Let’s make this clear right away – the HTC Legend is one of the funkiest smartphones yet. Beginning a review by praising a product doesn’t feel very objective, but then again a product is only very rarely worth it, so credit should be given when due. The HTC Hero hasn’t received quite as much attention as some of its big brothers in HTC’s lineup, but there is a lot to like with the Legend.
Its design borrows a lot from its predecessor Hero, but has a much more appealing shape. And it’s indeed on the outside that the major updates can be found – just like certain quality laptops, this handset’s casing is carved from a solid block of aluminum. Battery, SIM and memory card all feed into the bottom of the phone, where the only plastic parts are located. The slightly curved bottom side reveals that this is a direct successor to last year's popular Hero, although improved in almost every respect.
Some areas around the phone, including the one around the camera, have been rubber coated to provide a better grip, and it looks pretty good too. The all-aluminum casing stands out in more ways than just its eye-catching design –Legend is one of the most robust and well-built smartphones on the market. Its exceptional build quality in combination with a stunning 3.2-inch touch-sensitive OLED display makes it feel like a high-end device – without being for overly expensive for that matter. The OLED display delivers vibrant colors to make photos, websites and videos jump right out of the screen.
HTC has equipped Legend with Android 2.1 and put his own Sense interface on top. The result is a user experience that’s not only fast and efficient, but also highly functional as well as visually appealing; with nice animations, screen transitions and other visual eye candy. It is basically the same as previous versions of the Sense UI, but full of minor updates.
For example, you can now zoom out from the home screen to get an overview of the seven startup screens. These can in turn play with lots of new custom Sense widgets. One of them is Friendstream, which collects updates from all your social networks and displays them in one place.
The web browser has also been given a small makeover. There is now a practical feature to select text, translate it or look up the highlighted words. As usual, the phone book is tightly integrated with your social networks and this has also been given some minor improvements.
HTC has finally upgraded its otherwise mediocre camera from the older versions with an LED flash, and the camera itself also seems to be an improvement compared to the Hero variant. However, don’t expect miracles from this camera – it won’t give you good results without sufficient ambient lighting, and even then it’s far from perfect.
Otherwise, the CPU and the slightly smaller screen is what separates Legend from its big brother Desire. The slower 600MHz processor is not as snappy the 1GHz Snapdragon CPU. On the other hand, this is not by any means a slow smartphone, and it’s much faster overall than its predecessor Hero, which was only 72 MHz slower. The engineers at HTC have apparently worked hard to make the Legend run efficiently with Android and Sense.
So how about battery life, you ask? Well, if you frequently make use of all the features in the HTC Legend you will have to charge it on a daily basis, but that is to be expected with a handset like this one. To summarize, we’re talking about a world-class smartphone – both inside and out, and all this comes at a very attractive price point. The HTC Legend will most definitely live up to its name.
Dimensions: 56.3 x 112 x 11.5mm
Bands: Quad-band GSM, WCDMA (HSDPA)
Screen: 3.2 inch, 480x320 pixels, capacitive touch, non-conductive
Talk time: 8h
Standby time: 560h
Memory: 385 MB, Micro SD card slot
Camera: 5 megapixels, LED flash
Others: GPS, WLAN, FM radio