Check the back of your Sprint HTC Hero, does it say 'with Google' or 'HTC'? Our version simply says, 'HTC' but some users on the Sprint Users forum are reporting that they have the 'with Google' branding (like the picture above). Some pictures of the box also shows the 'with Google' branding which strikes us as odd considering earlier reports indicated that HTC Sense would not available on 'with Google' aka Google experience phones.
No one really knows why there is 'with Google' branding on the HTC Hero but there are a couple user theories floating around. Some users are postulating that Hero's without Google branding were manufactured earlier and those with the 'with Google' branding were added later (this makes the most sense). Some users are even saying that those without Google branding are stuck with EV-DO Rev. 0 and those with Google have EV-DO Rev. A. Rev A has slightly faster download speeds and significantly faster upload speeds than Rev 0. The HTC Hero was marketed with EV-DO Rev. A.
To check when your Hero was manufactured, open up the dialer and punch in ##786# to get Reverse Logistics open and scroll down to the Manufacturer's Date. The date will be listed in the d/m/y format. To see which EV-DO you're connected to go to Settings > About Phone > Status > Mobile Network Type. We're not certain there's an actual difference between Hero's branded as 'with Google' and those without but if we're all using EV-DO Rev. 0, that's alarming.
Our Hero at Android Central does not have the 'with Google' logo, was manufactured on 4/9/2009 (Sept. 4, 2009), and currently reads EV-DO Rev. 0.
What about yours?
Update: According to Sprint, the Rev. 0 issue is a mere visual display bug. Even though your Hero says you're connected to EV-DO Rev. 0 and only EV-DO Rev. 0, if you live in an EV-DO Rev. A area, you'll be connected to that Rev. A network no matter what the phone says. We'll have to take their word for it and hope this visual display bug gets fixed in the future!
a big thanks to Andrew Starr & tom for the tip and the Sprint Users forum for the info!