The Legend is encased in a slick aluminium unibody accented with black rubber pads at the back, and the battery, SIM and memory card all slot into the bottom of the device.
Android 2.1 sits at the heart of the Legend and this eminently usable operating system, coupled with HTC’s Sense skin, makes this device a dream to use.
The Legend is an excellent internet device, with lots of added extras to help keep your contacts, messages and social network updates all nicely organised. The five-megapixel camera is one of the best we’ve seen on an Android device.
The Legend delivers in all areas, offering a superb internet experience, unrivalled messaging features and a great camera.
The Legend needs charging daily due to the sheer number of functions it can run.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/7/2010 5:26:20 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Excellent social networking, web and email features, friendly user interface, responsive touch-screen, good multitasking, high build quality, improved camera with flash
Web video doesn?t play well, bundled headphones pretty low quality
HTC is jumping from high to high. The Legend is the successor to the award-hogging Hero and with a sexy new aluminium body and beefed up Android operating system, this is one powerful device. HTC’s new Sense software adds even better social networking and phonebook features alongside a jazzed up set of widgets, while email, web and camera have all been fine-tuned for an incredibly intuitive, easy to use phone.
Forget the Teflon coating you saw in the HTC Hero – the Legend is encased in a slick aluminium unibody accented with black rubber pads at the back. In a phone first, the battery, SIM and microSD card all slot in through the bottom of the phone, rather than via a removable back cover. It’s a slick, seamless affair that’s reminiscent of Apple’s Macbooks and this phone definitely looked great next to one. Unfortunately, you can’t remove the memory card without removing the battery too. At 112x56.3x11.5mm, the Legend is slimmer and lighter than the Hero, though there’s still a reassuring solidity to the metal chassis and the phone feels really nice – albeit cold – in the hand. The somewhat contentious chin of HTC’s Android line is subtler now, but still fulfils its function of protecting the screen if you put the phone facedown. The 3.2-inch touch-screen now sports an AMOLED display, so it’s noticeably brighter and sharper than the Hero’s. The number of buttons has been pared down to four, stretching in a slim line across the bottom of the phone, while the trackball has been replaced with a slicker optical touchpad. We still didn’t find much use for it, as it’s far simpler to just swipe on the touch-screen, but it does also act as the camera shutter release and an OK button. A 3.5mm audio jack sits at the top of the phone, and the five-megapixel camera now packs an LED flash so those lowlight shots are finally possible.
What really makes this phone though is its software – the brand-new Android 2.1 operating system, skinned with HTC’s updated, friend-centric Sense interface. One of the most useful features is the contact sync between your phonebook and Google Mail, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. The Legend will automatically link your friends via email address, so if a phonebook friend uses the same email for Facebook and Flickr, both accounts will display on his contact card. Each contact card also shows a friend’s status updates and posted photos across all linked accounts, and is further sorted into your emails, texts and calls with that person. If you use even just one social network, it’s a neat way to check out your friends and if you use two or more, it’s incredibly useful (OK, and it’s a stalker’s dream).Meanwhile, the Legend hasn’t forgotten about those unlinked friends – based on name, it’ll also suggest linkages to various social network accounts, most of them correct. Any birthdays listed in Facebook are also added to your calendar, as well as Facebook events. And as you’d expect, if you’re on Google already, all this is even simpler. Google Mail can already sync doubled-up contacts so that all the email addresses a friend has are collected. Then when the Legend syncs with Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, it’s even likelier that it can automatically link a friend no matter what emails he’s used to sign up. Friendstream is one of the main highlights of the new Sense, streaming updates from all three social networks into a single widget. You can still check out friends by different social networks, as well as sort by photo albums and links they’ve posted. It’s a great way to aggregate the three most popular social networks, though we’d like to see a feature where you could cross-pollinate status updates – say, to retweet something cool you read on Facebook. Social networking is a major aspect of the phone – though these days that’s as ubiquitous as getting mobile email – and the Legend is preloaded with Facebook, YouTube, and HTC’s own Twitter client Peep. The official Android Facebook app is as low rent as ever and doesn’t add much to what Friendstream already offers, but Peep is a full-bodied app with push notifications and all the expected features nicely laid out. YouTube streams video smoothly over a Wi-Fi connection, and HD videos look great on the AMOLED screen. You also have the option to flag videos, comment and share them with friends. All this essentially amounts to loads of different ways to organise and interact with your friends from several entry points, and you can get in as deep as you want. Either way, the people-centric communication HTC first introduced with its Touch Diamond2 and Pro2 phones has finally come of age.
The other big change is support for multi-touch – at least in some screens. One great implementation is in the home screens. Like the Hero, the Legend has seven customisable home screens. But instead of scrolling between each, you can pinch two fingers together to view all seven as thumbnails, then tap on the one you want. Multi-touch is also active in photos and webpages where you can pinch to zoom, and it’s an incredibly intuitive, much needed feature. However, we would have liked to see multi-touch functionality in the Maps feature as well – instead, you’re restricted to double-tapping to zoom in one level, or using an on-screen zoom bar. The touch-screen itself is responsive and fast, and boasts one of the best on-screen keyboards around. Like the Hero or iPhone, the keys are intelligently placed, and a great auto-correct system adjusts spellings based on nearby keys you may have mistyped. One problem with the Hero was that the keyboard started to lag when we reached a few hundred messages in the inbox, but the Legend’s faster 600MHz processor has ironed this out, and is able to simultaneously run data-heavy apps such as the browser and Spotify without slowing down. As with all Android phones, your home screens are customisable with a huge range of shortcuts, widgets and ‘live folders’ that update automatically – e.g., Bluetooth files, Facebook, phonebook, favourite contacts. The HTC touch is everywhere though, especially with its own-brand widgets. The weather widget is particularly charming, with little animations that pass across the screen depending on the forecast. The calendar shows the weather too, displaying tiny cloud and sun forecasts for each day over a five day period. There are also some new widgets, including our favourite, News, which lets you add feeds from anywhere on the internet, including blogs.
We loved going online with the Legend. It has the standard set of smartphone internet credentials – Wi-Fi and HSDPA – and like its predecessors, packs a full HTML WebKit browser that can handle even non-mobile sites and render them just the way they’d look on a PC. The resizing is perfect so that we never had to scroll endlessly from side to side trying to see a full webpage, and even when you zoom in several levels, the text always fits to the page. The display’s HVGA resolution and AMOLED tech meant pictures and fonts looked sharp and bright. The best part though, is the new copy and paste feature. Tap and hold for a word to be highlighted with two little pins at either end. You can then drag both pins in either direction to copy the text you want, and then paste it to the clipboard or an email. The only fly in the Legend’s webby deliciousness is Adobe Flash – it just doesn’t work. Videos embedded in webpages played at low frame rates and looked pretty bad. But if the only online video you really hit is YouTube, the preloaded app will do, and of course, downloaded video streaming apps work fine. The Legend also has A-GPS and was able to get an accurate fix in seconds. Google Maps lets you route from a current GPS location to an input destination, or also to anyone in your phonebook who has an address. As with most smartphones, these data-intensive features mean you do have to charge the Legend at least once a day.
Android phones suffer a bad camera rep thanks to mediocre sensors and lack of support for flash. Well, the Legend has more or less scratched that, with a five-megapixel auto-focus snapper that comes with LED flash and decent prowess at all types of shots. There are still no preset modes such as portrait or night time, but you can adjust exposure, white balance, and ISO. We tested the snapper on auto settings and it came out with sharp images both indoors and outdoors in daylight. Zooming in showed good clarity in the midground, while the touch-focus is fast to calibrate. We were pleasantly surprised by the lowlight shots as well – the flash produced nice warm skin tones and more or less rendered the room’s true colours, though the image was slightly soft. Once you’ve taken a photo, you can share it via email or social networks, as well as any other camera-related apps you’ve downloaded – just one of the phone’s many nifty integration features.The gallery helpfully divides photos into camera shots and ones you’ve shared with particular social networks, and even shows photos posted by your friends on Facebook and Flickr.
No-frills Android makes for great, easy to use phones, but when it’s the core to HTC’s software, you get a whole new breed of super-phone. Android 2.1 coupled with HTC’s new Sense skin makes the Legend an incredibly intuitive phone that pushes pretty much everything you could possibly want right to your fingertips. For anyone who does a lot online, whether it’s blogging, social networks or email, the Legend is going to be an indispensable hub – and on top of that, it’s just a lot of fun to use.