By March 10, 2010

HTC Legend Review

HTC Legend ReviewTo say we were excited to get the HTC Legend was an understatement! The Legend is the first of four devices officially announced by HTC at mobile world congress and we have been lucky to get our hands on it fairly swiftly. The HTC Desire, HD Mini and Smart are to follow shortly.

As expected with all new HTC devices the media has been buzzing like mad about the Legend and rightly so. As a follow on from the HTC Hero, the Legend, still sporting a chin, is going to be a hugely popular device and chances are that if you are reading this you will more than likely be interested in getting the Legend.

With its sleek unibody design with a brilliant AMOLED display and a brushed metallic finish, the Legend  is an attractive handset.

Lets have a look at it in a bit more detail and see if it’s a worthy follow on from the HTC Hero. Read on for the full review.

 

What’s in the Box:

  • Device
  • Battery
  • Wall Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Headphones

If you saw Matt’s HTC Legend unboxing video you will have seen that although our review device is the retail version our box itself was not, hence no software or manuals. Also have a look at Matt’s lengthy Legend demo video.

 

The ten second review:

  • Device: HTC Legend
  • Price: From £379.95
  • Summary: A powerful Android device packing pretty much every feature you could want on a mobile (apart from a hardware keyboard!)
  • Best of: Sense UI, Android, Social Networking, Landscape Keyboard
  • Worst of: No front facing camera
  • Buy it now from: Various Sources

 

Legend_Front&back&side

 

 

HTC Legend Specification:

  • Weight: 126 grams (4.44 ounces) with battery
  • CPU: 600 MHz 7227
  • Battery type: Rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer or Lithium-ion battery
  • Capacity: 1300 mAh
  • Talk time: GSM: Up to 490 mins
  • Standby time: GSM: Up to 440 hours
  • Camera: 5 megapixel, Auto focus and flash
  • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • Standard micro-USB
  • G-Sensor
  • Digital compass
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Facebook integration
  • Friend Stream
  • Photo sharing on Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter
  • Video sharing on YouTubeT
  • HTC Peep for twittering
  • Display: AMOLED capacitive touch screen with pinch-to-zoom capability
  • Size: 3.2 inches
  • Resolution: 320 X 480 HVGA
  • Operating System: Android 2.1 (Éclair) with HTC Sense
  • ROM: 512 MB  RAM: 384 MB
  • microSD memory card (SD 2.0 compatible) Supports up to 32 GB
  • HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • 3G: Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed / Up to 2 Mbps upload speed
  • Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Tethering: Internet sharing through USB
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
  • FM Radio
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • Google Maps
  • HTC Footprints

 

 

General:

On the top side of the HTC Legend is the 3.5mm headset jack along with the power button.

HTC Legend Review-top

HTC Legend Top

The left side of the handset only has the up/down volume rocker present.

Legend-left

HTC Legend Left Side

The right side is bare and feels silky smooth!

Legend-right

HTC Legend Right Side

Located on the rear of the device is the camera lens and flash. Below them is a HTC logo which is nice and shiny. It looks beautiful sat on top of the satin finished aluminium.

Legend-back

HTC Legend Rear

As you would expect, the front of the Legend is where the action happens. On the top is the ear speaker grill. Below the AMOLED screen are the four action buttons and under those is the new optical trackpad.

Legend-front

HTC Legend Front

 

 

 

Highlights:

  • Sense UI
  • AMOLED Screen
  • WiFi, 3G, GPS
  • Scenes
  • Android Market

 

Lowlights:

  • No front facing camera
  • No dedicated camera button

 

 

Review:

The HTC Legend is so pretty and shiny it almost needs a sound effect when opening the box for the first time. Its a fantastic looking device but once in the hand it feels even nicer than it looks! The aluminium shell has a kind of satin finish to it and in my opinion it really feels like a premium device. With only two small areas on the back of the handset being plastic the HTC Legend is rock solid. Although I would not want to drop the device for fear of scratching the screen, the Legend has been designed to withstand a good knock and that sturdiness can really be felt throughout the device.

 

Legend-angled-left

 

Legend_Back-1 Legend-camera

I mentioned above about the two pieces of plastic on the rear of the device. As you will see in the photos below, the bottom one is a removable cover. As the Legend is made of just one piece of Aluminium there is not a traditional back cover to slide off.  Instead you need to remove the bottom segment of plastic and this will give you access to the SIM card, MicroSD card slot and the battery. It was a bit odd doing it for the first time. The sliding mechanics to get the battery out work smoothly and once you have done it, its a piece of cake. Very clever HTC.

Legend-back-cover Legend-battery-compartment

 

Legend_key

The Legend is the first HTC device to come equipped with their new optical track pad instead of the more traditional track ball found on the HTC Hero and Nexus One. This new gadget works seamlessly and also adds to the Legends high class appearance. A great advancement.

 

DSCF2162 DSCF2163

I mentioned in the intro that the Legend is the follow on from the Hero. Its more of an natural progression really and as you can see the two devices do have similarities but also some nice differences. Size wise they are much the same with the Legend being about 3mm thinner. Although the Legend is made from that beautiful Aluminium, HTC have managed to shave 9gms of its weight. The Legend still has that ‘chin’ from the Hero and although they are both pretty much the same shape the chin appears to be less prominent on the Legend.

Another obvious difference is the hardware buttons. The Hero has an extra two on its front. HTC decided this time around that the Legend did not require hardware call send and end keys so these actions are now done onscreen.

The screens on the two devices are also different. The Hero has a 65k colour TFT capacitive touch screen and now HTC have upgraded the Legend screen to 16 million colour AMOLED. And man, is the new screen nice. I was impressed with Samsungs new screen last year and now HTC have made the change there is a real difference between the old and the new. The screen on the Legend is so bright and the colours almost jump out. Its flaming gorgeous!

Other changes from the Hero include some extra RAM, now 384, USB connection is now MicroUSB, upgraded processor, FM stereo, and a camera flash.

Legend-Hero4

 Legend-Hero5

 

Moving onto the software, the first thing I wanted to show you is the HTC Legends lock screen. Although this lock screen is not new it is attractive and the slide of the bar downwards is super sleek. As you can see the lock screen gives you a little information such as the time and date. My only critism is that it would be nice to see some other notifications such as emails.

 

lockscreen

Matt mentioned in his demo video that the HTC Legend has ‘scenes’. To cut a long story short this means you can have numerous different layouts and customisation of the seven homescreens of which each of these are a ‘scene’.

 

scenes

So below, for example, the scene on the left could be a work scene and the seven homescreens would be set up with widgets that you may use at work. Once the working day is over you can switch to another scene, like the one on the right and this could be set up with the widgets and shortcuts you may use at home.

The scenes are a nice feature. Not one I would use personally but I’m sure plenty of users would.

work-scene-home homescreen

Another new feature with this latest version of HTC Sense is ‘Leap’ or helicopter view as its also known. The theory behind Leap is that with seven homescreens it can sometimes be a little time consuming to scroll to the one you want. Now with a single click of the home button the Legend will show you all seven homescreens on one page and you can press the one you wish to jump to. If you don’t fancy pressing the home key just give the screen a pinch and Leap will appear. A fantastic little addition.

 

The web browser on the HTC Legend is a real joy to use in both portrait and landscape. With pinch to zoom available, browsing on the Legend is a very similar experience to on the iPhone but in my opinion better and here is why. On the Legend, no matter how far in you zoom the text will be re aligned to fit the page and this is a feature that I find truly great. The iPhone does not do this and requires moving the screen to read a full sentence if you have zoomed in. Nice work HTC.

Most other things on the browser are straight forward, such as setting bookmarks, viewing history and tweaking the settings. Another feature that I loved was text selection. If you need to copy text from a web page its a joy to use.

You really do get the full web experience on the Legend, however if you do prefer you can change the settings to mobile view which is a bit more phone friendly. Both look marvellous!

 

browser-landscape

 

browser-portrait

HTC Sense is all about a friendly and fast interface and so one of the widgets available is browser bookmarks. As you can see, you can add several bookmarks and you will see an actual screen shot of that particular site . So depending which screen you have the widget on, you can be on your favourite web pages within as little as two screen presses/swipes. Its nice to look at too!

bookmarks

 

 

Email is another area that the HTC Legend excels in. Building upon the already excellent email support within Android 2.1 HTC have added another layer of customisation to the email client. I wont go in to detail about the GMail client as this is exactly the same as all other Android devices but lets talk about the main email client.

 sms-widget

First of all there’s full Exchange Active Sync support as well as POP3 and IMAP so virtually all email servers will be accommodated. Setting up a new email account is a breeze. Taking Exchange for example, the questions are pretty straight forward, username and password, email server address and domain name are all that needs to be filled out to get the connection set up. You’ll also then be asked whether you want to sync Calendar, Contacts and tasks on top of email.

By default the Exchange email will be set to sync as items arrive but this schedule can be altered to sync between every 5 minutes and every few hours, or manually.

So what have HTC added I hear you ask. Well starting with the email client itself a number of tabs have been added to the main view. The first tab is the main ‘inbox’ view where all mail will be displayed.

emailview

Next there’s the threaded email view, ‘conversations’, a nice addition allowing you to see whole conversations in one place.

conversation-view

Then we have ‘VIP Group’, a nice idea I think. This shows only email from contacts that you have flagged as VIP. I found this quite useful as I flagged other members of the tracyandmatt team as VIP’s so that their messages appeared there only. A good idea to add your boss, wife of girlfriend to the VIP group. Don’t add your wife AND girlfriend though!

Next is another important tab, unread. Just as the name suggests, only unread email is shown here. A pretty simple thing but this is something that no other mobile email client has as far as I know?

Flagged or marked messages are next so anything you flag for follow up or as important are shown here.

Lastly there’s the attachments tab. Here you just see email with attachments. Another good idea this as I for one frequently scour though messages looking for that one with an attachment that I need to read.

So those are the basic tabs at the bottom. The actual email views remain much the same between each tab. Unread messages in the inbox are marked with a green tab and the subject is shown in bold.

 

So that’s the fundamentals of the email client itself. The other aspect of email is the use of Widgets. I have to say, anyone that likes to customise their device with the use of widgets will be in heaven with the Legend!

There are three different styles of email widget to choose from.

 email-type1email-type2 email-type3

Starting with the email preview type, the latest message is displayed on the screen in a preview format along with the senders details and, if available, their contact photo. This format is more like the email views that we see in TouchFlo3D. I’d say it’s probably ok for someone that doesn’t get a lot of email but for anyone that has anything sensitive emailed to them it’s probably a no-no.

The other two widget types are similar. Both give you a list view of your inbox items and show you the read/unread status as well as who they are from and the subject. The third type expands on this by adding the contact photo of the sender and the first few lines of the message.

Personally I think that the second widget style is most suitable for business use as it gives you the info that you need whilst still remaining discreet.

 

Another area to receive the customisation treatment from HTC is the calendar. I’m pleased to see that HTC have taken some time to think about how people interact with and use the calendar, indeed I’m pleased that Exchange calendar sync is included at all as that is missing from the Nexus One completely.

So HTC have customised the calendar app. not only is there the ability to see a whole month, with appointments indicated in green on the relevant days, but there’s also an agenda view. The agenda view is pretty useful, it lists all of your appointments in order as well as using colour codes for business and personal appointments. This view shows only appointments that are coming up and thus avoids showing you days where you have nothing scheduled.

calendarcalendar-widget

HTC have also included several calendar widgets for you to choose from to adorn your ‘desktop’. To begin with you can have a classic month view where each day with an appointment is marked with a small triangle in the corner.

calendar-month

Next up is the agenda view. Once again this is a full-screen widget that lists your upcoming appointments, allows you to scroll through your agenda and colours the entries depending on whether they are work or personal events.

calendar-agenda

The final calendar type is a small ‘ribbon’ which simply shows the next appointment that you have. This is possibly more useful for those people that do not have dozens of appointments. The advantage of this style is that it doesn’t take up a great deal of room and allows you to have other widgets or shortcuts on the same page where the other styles take up a full screen on their own.

calendar-ribbon

 

 

Onto the HTC Legends keyboard. I would say that I have average size hands so the ease of which I can type on these onscreen keyboards is a fairly good indication if it will suit you. The keyboard interface looks much the same as on other recent HTC devices and its certainly one of the best out there. With its 3.2 inch screen you must also bare in mind that the Legend is not a big handset and typing will not be as easy on a device such as the Nexus One which has a 3.7 inch screen. However, I was more than happy with the Legends keyboard. After a couple of days use with the Legend I could type pretty much mistake free, one handed in portrait mode but I hate doing this. I am a two thumb type of guy and luckily on the Legend you can rotate the screen on every app where you need to type, giving you the option to use the bigger keyboard. Before I got the Legend I thought that the chin may he a slight hindrance but how wrong I was. It actually feels great and typing feels very natural. As with previous HTC handsets you have two options for inserting a number or symbol. First one is to press the key on the bottom row with 12# on it. This gives you access to all the numbers and symbols. The second option is to press the letter key which has the number or symbol greyed out and hold it. Initially the letter appears on screen but if you keep the letter key pressed for about three seconds the symbol will appear instead. Nice if you are just adding a single number or symbol.

 

landscape-qwerty

 

portrait-qwerty

The capacitive screen is extremely sensitive and using the phone dialler is a piece of cake. The numbers are a decent size and I would say this feature is pretty much perfect. As you will see in the image below, when you press the numbers the contacts will appear in the top part of the screen. You will also notice that the contact photos on the screen shot all have a facebook logo on them. The Legend retrieves these contacts and their phone numbers from the Facebook application and integrates to your contact list. That’s sweet.

 

phonedialer

As you would have seen on the homescreen screen shots, the HTC Legend has the option to have different styles of clock on it. Which ever one you choose you can press it and you will be taken to the desk clock application seen below. Here you have four other options within the app. World clock: where you can add loads of different cities. Handy if you travel or have friends overseas. Alarms: Straight forward and much the same as on all HTC devices. Stopwatch and a timer. ( I used it for cooking and didn’t burn anything!)

You will also see that the weather is integrated into the desk clock. Handy I suppose if you cant see out the window!

Under the weather conditions are two tabs. If the Legend is maybe sitting on your desk and you just want it to show the time, then these tabs will allow for both a day and night mode. It wont be long until an official desk cradle is released so this will be great for having a bedside clock next to you if required. See demo video.

 

deskclock

One application that is brand new to this version of Sense UI is FriendStream. This integrates all your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr into one stream, hence the name!

You can either have a FriendStream widget (like the one below on the left) which will let you scroll through updates on the homescreen, or alternatively you can click the widget to be taken into the application itself (pictured on the right).

It seems to work very well. You can send updates from the app, look at photos and also links. HTC have one a fantastic job with FriendStream and I’m sure it will be around for a very long time. I tended not to use it but that’s just because I like to keep my apps separate. Fortunately with the Legend it will multi task (unlike the iPhone) so i could have both the Facebook and Twitter apps running in the background.

friendstream-widget friendstream-app

facebook peep

And above you can see the for mentioned apps. On the left is Facebook which if you are currently an Android user you will be familiar with. If your not familiar with it, it is much the same as on the other platforms. I would say it is most like the iPhone Facebook app in terms of appearance. Its a joy to use. I couldn’t seem to get notifications to work though. Maybe it doesn’t support them?

HTCs own Twitter application , Peep,  is present on the Legend and its a great little app. There are plenty of other twitter apps in the Android Market but for every day use with a single account Peep is more than adequate and the interface is both user friendly and aesthetic.

Like on the other HTC phones running Sense UI there is a fantastic weather application. The application can appear on a homescreen as a widget and will show you the information you require. Below is the full forecast option and as you can see this takes up most of the screen.

weather-widget

In addition there are two smaller widgets which show less information. Like most things on Android everything can be customised to suit your particular requirements.

 

 weather2weather3

Bt clicking on the weather widget it will take you to the full application. Here you do not see any more information than on the big weather widget but it will allow you to view numerous locations that can be added. These are accessed by a simple swipe up or down. You can see in the image below that on the right hand side it says 1 of 7. This is seven different cities around the world.

 weather

With GPS built in, the HTC Legend will ensure you don’t get lost. Google Maps are pre loaded and it seems to work fine. Its a shame multi touch is not supported in the mapping applications but I suppose we cant have everything. I was not able to test out any voice guided navigation in the time we had the Legend but I am sure it would run seamlessly like on other Android devices.

maps

 

The Android Market also comes pre installed. I was rather impressed. I do own an Android device, the T-Mobile Pulse, although it very rarely gets turned on, and my experience of Android Market has not been the best. However, the first time I loaded it on the Legend I thought to myself ‘Wow, this is better’. I think the AMOLED screen helped as the Marketplace looked great and better than it had looked a few months ago when I last used it. I was able to quickly find some apps I wanted and most were very similar to ones I use on my iPod Touch. Game play was great and I was as happy using the Legend as I am on my iPod. I’m warming to this Android gubbins!

 

market

 

If you are into news feeds then do not fear as the Legend has a RSS Feeder. You may have seen Matt showing this in the demo video. I’m not into RSS Feeds but I know lots of people are. If you don’t like this particular version there are others you can download from the Marketplace. I just checked!

 

news-rss

 

Lets take a look at some media on the device. The music player is great. The interface is simple to use but attractive. As you can see, the album artwork is displayed which adds to its looks. When Matt did the screen shot he was listening to Aerosmith. My number one choice to test the music player was KISS and they sounded fantastic. The supplied earphones with the Legend are typical HTC ones and not very comfortable. They do however produce a good quality sound although you may want to use your own ones!

I tested out the radio and after a quick scan the Legend picked up loads of stations. In particular I loved the way I could drag the frequency bar from left to right as well as pressing the forward and back buttons. The device also has a built in voice recorder. Not much to say about that. It records voice!

nowplaying radiovoicerecorder

The media files you have on the device are presented in an Album menu as seen below.

photos

 

If you have enough money and want to keep an eye on your shares then the Legend has a Stocks app. Unfortunately I am not that rich so I have not got a clue about the app!

stocks

All smartphones these days come with a YouTube player and the HTC Legend is no different. The interface is really nice with the black background and the screen shot below does not do it justice. The AMOLED screen is amazing. The video quality is well above average.

youtube

 

Transferring files to the HTC Legend is simple pimple. The easiest way is by USB and once the device is plugged in it will ask you which of the below options you require.

USB-modes

 

And last but not least the camera. At 5 mega pixel the Legend should take reasonable shots and guess what, it does. The camera interface is very straight forward. The only thing I would have liked which is not present is a dedicated camera key. Instead, to take a photo you must press the optical track pad. It works but a camera key would feel better. As you can see below, (Chewbacca) when using the camera indoors the picture is a little grainy but not too bad. Outdoors it was fine. The flash is pretty good and in total darkness the picture came out well (Chewing Gum). What’s really odd is that both the subjects contain the word ‘chew’ which I didn’t realise until I had already included them in the review. It must be my Jedi powers!

 

IMAG0013[1] IMAG0005

Conclusion:

Overall the HTC Legend is as good as I thought it would be. It may not suit everyone due to its size but for those of you that have big hands then the HTC Desire will be with us soon. It seems to do everything very well and with great ease. I love the new features in Sense UI and I’m sure these will get even better in time. With Windows Phone 7 Series being launched later in the year and manufactures not being allowed to customise the user interface HTC can concentrate on their Android devices. What ever happens, if I had to use the Legend for the next year I would be more than happy to. Another Stirling job HTC. Good on ya!

Review by: James

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: ,

About the Author:

Five year veteran of the site. BlackBerry specialist, but experienced in most operating systems. Enjoys flower arranging and cross stitch.
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