By April 21, 2010

Review: HTC Legend

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In the last month HTC have pumped out a couple of rather high end devices. Whilst the HTC Desire is the flagship, the HTC Legend, an update to the popular Hero, is no slacker. Here we are going take a look at the Legend and see if it’s worth your time.

I reviewed the HTC Hero sometime ago and was quite impressed with it. I can see the attraction of the device and understand why it sold so well. The biggest difference with the Hero is that the Legend is carved from one single block of aluminium. Whilst keeping the identifiable chin, something that some are not fans of, the Legend takes on were the Hero left off with a more stylish form and an even better feel in hand.

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The surround of the device is minimal at best. On top there is an identified power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It seems those days of HTC’s Ext USB port being the ultimate solution are gone, thank god.

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On the left is nothing but a volume rocker. Protruding from the aluminium slightly, the button is tactile and easy to find when your thumb is fumbling around looking for it.

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The bottom of the device sees a removable section of black plastic. As illustrated in the photos below this is the only way into the device and it works quite well. Embedded in the plastic is a microphone hole, Micro USB connector and a notch for a charm or strap.

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The right is a lovely, unbroken length of aluminium.

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The back has something the Hero was without, a flash. Whilst being a bog standard LED flash under the camera it’s a welcome addition. To the left of this is a loud speaker. The large brand of HTC is bragged and at the bottom we also see that the device comes "with HTC Sense", the user interface that separates this and the HTC Desire from other Android phones on the market.

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The front as the gorgeous AMOLED 3.2" capacitive touchscreen. Above this is the ear speaker behind a sexy little, silver grill. Under the screen, and an inexplicable black bar that honestly seems like lost screen real estate, are the four Android buttons. These are proper physical buttons with a good feel to them. I honestly prefer the physical buttons over the like of the Nexus One, if you click it, you know where you stand with it instead of the wait and wonder of if it detected the touch on the Nexus One.

One the the big additions for me is the optical trackpad. It’s lovely, in comparison to the trackball that is the other option when it comes to not using a D-pad. It responsive and very tidy.

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The only way into the device is up the bottom. As intrusive as that sounds it’s remarkably simple. Pull the bottom away, flip open a trap door of sorts and you have access to the battery, SIM card and mircoSD card. It’s a novel method yet a necessity in order to keep from a break the beautifully fashioned Aluminium tubing.

The Legend runs Android v2.1. The latest build bring with it some nice enhancements. Live Wallpapers are particularly attractive, there are a couple of extra screens on the home screen to populate with widgets and shortcuts and the slide in app launcher is more of a popup affair. Voice typing is another addition that most will get a kick out of as well as the 3D photo gallery. It’s a well rounded update and there will be a noticeable jump for those looking to move from the HTC Hero onto the Legend.

In addition to and one of the biggest selling points is the HTC Sense interface. Vibrant and feature rich Sense only enhances your experience with Android. Most companies have some form of overlay to create the allure that the phone is something a little different. Sometimes they work well like here and sometimes they backfire, Blur.

HTC Sense can be set to a different "Scene" to let the phone integrate better into your day to day routine. There are 6 to choose from, Social, Work, Play travel, Clean Slate and HTC. It’s simple and quick to switch the Scene, hitting the menu button on the home screen and selecting the Scene soft button from the menu will bring up the list of all scenes selectable.

Switching it from the well known HTC scene to Social changes the clock, background and widget arrangement across the seven panels. The Work Scene paints another scene with addition clock and stock widgets. I would imagine that most will avoid the pretty horrible Play Scene. It doesn’t really bring much of use to the desktop. Travel seems to rely a little more on media and uses the dual clocks from the Work scene. Clean is pretty much a blank canvas to create your own.

At this point in time there is no option to remove HTC Sense. It can be done by clearing the defaults, forcing stop hitting the Home key and away with it, but it seems to take some of the nicer features of 2.1 with it.
HTC have included some of their nicer home grown applications like Footprints and Peep. It’s good that they are keeping these going outside of the Windows Mobile world however I think most will ignore them and go for Foursquare and a client like Seemic instead. However, most of HTC’s own software come with a widget that may swap people back.

I cannot pass over HTC Sense without mentioning just how fast it runs. HTC must have spent weeks configuring Sense to run so smoothly on the Legend, given the processor is notably slower than the HTC Desire it is astonishing to see that Sense seems completely instantaneous. You hit something and it’s just there, loaded in the blink of an eye.

The camera is a nice tuned 5mp job. Producing functional if not stellar results. I took the camera for a jaunt around the garden trying to task the camera with some busy shots. The one’s with Portia, the cat, are particularly interesting as the were both movement shots and there is no smear. Even in the corners of my garden did the flash and camera perform quite well as it was pitch black. This camera is far superior to the likes of the Acer Liquid and would probably hold it’s own against something on a Nokia or Sony Ericsson.

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HTC’s Legend is a Android at it’s finest. A phone with nothing to mar it, no glaringly obvious faults and above all it’s gorgeous. The screen is obviously smaller than the Nexus One/Desire alternative however screen isn’t everything to everyone. When you hold this device it all becomes clear, the comfort and sexy appeal is evident.

Android has become a fully matured and reliable operating system. It’s fast, stable and clever in it’s execution. Legend’s design fits beautifully around and HTC Sense provides a fluid user interface. This is a phone for you to check out.

Thanks go out to Clove who have supplied us this review device

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Networks – GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 900 / 2100
Size – 112 x 56.3 x 11.5 mm
Weight – 126 g
Display – AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, 320 x 480 pixels, 3.2 inches

Memory – 384 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM, microSD, up to 32GB

Data – GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g

Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP

microUSB v2.0

Camera -5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, Geo-tagging, Video
OS – Android OS v2.1 (Eclair)

CPU – Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz processor

GPS with A-GPS support

– Java 
– Sense UI
– Multi-touch support
– Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
– Optical trackpad
– 3.5 mm audio jack
– Aluminum unibody
– Dedicated search key
– MP3/eAAC+/WAV player
– MP4/H.263/H.264 player
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
– YouTube, Google Talk
– Document viewer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Organizer
– Voice memo
– T9

Battery – 1300 mAh
Talk time – Up to 7 h (2G) / Up to 6 h 10 min (3G)

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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