Advertisement

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Advertisement

HTC Legend review

Barry de la Rosa
22 Mar 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
367
inc VAT

Fantastic build quality, good battery life, a vibrant display, and superbly functional software make the Legend the best value smartphone currently available.

Advertisement

Specifications

Android 2.1, 3.2in 320x480 display

The HTC Legend, as the name might suggest, is a direct successor to the company's popular Hero, which formerly held the crown of Best Android Phone - that is, before Google brought out its own Nexus One. The Legend looks remarkably similar to the Hero in form, although its case is now carved from a single slab of aluminium, with a black, rubberised battery cover and the same material around the camera's lens and flash.

The trademark "chin" is still there, although it now houses an optical trackpad rather than the trackball. Gone too are the Search and Back buttons, which have joined the Home and Menu buttons in a row just underneath the screen, which means the Legend doesn't have buttons to start and end a call like the Hero. Instead, you use the touchscreen for these functions. However, we're glad HTC has kept the four main Android controls as physical buttons rather than touch-sensitive controls.

HTC Legend home screen three quarter

Instead of the Hero's removable backplate, the Legend's much smaller battery cover detaches to reveal a hinged flap that keeps the battery in place and covers the SIM and memory card slots. This makes the phone feel far more sturdy than the Hero. It also covers the USB port and microphone. There's a volume rocker to the left of the screen, and a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button above it, but no dedicated camera button - you use the trackpad as a button to capture photos or video.

A bright, AMOLED screen takes up most of the fascia, although there is a black bezel, measuring 3mm on each side, 7mm at the bottom and 9mm above the screen, which seems a waste, as it's a smaller area than the iPhone's screen even though it's the same 480x320 resolution. The colours and contrast of the AMOLED technology are simply breathtaking however, and HTC has added an oleophobic (oil resistant) coating that not only reduces fingerprint marks but makes touch control much smoother.

HTC Legend button close up

Having an AMOLED screen has another advantage: it uses far less power than a standard TFT, and this is reflected in the Legend's battery life of over 20 hours in our light usage test. This is a first for an Android phone, and means that you needn’t worry if you forget to plug it into the mains for a night - depending on how heavily you use the GPS, wireless and Bluetooth.

Touchscreens on Android phones typically haven't matched the smoothness and speed of the iPhone. The Legend is another matter - it matches or even betters the iPhone in terms of responsiveness, flicking and sliding with no lag whatsoever, even with multiple apps open including the browser, calendar and Google Maps (something the iPhone still can't manage). Even our resident iPhone champion was impressed by its speed, responsiveness and build quality, remarking that it was the first Android phone he'd seen that didn't feel like an a "cheap iPhone knock-off".

HTC has not only brought out the most Android phones, but it's the only company that offers a substantial improvement on the vanilla Android interface. HTC Sense is a combination of utility software, interface design and social aggregation features that dramatically improve Android's stock experience. As well as handling Google account synchronisation, Sense also pulls in account details and updates from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Microsoft Exchange (via ActiveSync).

Read more

Reviews