HTC has done it again with the Legend, producing a slick, compact and stylish handset that is easy to use thanks to the combination of Android and HTC's own Sense user interface extensions. Apart from the price, which is comparable with many other smartphones, there is very little to fault this device.
Impressive screen; responsive user interface; compact and light.
Screen a little small for text input.
112mm x 56.3mm x 11.5mm, 126g, 3.2in 320 x 480 Amoled display, Android 2.1 (Éclair) with HTC Sense, HSPA and quad-band GSM, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 5-megapixel camera withLED flash, 3.5mm headphone jack, miniUSB port
The HTC Legend is the latest touch-screen handset from HTC to combine the firm's Sense user interface with the Android platform. With a slimline lightweight aluminium casing and a nice bright screen, this is one of the more impressive new smartphones on the market.
Available now from resellers such as Expansys and on Vodafone's network from April, the Legend is more compact than many touch smartphones we have seen, thanks to its smaller 3.2in display, and bears a passing resemblance to Google's Nexus One handset (also manufactured by HTC).
Like the Nexus, the Legend has the latest v2.1 release of Android, but has a 600MHz Qualcomm processor instead of the 1GHz in the Nexus. Nevertheless, we found the Legend one of the most responsive phones we have tested.
However, the most noticeable feature of the Legend is its active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (Amoled) 320 x 480 screen, which impressed us with its brightness and vivid colours, shown off to good effect by the default screen background chosen by HTC.
As with other Android handsets, the Legend links well with Google services such as Gmail, Talk and Maps, but also supports Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol for linking to Exchange mail servers, which may make the Legend attractive as a business phone as well as to consumers.
Overall, we found the HTC Legend a pleasure to use, and we especially liked the seven-screen layout that puts applications such as email, web and SMS on separate screens. These can easily be shuffled by using a flick gesture, while pinching the screen shows a thumbnail view of all seven screens that lets you jump to the one you want.
Also impressive is the Android web browser which, on the Legend, seems lightning fast at moving around web pages and zooming in and out. We were also able to watch the Flash-based video content on the V3.co.uk web page, although there was a slight lag between the video and audio streams.
One minor quibble with the Legend is that the slightly smaller screen makes the keys of the pop-up on-screen keyboard even smaller, and easier to hit the wrong one when keying in text.
Fortunately, the on-screen keyboard has predictive text that offers suggestions as you type, but we still found it slowed us down when compared with a physical keypad, or when using the larger screen of HTC's HD2 handset.
As with most other smartphones, the Legend supports 3G/HSPA speeds up to 7.2Mbit/s and is a quad-band handset for voice calls. It also has 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and built-in GPS for location services.
It has a built-in accelerometer, used (among other things) to change the screen orientation if you twist the handset around. The latter is supported only in some applications, such as the browser and camera.
At 112mm x 56.3mm x 11.5mm, the Legend is slightly smaller than other smartphones, and at 126g will not weigh down your pocket either. The casing is machined from a single aluminium block, according to HTC, and the lower part of the case is angled out slightly.
Because of this design, the Legend does not have a slide-off back cover, as is typical of many phones. Instead, a rubberised cover pulls off the bottom to reveal the battery and slots for the SIM card and a microSD storage card.
This arrangement makes it impossible to insert and remove the storage card without removing the battery at the same time.