some memory with a free task manager from the app store. I have facebook, myspace & twitter widgets running plus flyscreen rss aggregator all the time with no slow down. The only thing about the Hero is the dreadful camera...CameraFx from the app store helps things a bit but come on HTC, sort out your cameras..a 5megapixel camera that takes blurry pics is no use at all..Camerafx fixes that a bit so it is partly a software issue...but is is also sloooowwwwww at taking pics as has been my experience with other HTC phones. But as an internet phone it is great. fully recommend it for bloggers / social networking etc ....

  20. Aaron 8

    Hero Best Price Going

    Just got this HTC Hero on T-Mobile, best deal out there.

  21. Adrian Esdaile


    A shame the Hero is not going to be released down under, apart from a single importer who is only selling the brown model, FFS.

    The only Androids available down here are the also rans.

  22. Registard

    Android for the masses!

    T-Mobile Pulse has now dropped in price to £91.34 inc VAT (£101.34 inc the required £10 top up). T-Mobile are awaiting stock but taking orders (they say new shipment's arriving soon).

  23. Christopher Rogers
    Thumb Up

    The Hero

    Yes, it has slight lag when compared to iphone 3gS, but is still a great piece of kit. For the price of an O2 iPhone, i got pretty much the same deal + was able to insure the phone. Also, Orange in NI has much better 3G access than O2.

    Apart from the crap flashless camera (which i hardly use anyhoo), i'm a fan.

  24. Greg D
    Thumb Up


    Only bad thing is the camera, but come on - who uses a mobile for proper snaps anyway? If I'm out and about I usually have my 10mp digicam with me anyway!

    Other than that, its a definite iPhone beater - far surpasses it in every way - although the iPhone UI is still ever so slightly smoother. Still, I'd prefer multitasking over that any day.

    The Hero is the best phone I've owned. Period.

  25. Righteously Indignant
    Thumb Up


    I guess this review was written before the Milestone was available...

    I had mine delivered by Expansys last week and all my fears of buying a Motorola quickly disappeared. I've been religiously Nokia until now but the N900 is just too chunky and that Maemo needs a bit more gestation time before being inflicted on the masses.

    The phone is just fantastic. None of the shiny bells and whistles overlaying the Android 2 OS, just an honest to goodness smartphone OS (that you can customise the hell out of if that is your wont.)

    It took me a matter of minutes to have it up and running with my corporate and gmail accounts, all my contacts and calendar were in place quickly and I've not had a single problem with it so far. The battery took a kicking on the first day I had it whilst I played with all the toys but now lasts 2-3 days with moderate use. The only thing that annoys me about the phone is closing programs... The only way I have found to close the browser is to keep pressing the back button until it disappears! But I'm sure if I RTFM I'll figure it out... One day.

    Anyways... Motorola Milestone - BIG THUMBS UP!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Same Old El Reg

    You've completely missed the point since day 1 with Android, and continue to do so. The Hero is the best phone out there bar none. I've got an HTC Dream, used lots and lots of iPhones but I'd love a Hero.

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