I'm not sure how much the Quaza cores mean anything, we only know they provide them with power and "a sense of justice." Maybe the programmers found out that Quaza assists them in programming ethics somehow, and even then people like Core Hunter and Von Ness found out how to screw that up.
(I'll note here that that may not have been the best choice of words.)
Meaning inorganic. No fleshy bits to speak of.
A Cybertronian is about as alive as a mechanical thing can get. They have a spark which is pretty much the mind/soul of a transformer. Remove the spark, and all you're left with is a dead, mechanical shell.
Heroes (to my knowledge) are relatively the same. The primary difference being that their "soul" is a glowing orange rock as opposed to a fragment of their god's own "soul".
A few things you said in the initial post caught my attention.
These people may be speaking from a physical point of view, and if that is the case, then yes, Heroes are just sentient robots.
Look at your arm. Go ahead, I'll wait. Done? Good. Now, did your arm have the appearance of being entirely made of metal? Is it moved by hydraulic pistons? If it gets hacked off will you feel nothing?
Heroes are nothing like humans, biologically speaking.
You can argue the semantics of "Oh, they're sentient, like humans." "No they're not." all day, but an HF Hero is not an organic being. Ergo, they are not "like humans".
True, but even as soulless nanomachines, they still possessed organic components, and those organic components had to be (biologically) alive in order to exist.
hey you read my mind, but i fell that the heros never acted like the toa we had before more robotic like they are of cource but theirs no personalty. they are more derected to do the job and finish the wave and get ready for next villian/upgrade
on the plus side its my first post on hero factory that i thought about
While I have not watched all the show, all the advertising generally gave the implication that they were just all robots with the Quaza Cores that were essentially enabled advanced A.I's capable of independent thought and personality.
Part of my head canon is that it is the reason why many of them have stereotypical characters and personalities.