Helio Heat Hands-Burned

The Heat is the second device from Helio that I’ve had the opportunity to try. Like the Drift, the Heat is manufactured by Samsung and imbued with all sorts of Helio specifics. Although the Heat retains GPS with buddy beacons, the most distinctive feature of the Drift, it has a lower price point and reduced features.

Helio’s Heat does, however, show off a much prettier face. It features a highly responsive electrostatic touchpad on its front. I was wary or this addition at first, but after a little while using it, I got the hang of the buttons. It works better to drag your finger across the buttons rather than tapping them. After you’ve gotten that part down, you can better admire the gloss black exterior.

Gloss black comes at a price though — it shows every smudge, fingerprint, or whatever else manages to get on it. So I’d expect to be wiping it on your shirt pretty frequently.

The device carries a 1.3-megapixel camera, which is a slight reduction from the Drift’s 2.0-megapixel cam. This really isn’t an issue to me, but I guess there are some people who might bemoan it. I’ve never considered cameras on phones to be good for anything other than taking a profile picture for contacts. For that, the camera available on the Heat is more than ample.

Also available on the device is EV-DO and it’s as fast as ever. Browsing Helio’s media features was a breeze and I was quite happy with it. It steps up the internal memory from 128MB to 136MB, so it’s, perhaps, slightly more conducive to storing music from Helio’s music store.

I walked around New Orleans with the phone this past weekend, giving it the walkabout test. Signal strength was strong and voice quality was clear and consistent going both ways. In conversations with friends I heard them loud and clear and they assessed my voice as bearing similar levels of clarity.

Sliders are becoming more and more available, but they still manage to draw Ooos and Aaaas — at least in New Orleans. It is my impression that this was the main intention of the Heat. It is definitely a more aesthetic phone device than most other phones out there. I was queried several times about what type of phone I was using.

Admittedly, I had underestimated Helio’s popularity. While I’m a big fan and have reviewed it favorably in the past, I wasn’t aware that its proliferation was so great. Telling people that I was using a Helio often produced a sort of glazed over elation in the other person’s eyes. It’s apparently really popular amongst the kids.

Helio remains the only MVNO that I’ve had any success with. It consistently releases hip devices and has branded itself in such a way as to draw considerable appeal throughout the early-adopting demographic. With the Heat comes a reduction in its line of cellular devices, but it also increases its cool factor.

The Heat is a solid little device with a very pretty face. Equally attractive is its $150 price ($100 if purchased before March 12). I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a decent pocket phone. It can’t do much by way of advanced functions like e-mail and such, but that’s not what it’s intended to do. It’s intended to be cool device from the coolest new wireless provider. In that goal, I believe it’s succeeded quite well.