Phone Guide: HTC Hero

Getting a new Hero is a great experience, but for someone who may not have encountered smart-phones or android phones before, then is can also be a daunting experience. This guide is designed to ease you as a new user into your Hero, and as a consequence into the hidden semantics of the Android platform.

HTC Hero

Once you have had a look through this guide, then I'd recommend taking a look at the top 50 Apps for android 1.5, the android version your HTC Hero is running.

So without further ado, lets jump into the guide!

BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE

Make sure you are running the latest ROM build, if not, update to the latest your carrier/HTC provides before you do anything else. As updating the ROM wipes the data off your phone, doing this first means you will not lose anything! Check out the HTC Support website for your Country and Carrier to see if there is an update available!

To see if you have the latest update compared to that on the HTC website, check here on your Hero:

Settings > About Phone > Build Number

General Notes

To get the MOST out of Android and your Hero, you must embrace the Google Cloud. Get yourself a GMail email account, use the Google calendar, sync your contacts to Google, use Google Picasa, use Google Calendar, use Google Tasks, use Google Docs, etc.

General Tips

  • You may try out any paid application in the market for 24 hours. If you uninstall the application inside these 24 hours you will get a full refund. However, you may only do this once. If you reinstall a refunded application you may not return it for a refund again.
  • Turn off WiFi and GPS if you are not using them. They can cause the battery to drain much quicker than if you turned them off. Toggling between these settings is easy via the default HTC widgets.
  • To add a new photo album, just mount the phone via USB to a PC, create a new folder and give it a name. Add your pictures to this folder. Now browse to the “Albums” in your phone and it will automatically create an album with the folder name you specified containing the pictures you added.
  • Calibrate your keyboard!!! You will find using the keyboard waaay better. Do this via:

Settings > Local & text > Touch Input > Text Input > Calibration Tool

  • There are 3 types of keyboard available for the Hero built in “full QWERTY”, “Phone keypad” and Compact QWERTY”. Give them a try, one may suit you better. To change do the following:Settings > Local & text > Touch Input > Keyboard Types
  • A Class 6 micro sd card may speed up your Hero.If you have both WiFi and data connections turned on, your phone will default to using the WiFi connection as long as you are connected to a WiFi network. So no need to turn mobile data off using home WiFi.

Phone Status Icons

Explanations of the icons that appear in your notification bar:

HTC Hero Notification Icons

Adding New Ringtones/SMS Notifications/Alarms

To add new ringtones or SMS alerts, connect your Hero to USB and mount the device on your PC. Browse to the following folders:

If these folders do not currently exist, then just create them yourself.

Ringtones:
/sdcard/media/audio/ringtones SMS Alerts:
/sdcard/media/audio/notifications Alarm Alerts:
/sdcard/media/audio/alarms

Copy your mp3 files into the appropriate folder above then go to:

Ringtone:
Settings > sound and display > phone ringtone
SMS:
Settings > sound and display > notification sound
Alarms:
Set the sound when adding a new alarm.

Then select the ringtone you put in the above folder(s).

Keyboard Lag

The HTC Hero keyboard tends to lag quite a bit after maybe a week of using it. There is one very easy way to ease and normally totally get rid of the lag, and that is to turn of the feedback option.

Settings > Local & text > Touch Input > Text Input > Untick “Sound feedback” and “Vibrate when typing”

Default Application Replacements

To use the images of QR codes (barcodes) that will follow, please read the following guide on how to use Android QR codes

Your Hero will come with default applications, but sometimes there are better alternatives on the market:

SMS

Handcent SMS is a perfect replacement SMS application. It contains a lot more personalisation than the default application offers, and many users report it being faster too. In order to stop receiving two SMS notifications from now on, open the default SMS application and navigate to:

Menu > settings> untick Notifications

Download Handcent by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market
Camera

The default camera application is not bad, and actually after using Camera Zoom FX for a while I now prefer the default as it is quite a lot faster to open up. There are two options here, change the default camera settings, or download and use the Camera Zoom FX application instead.

Change to these settings in the default application:

Quality: High
Widescreen: Tick
Auto focus: Tick
Flicker Adjustment: Auto
ISO: 800

The Camera Zoom FX application however manages to produce quite good pictures, and is definitely worth the very small cost (£1.29).

Download Camera Zoom FX by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market

Browser

The default browser is very limited, there are two possible great alternatives for you to choose, and which one you prefer is generally a personal preference thing. As a note, I prefer Steel as it is not as bulky as Dolphin, but it does not include pinch zoom if that is important to you, where as Dolphin does.

Download Steel by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market
Download Dolphin by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market

Keyboard

I think that the default keyboard is great, there are 3 different keyboards built into the phone, those of you with big fat fingers may prefer a more contact keyboard as the buttons are easier. To change the type of keyboard do the following:

settings > locale and text > touch input > keyboard types

If you want to try something different, and I HIGHLY SUGGEST giving this a go btw, then you can download a replacement keyboard app called ShapeWriter. This is a new way of typing on a touch keyboard. You just drag your finger over each letter of the word, without pressing.

Download Shapewriter by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market

Calendar

The default calendar app is ok, and the widgets are quite good. But if like me you prefer to see a list of upcoming appointments then the default widgets may not be up to scratch. Personally I use 2 desktop widgets, one of my main homescreen (smaller showing next 3 appointments), and a larger one taking up a whole screen showing many upcoming appointments:

Smooth Calendar Widget

Very similar to the small default calendar widget, but this one can show up to the next 3 appointments.

Download Smooth Calendar Widget by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market

Agenda Widget

Has multiple widget sizes. Shows an agenda of your upcoming appointments, and beautiful too!

Download Agenda Widget by scanning the QR code with your phone, or alternatively click the QR code to go straight to the market