HTC Legend review

Reviews Clare Hopping 11:48, 7 Mar 2010

We review the HTC Legend, a lot more than just an upgrade to the Hero

It may be a bold statement, but it's true: The HTC Legend is the best Android handset to date.

There are many reasons why this statement is true, and the design is just the first.

HTC has been working with a design agency to build its newest devices and this certainly shows with the Legend.

The device is crafted from a single piece of aluminium, making it super light and perfectly formed to fit in your hand.

It's smooth and feels premium. Breaking up the aluminium is the screen on the front and speaker/camera panel on the back, plus the battery door.

The battery door is constructed from soft touch plastic, and also accommodates the antenna.

HTC apparently made the decision to use plastic for this part because a full metal casing can interrupt signal getting to the antenna, and reduces signal strength.

This is one of the factors that made the first generation iPhone fail so miserably.

The quirky battery cover does have an issue though - it makes sliding the battery, microSD and SIM card in and out quite a task.

We were concerned that our SIM card would be stuck in the phone forevermore, although this could have been classed as an advantage: maybe then we'd be able to keep our review sample for longer than the four days HTC had allowed us.

The microSD card slips completely into the insides of the Legend, so be warned - you may never see it again.

What is irritating is that before you can take a photo, you'll be prompted to insert a microSD card. If you don't, you can't take a photo.

On the front of the HTC Legend is a 320x480 pixels, 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen. Naturally, it's capacitive, and it's super-responsive to boot.

HTC has implemented Android 2.1 in the Legend, which isn't much of a surprise. Thankfully, unlike the Google Nexus One also manufactured by HTC, the Legend benefits from Android's multi touch functionality switched on.

It's a great joy to pinch to zoom in the browser and pinch on the home screen to bring up the handy page that displays all of your home screens in miniature - tap on one to bring up the page - it's just like using Expose on a Mac.

The HTC Legend features the newest version of HTC's Sense UI, and it's just as good as the Legend's design.

With the new HTC Sense interface comes a whole load of new features, including a social networking app called Friendstream. It's similar to MotoBLUR on the Motorola DEXT, with a widget on your home screen that displays all your contact's status updates and pictures uploaded to Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.

Although it's a great concept, it is very slow, especially when scrolling up and down the widget. This is because it's permanently trying to update, so your internet connection may have a considerable impact on this.

When you open the fuller Friendstream application, you're given the choice of viewing all updates, status updates, all posted photos and links. It's a great little app to help you stay in contact with your key contacts, and a great alternative to other social networking apps that promise to unite all of your social networking accounts.

The issue with Friendstream's loading times was our only speed issue though - the 600MHz processor handles multiple actions well. Even taking and saving images is speedy, which is usually one flaw with smartphones.

In place of the Hero's trackball, HTC has implemented an optical track button on the Legend. It's a tiny dot in the centre of a circular select button that is much more responsive than a trackball. It doesn't skip or overshoot and ultimately gives you more control to navigate around the phone than any other navigation button solution.

Other buttons on the front of the screen include a home key, contextual menu button that changes according to which application or screen you're accessing, a back key and search button.

The search button allows you to search your phone, the internet or any application that you have installed for a matching term. For example, we entered 'house' and the device came up with results from Google Maps, our calendar and most popular Google web searches.

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