I am being inundated with one single question since receiving the HTC Hero phone with the Android OS. That question is which phone do I prefer, the Palm Pre or the HTC Hero? It’s a fair question since both phones are on the Sprint network in […]

I am being inundated with one single question since receiving the HTC Hero phone with the Android OS. That question is which phone do I prefer, the Palm Pre or the HTC Hero? It’s a fair question since both phones are on the Sprint network in the U. S., or at least they will be when the Hero starts shipping.

The question is totally one of personal preference, and it has no easy answer. Both phones are compelling in their own right, and the best way to give a feel for them is to show them side by side. That’s the intent of this video, to let viewers get a feel for each phone and how they differ.

The video shows the main interface of each, and shows the strengths of each interface. Both web browsers are demonstrated, and the pluses and minuses of working the web are shown. Have a look at the video and see which phone holds the most appeal for you. I know for sure that I would be happy with either one as my main phone.

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  1. Shawn Roberts Friday, October 2, 2009

    I can’t get the video to play past 1:38 in HD or regular format.

  2. James Kendrick Friday, October 2, 2009

    It’s working fine for me, regular and HD formats. Maybe try it on a different device?

  3. I don’t mind the lack of a scroll bar on the Pre myself… the big thing I notice in the Hero browser is that scrolling and zooming seems much jumpier than the Pre (at least when you demonstrate scrolling on jkontherun on it). That’s probably at least partly because of Flash, but we’ll see whenever the Pre gets that as well.

    But I agree entirely that they’re both very good devices that will meet pretty different needs well, depending on what one wants.

    1. I think that is actually due to the reflowing of the text when it moves around. It does make it a bit jumpy but the benefits of reflowing text has to be experienced to appreciate it.

  4. Kevin C. Tofel Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Nice overview and the Hero looks sweet! Just for clarification so folks don’t think the wrong thing — the reflowing text feature in the browser isn’t specific to the HTC Hero. It’s part of Android 1.6 / Donut. The only way I knew that was because my G1 got the Android 1.6 update this morning and sure enough, text reflows in the browser. :) Thinking ahead — since the webOS browser is WebKit, just like Android’s, I’m *hoping* we see this function added to the Pre in the future.

    1. Glad to hear that’s part of Android generally. I’m finding it invaluable to the browsing experience. Sadly, my G1 is still sitting waiting for Donut to appear.

      I should remind everyone that the Hero, while it has this feature in the browser, is only running Cupcake. It does not have Donut on it.

  5. Thanks for the comparison. Good demo of the two approaches. I would have liked to see the email and calendar on the Hero since my purchase will be more of a workhorse and a hobby phone. Any comments you or the team want to make about that?

  6. reflowing of text has always been part of the android browser.

    My stock G1 was doing that before even the Cupcake 1.5 update. I remember comparing my G1 browser to my friend’s Pre not long after I had purchased it and we both mentioned that specific feature as one that android got better browser-wise.

  7. Thanks for the thoughts. I have had 10 Pre’s and all have broken down or been defective. I know there are many that are interested in the build quality comparison. I know that the Hero has a tempered glass screen as opposed to the plastic screen on the Pre. Also the Hero is supposed to have a smudge resistant coating as well. Another key feature for business users is that you can sync directly with Outlook on the computer to keep contacts and calender up to date where you can’t on the Pre. The email program is supposed to be more robust on the Hero than the Pre and the big plus is having video and flash capability on the Hero. I found the Pre keyboard to have good feedback but to be too small when typing alot of information and I don’t have big hands. I just think for more people looking at these 2 devices the main points are probably build quality and Outlook syncing capability for those of us that are business users. Most of the reviews I have seen don’t go deep enough into these points, most are centered around the cool stuff and not necessarily the everyday features that will make someone more efficient.

    1. I haven’t had any problems with the Pre I own. That said, the Hero does feel more solidly built and shows typical HTC quality.

    2. Come on… TEN?!!!

      Forgive me for being skeptical but whenever I read these types of posts I instantly suspect fanboy-ism.

      My Palm Pre has been rock-solid since launch. I’ve babied it, but still managed to drop it twice. Still works like a champ.

  8. Does the Hero have a status indicator light? I want a light, like on the blackberry when new emails arrive.

    Also how has battery on the htc phone been?

    1. Yes, a green light flashes when email comes in . The phone can be set to vibrate, too. Battery life has been OK. I charge it at night and it’s not run dry yet.

    2. Palm Pre also has a glowing LED notification for incoming messages. It currently has to be enabled via a tweak, but I’m sure it will be stock very soon.

  9. “Another key feature for business users is that you can sync directly with Outlook”

    Exchange has won the Groupware war with Notes and Groupwise distant also ran. If you can’t sync with Exchange you can’t do business in most major large enteprise sized businesses. Google is getting better everyday but they are still no challenger for ExchangeSharepoint services. The same for the Android it’s nice but it still not as polished as a PalmPre or iPhone when it comes to next gen smartphones.

    1. The Hero has very good Exchange syncing built into the phone. On our latest MobileTechRoundup podcast, Matt Miller discussed that at length and even stated that the Hero works with Exchange better then Windows Mobile phones. Check it out if that interests you.


  10. you can also double tap on text on websites on the Pre so it can be reformatted to fit nicely on your screen. SO i dont think thats really an advantage of the Hero. ANd i also prefer an overview of the entire webpage upon loading. by that i can just double tap on the text that i want to read.

    Good comparison though! Don’t forget to mention that the Pre actually has a physical keyboard.

    1. That is good info. I did mention the keyboard on the Pre which I happen to like a lot.

    2. bulls96, there’s a huge difference between the browser zoom on the Pre vs Android. A double-tap on the Pre’s browser does’t reformat it to fit nicely on your screen. It currently simply zooms to fit it on your screen. That’s far different than on the Android browser now — it zooms and reflows text, which is more advanced and usable. If you pinch zoom on the Pre, you can’t always read all of the text because it doesn’t reflow, in which case, you need to scroll. On Android it will automatically reflow so there’s no horizontal scrolling. Similar, but *very* different functionality.

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