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In the past I’ve bought new phones and then purchased the ubiquitous case and various other accessories, only to end up not using them. Therefore, for my HTC Hero, I’ve been more careful.

Here’s what I’ve found.

Case

Black Gel Case

Black Gel Case

You can get some lovely leather, opening cases for the Hero but I had something similar for my N95 and the inconvenience of having to keep opening and closing a flag that needs securing each time was, well, not worth it. And you look stupid when taking a call.

Having got a cheap, rubber “skin” case for my daughters Tocco Lite, I thought I’d get something similar. I bought a colour-coded (well, transparent but with a blackish hue)  “gel” case from eBay for the grand total of £2.90 (including postage). And it’s.. ok. It’s not like the more rubbery case of my daughters (with that it covers the buttons and you press them through the case, hence why it needs to be quite flexible) but it a harder material. It protects well but collects dust and crumbs quite easily.

Click the thumbnail to the right to see it a little clearer.

Screen Protectors

Again, I bought some screen protectors for my daughters phone. I got 10 and they were cheap from eBay. What I found was that your finger doesn’t glide over them as well as they did over the screen. Over time it gets better (probably as the grease from your finger penetrates the plastic).

However, it did mean that I made the decision to get some better quality ones for my Hero. HTC make “official” screen protectors, named the “SP P260”. Play.com sell them for £4.99 for 2. The price is high but it fitted well and felt good under the finger in use (in fact it’s difficult to tell that I’ve got one fitted). A definite recommendation.

Memory Card

The HTC Hero takes SD/SDHC Micro cards. It actually comes with a Sandisk 2GB card which, I believe, is class 2 (the slowest type of card). Now, what speed card you need seems to be a bit of an unknown quantity – some people on forums it makes a speed difference, others say different. Certainly, it seems likely that when Android can run applications from the SD card, then this will make a difference.

Looking at prices, 8GB is the best current price-point – you pay quite a premium to buy 16GB.

Initially I purchased a card from 7dayshop, who have been reliable in the past. Unfortunately, after 1.5 weeks they still hadn’t despatched my order. I contacted them and they said..

your order has been processed and will be dispatched shortly. Unfortunatly we are very busy at this time. Apologies for any inconvenience

Busy? What’s higher on their “to do list” than processing customer orders? Poor.

After waiting another half a week I contacted them and asked them to cancel my order. They did but I’m still awaiting my refund.

I did some further searching and came across ZoomBits (formerly MemoryBits). From them I purchased a Transcend 8GB Micro SDHC Class 6 card for £16.05. It was despatched the next day.

Car Charger

Although the USB connector on the HTC Hero looks to be specific to the device it is, in fact, a standard micro USB connection. Therefore any USB cable can be used for charging, and a search on eBay will show many USB chargers that plug into a car cigarette lighter – all you need to do is provide the requisite cable.

And, to be honest, you may already have one – my TomTom uses the same USB connector so I can charger my Hero with the car charger for that.

Docking Cradle

A docking cradle can be an ideal way to neatly charge and syncronise your phone. There appears to be 2 types available – an “official” HTC version (which is a flat black panel on which the phone sits vertically – very stylish but expensive) and a small, cheap one (eBay is a good place to look).

The latter appears to be in 2 different (but subtle designs) – one seems to rely on the USB connector to keep the phone vertical, whereas another has clear plastic “mounts” to hold it into place – the latter appears to me to be the best but is harder to get hold of.

I decided against any. The battery in the Hero is, let’s be honest, rubbish and so it needs a charge each night – I just use the mains charger to do this. During the day, at work, it sits next to me at my desk. It doesn’t need charging and, for security reasons, I can’t connect it to my PC to synchronise (not that I use the software).

Besides, would they work with the case fitted?