The Hero is the third Android powered phone to be launched in South Africa, Prior to the HTC Magic and Dream. The difference is the HTC Hero is the world’s first Android powerd phone with a customised – HTC specific – user interface and after a quick fiddle with one of the prototypes, its slick.

The Hero will be available in white and brown, which only looks brown in the sun. In truth it’s black. The white model has coating of Teflon to stop it getting dirty, now that’s just smart.

The Hero is the first HTC phone to sport HTC Sense a new user interface enhancement that will be introduced across a range of future HTC phones. The HTC Stalker Department who developed Sense by “quietly listening and observing how people live and communicate”* – in all seriousness we expect quite a lot from the Sense interface. (See the video after the break)

In addition to Sense the Hero has Scenes. This gives the Hero different themes and functions for when you use it as a business phone or for personal stuff. This didn’t work for Nokia when they implemented a similar feature in their E-Series, it will be interesting to see if HTC can pull it off.

There are seven screens, which you can scroll through, place shortcuts, widgets and applications that push content from Twitter, Facebook and news sources.

Those seven screens are viewed on a 3.2-inch HVGA display; which HTC states is optimised for web and multimedia content. Multimedia content is a bit of a push, but for browsing the web it is a great size. The Hero has the usual assortment of features found in high-end Smartphones including a GPS, digital compass, 3.5mm stereo headset jack, 5 mega-pixel autofocus camera and expandable MicroSD memory. The Hero also has a feature we have never heard of before. A gravity-sensor. How cool does that sound? It’s kind of like something Q would fit James Bonds Aston Martin with. We imagine that’s it’s a sort of advanced accelerometer, but we’ll bug the guys at HTC to elaborate.

Finally, The Hero comes preloaded with Android Market. The Android Market is an application store where you can download thousands of free (and only free, paid apps to come later to South Africa) applications for your new HTC Hero.

We really look forward to reviewing this phone. If you have any questions, or anything you’d like us to cover tweet them, write them on our wall, or do it the old-fashioned way and leave a comment.

Brendon Ambrose

*Official press release from Leaf
HTC Hero