“The Moments slide-out QWERTY keyboard makes it the superior choice for texters over the solid HTC Hero.”
- Google Android OS; slide-out four-line QWERTY keyboard; quick 800 MHz processor; excellent 3.2MP camera with flash
- Green/grey tinted AMOLED screen; only 3 home screen panels; bulky and heavy; microSD card slot buried behind battery
If you are a Sprint subscriber seeking an Android smartphone, or are looking to switch from another cell phone carrier, you suddenly have two Android handset options to choose from: The HTC Hero and, now, the Samsung Moment. Even though both run Google’s open-source operating system, however, the two phones are quite different. Happily, the Moment includes three features to recommend it over the Hero: A slide-out QWERTY keyboard, an AMOLED display and a speedy 800 MHz processor. The big question, though – just how much does this trio of handy additions give the Moment an edge over the Hero?
Features and Design
Let’s expand upon the Samsung Moment’s three primary plusses over the HTC Hero.
Theoretically, the Moment’s 3.2-inch 320×480 AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) is supposed to be brighter and save on battery life. But neither is true, at least compared to the same-sized LCD on the Hero. In practice, the Moment’s screen tints towards greenish-grey, making faces look jaundiced, and white backgrounds on Web pages are dirty gray compared the egg-white background characteristic of Web pages displayed on the Hero.
However, instead of a three-line slide-out QWERTY keypad (as on the Motorola Cliq), the Samsung Moment’s keyboard is a four-line model, which means there’s a hugely convenient dedicated line of numbers. Thanks to its 800 MHz processor, the Moment also performs all tasks a few seconds faster than the often sluggish Hero.
Then again, since the Hero lacks a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, it’s smaller, lighter and sleeker; the Moment is even bigger than the clunky Cliq. Still, we did prefer the Moment’s control layout, as the Send and End keys are larger and separated from the navigation controls, and the Home, Menu and Back touch buttons are more intuitively arrayed under the touchscreen. We hardly touched the Moment’s optical joystick.
Ports & Connectors
Both the Samsung Moment and the HTC Hero include a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB jack. Alas, the Moment’s microSD is not only under the battery cover (as it is on the Hero), but you also have to annoyingly pop out the battery to slide a memory card in or out.
Audio and Video Features
Unfortunately, the Moment’s AMOLED discoloration effect extends to video too. As noted above, faces look jaundiced and unnatural compared to video from YouTube and Sprint TV displayed on the Hero. Oddly, the Moment doesn’t offer a full frame zoom option as the Hero does. Even though the Moment loads videos and Sprint TV channels a bit faster, videos just look brighter and more natural on the Hero.
Both phones deliver loud and clear conversation. To boost speakerphone and multimedia sound, the Samsung Moment adds a booming mono speaker on the bottom rear.
Curiously, each phone implements the Android operating system in slightly different ways, but nothing that particularly distinguishes one over the other.
Chief among the Moment’s functional advantages over the Hero though are its two extra home screen panels (five vs. three), which give you more room for quick access to running widgets such as music or calendar programs, and for other app shortcuts.
The Moment also offers a larger touch numeric dialpad with round white-on-gray keys, which cause fewer dialing errors.
The slide down notification bar is present on almost all pages and apps on the Moment as well; on the Hero, it often inconveniently disappears, particularly on the browser.
The volume toggle on the Moment also sticks out more, which means it’s easier to discern by feel while you have the phone to your ear.
Mobile Internet and Web Functionality
Thanks to its 800 MHz processor, Web pages load a couple of seconds faster on the Moment, but considering how fast Sprint’s EV-DO Rev. A network is, the difference is barely worth discussing. But, as noted, the Hero’s white backgrounds make text easier to read, although the “large” text choice on the Moment results in larger characters than on the Hero.
Digital Camera Capabilities
Surprisingly, the Samsung Moment includes “only” a 3.2MP digital camera compared with the HTC Hero’s more powerful 5MP imager. But the Moment’s 3.2 camera outperforms Hero’s, plus the Moment adds a welcome flash option.
To wit, the Moment’s photos are sharper, brighter and more colorful, and the flash feature makes indoor shots nearly as impressive. With the flash employed, snaps taken on the Moment are crisper with more realistic and natural color.
The Moment also includes a handy physical camera activation/shutter button that makes it easier to grab a quick shot. Neither the Moment nor Hero, however, include a zoom function.
The Samsung Moment’s rated talk time is “up to” five hours, but in this age of multi-functionality, the question is as follows… Can any Android phone last a whole workday without recharging? And, in this case, how does its battery life compare to closest rival the Hero?
The answer to the first question is yes, with plenty of time to spare. As for the second, comparative question, after a wild ride, the two phones ended on a roughly even plane.
We spent an entire day performing a mix of identical functions simultaneously on both. By the late afternoon, the Hero retained 40 percent of its battery life, while the Moment had just 15 percent left. In a strange twist though, the Moment then stuck on 15 percent as the Hero sank to 10 percent.
When the Moment fell to just 5 percent of juice remaining, its AMOLED screen dimmed to half brightness. Still, at the end of the race, the Moment outlasted the Hero by about half an hour, though the last hour of its battery limit was reached with help from a dimmed screen.
Your choice between the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment ultimately comes down to one factor: The importance of the slide-out QWERTY keypad. If you are a heavy texter/emailer, the Moment’s physical keyboard is far superior to the touch model found on the Hero. If not, the function-specific pros and cons should inform your choice. But either way, whichever you option you prefer, should you be a devout open-source enthusiast who happens to have the option of going with Verzion, know this. It may be worth switching services, as the Motorola Droid is the current reigning king of the Android smartphones, and far eclipses either choice.
- Google Android OS
- Slide-out four-line QWERTY keyboard
- Quick 800 MHz processor
- Excellent 3.2MP camera with flash
- Green/grey tinted AMOLED screen
- Only 3 home screen panels
- Bulky and heavy
- microSD card slot buried behind battery
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