Unlike the Kickflip, elegance in motion, the Hero is big and bulky in your hands. However, for all you high-tech lovers out there this phone will be quite a delight. The Pantech Helio Hero slider phone measuring at 4.3 by 1.9 by 1.0 and weight at 4.73 ounces definitely does not fall into the slim category. The Pantech Hero with its 2.2 in 262,000-color 240 x 320 resolution LCD, twin-domed shaped speakers, built in flash, 2.2 mega pixel camera, bold camera lens assembly, and flashing navigation keys make quite a technological impression. The five-way navigational mouse is easy enough to use and the usual soft and talk/end keys are on the left and right hand side of the five-way navigational mouse, while the back control is just beneath. On the right edge of the Hero is a slot for the TransFlash memory card, covered by a hard plastic flap, while dedicated volume level, voice memo and camera buttons sit on the left edge. Unfortunately, while the volume control pulls up the phone?s various volume settings, it will not increase or decrease the phones volume while you’re in a call. Instead, you must tap the mouse, which can be awkward while trying to chat, while on a call. Finally, the one-touch video and music buttons flank the LCD up near the top of the phone. The cool video-out port we found on the Kickflip can no longer be found on the Hero , however.
The dual-mode Hero (800/1900 EV-DO) comes with most standard calling features you’d expect, including a speakerphone, voice memos, and three-way calling. However, there’s no voice calling capabilities, and conference calls are difficult to switch back and forth between callers, plus you can?t hang up on one caller without losing both calls, which is a bummer. There’s also no Bluetooth capability, which means you can’t make calls with a wireless headset. That?s seems odd for the Hero to be only compatible to 2.5mm wireless headset, especially when Bluetooth is so popular now a days. The Hero’s address book holds only 500 contacts, compared to 1,200 on the Kickflip, but you can wirelessly sync your PIM info at Helio?s Web e-mail site, or with the upcoming PC sync utility, which should be ready in a few weeks, according to a Helio rep. As with the Helio Kickflip, the messaging options on the Hero could be better. You can send text and picture messages via SMS or MMS, but there?s no support for POP or IMAP e-mail, and there?s no on-board IM client. There are links to various e-mail services ?such as Yahoo Mail and Helios?s own e-mail service ?in the Hero’s WAP browser, but you can easily access those from any WAP-enabled handset, which makes the web-technology in the phone mediocre.
An interesting feature in the Hero is its ability to “gift” or “beg” for games, videos, and apps (a feature also found on the Kickflip). See a video that a Helio buddy might like? Just click Gift and enter their phone number to send it to them ?or, by the same token, click Beg and ask a friend to please send you that cool new 3D shooter that they have. Even better, both the Hero and the Kickflip lets you rent games for 99 cents a week ?a great way to test-drive a game before plunking down five or six bucks, which is a gamers dream.
We at accessorygeeks.com tested the Hero in Walnut, Ca. Calls made by the Pantech Hero sounded loud, crisp and clear, plus our buddies on the other end said they could hear us loud and clear. Though the Hero’s speakerphone sounded a bit tinny compared to the Kickflip, the battery life on the Hero was considerably better than the Kickflip. The Hero produced 4hours of talk time and 6 days of standby time compared to its predecessor the Kickflip, which generated a talk time of 2.75 hours and standby time of 3.5 days. The backlight displays a cool bluish color, which looks sick in a clear protective case. It?s especially eye-catching at nights. Speaking of protective cases, though the phone is bulky the durability of the phone with time will diminish. It?s recommended to protect you LCD with a screen protector of sorts and keep your phone looking the same as the day you bought it.
Overall the bulky high-tech looking Hero Slider suffers from the same problems that plagued the Kickflip limited messaging options, no Bluetooth, a sub-par 2MP camera, lackluster calling features and weak multimedia content from Helio?s mobile storefront. However, even with numerous problems that still has not been addressed with Helios?s second cellular edition, the ability to gift, beg, rent content and the Hero’s myspace integration alone provides a more positive outlook for the Helio Hero/Pantech 8300.