I've had the original Samsung Instinct for a while, and almost every day of that time I've wished it was better in some way. I never was able to get it to access my work email. It doesn't have Wifi. MicroSD card support is limited to 4gb, and the included apps are "barely" better than what you would find on a phone from 2001.
Today was the "official" release date for the HTC Hero, and I was at my local Sprint store when the doors opened to get mine. I've had it for a few hours now, and without looking in a manual did succeed in:
- getting it set up with my home WiFi,
- adding 4 email accounts including gmail, AOL, and one from work,
- downloading and installing two free games from the Android App Store.
- installing a 16gb microSD-HC card in it for access to every song I own.
- pairing it with my favorite stereo bluetooth headphone.
- removing the NFL and Nascar apps I'll never use from the home screen.
While these tasks were not intuitively easy, they were at least there to stumble through with a good chance of success. The UI is smooth. Touch response is quick where it needs to be, but not always where you want it to be. Build quality is good. The back panel comes off easily to reveal the removable battery and microSD slot.
I've got my Hero charging up, and intend on running all the media apps through their paces. Keep watching for a more in-depth review.