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HTC Hero Android Sim Free Unlocked Mobile Phone (White)
Had this phone for coming up to three weeks now, and very happy with it. It's the only Smartphone I've owned so I have nothing to compare it to, but it does what I need it to do and relatively well.
Before purchasing the hTC Hero, I had done a considerable amount of research about Smartphone's on the market. I was initially going to purchase a Sony Ericsson Xperia1 about 3 months ago, yet I never really was appealed to it enough to buy it. The Nokia N97 also came very close to being purchased, yet I felt this lacked a modern feel with its Symbian operating system it runs of, it just felt a bit out-dated for such a great phone. The iPhone3Gs was always an option, but I'm just not a great fan of Apple themselves, but that's a different matter.
Therefore I was actually preparing myself to wait until I could find a perfect phone, until I came across the hTC Hero. I must be honest at first, I hadn't really heard of hTC before this, but from what I've read they seem like a decent and reliable company, maybe not as big as Nokia in the phone market, but for new generation phones I know I would chose hTC over Nokia, just compare their latest products, the N97 is the first touch screen from Nokia therefore I didn't feel like placing my faith in a possible trial phone from them.
The attraction of this phone is the personalising of its screens, giving you easy access to anything you need to do in an instant. To compare it to Smartphone out there I would have to say it's very much an iPhone experience.
I feel as a whole this phone holds some great potential as well as being an already brilliant Smartphone. It runs of the relatively new Google mobile operating system 'Android', still continually being developed therefore you can come to expect updates in the future which could bring extra benefits. The Android app market also offers a wide variety of apps, very much like we have come to see on the iPhone, except on the Android market you can find a majority of them for free.
I've heard some common reviews of the hTC Hero claiming the camera is not great, in my experience so far it has been all I need, some also say that it lacks a flash therefore being poor in dark conditions, yes ok it lacks a flash, but if you ever face yourself in a situation where you need to take a photo in darker conditions, something that I have learnt whilst using it, is to go into the camera settings, 'Settings - Image properties - Contrast -2', the contrast would have been set at '0' by default, turning this down to -2 makes it perform much better in darker conditions.
With its great features however there is some minor points that I've realised whilst using it, because of its multi-task capability it can tend to drain the performance slightly if you end up using loads of different apps, this is probably down to some of the apps not closing completely once you quit out of it, whether because they've been programmed to remember your last action or not been programmed to actually close completely, it's got to be remembered that most of these apps are third-party, therefore they haven't exactly been programmed for optimal performance. A method that could be used is to either download a task manager for the phone, or just restart the phone, very rarely have I needed to do this though.
Overall, being quite fussy about buying what I think is the best available for what I want it to do, I am very happy with the hTC Hero, and would chose nothing else over this at this moment in time.
Official Xbox 360 Wireless Controller - White
When I first started using this controller it took some time to get used to, say about a month or two to fully feel natural using it, just like with any new gadget.
Definitely one of my preferred controllers, and also use it for PC games with the adaptor bought separately.
One criticism I would have of this controller, is the D-Pad, it tends to feel a bit loose and doesn't always feel as when you press a direction that it is actually being recorded, although it generally does what I need it to do, to me it just doesn't seem perfectly stabilised. Out of the 4 controllers I've bought they all do this, except for the 1 I received with the actual X360 itself.