First Impressions: HTC Legend

We went to Mobile World Congress expecting to fall for the HTC Desire (nee Bravo), but came away willing to plunder and pillage for this sleek little handset instead. We had a quick hands-on with the Legend and realised it's 1) the sexiest phone HTC has ever made; 2) HTC has managed to make its Sense interface even more awesome; and 3) this just could be the handset to finally push Android into the mainstream 

Look and feel

The Legend is made out of a single, hollowed out block of aluminium with its components pushed inside. The brushed metal body feels smooth and solid but lightweight in the hand, and the sleek silver styling really reminds us of a MacBook Pro. It's a full touch device with a 3.2-inch AMOLED screen and that trademark chin like the HTC Hero, but instead of the rolling trackball found in its predecessors, the Legend has a silver optical mouse which is a lot smoother. There are no other buttons, giving it the most minimalist look of any HTC phone yet. 

Under the hood

A 600Mhz processor powers the Legend, and a decent 384MB of RAM, upgraded from 288MB in the Hero, means it should be able to run a few programs simultaneously without slowing down. It also packs the newest Android 2.1, which supports multi-touch and full voice control - and that's everything from dictating an email to launching a Google Maps search. The rest of the hardware includes a five-megapixel autofocus camera with flash, Wi-Fi and HSDPA internet, and A-GPS. And for the heavy emailers out there, the touch-screen keyboard is as responsive and accurate as in the Hero, with the same intelligent auto-correct system. 

Ease of use

HTC's Android phones have always been fresh and intuitive, but the Legend kicks it up a notch with an innovative multi-touch feature - just pinch and zoom in any homescreen to view all homescreens in 'helicopter mode', then tap on the one you want. We also love Friendstream, a new feature of the updated Sense interface that integrates your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and phone contacts, and streams a news feed of status updates and profile info of your friends across all four.
Other refreshes include an expanded set of HTC widgets, and we especially love the clock widget with weather and temperature at your current GPS location.

The Legend launches in April exclusive to Vodafone, though more operators may carry it later. No tariffs have been announced, but expect it to come free on a £30, 24-month contract.

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