HTC Legend review: HTC Legend

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Typical Price: $599.00

HTC Legend

(Part #: CNETHTC Legend)
4.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars 18 user reviews

The Good Unique unibody design. Full suite of smartphone features. Android version 2.1. HTC's excellent Sense UI.

The Bad No significant internal memory. Smartphone battery life.

The Bottom Line The combination of the Legend's outstanding industrial design and first-rate user experience is a smartphone that is as beautiful to behold as it is fun to play around with.

9.0 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Jun '10


The ballad of the HTC Legend begins with the curious fact that each Legend handset is carved from a single billet of aluminium. Although this is a task surely performed by machines, we prefer to think of it like the birth of Monkey Magic; a lonely block of metal sitting on a mountain top, struck by lightning and filled with a miraculous power. The result of producing the Legend's unique shape in this manner (the machine carving manner, not the lightning on a mountain top manner) is a smooth, seamless phone casing, which feels fantastic to hold. This unibody approach also gives the Legend a very Apple MacBook Pro-like feeling and it makes an excellent complementary accessory for those who never leave home without a MacBook Pro under their arms.

The Apple comparisons stop when the phone is powered on though. The Legend employs HTC's fantastic Sense UI, and while you may liken the smooth, fluid performance of the Sense UI to the iPhone's interface, the two systems couldn't be more different. While Apple's smartphone system centres around home screens full of application shortcuts (like a traditional PC desktop), Sense UI is more about a connected home screen, via the use of internet-active widgets. You can customise the seven active home screens with your choice of widgets, including those for SMS messages, email, calendar appointments, social networking etc and these widgets will update automatically as new information is received, making it easier to stay up-to-date without launching a half-dozen different apps.

Although regular phone users rarely replace their phone's battery or SIM card, HTC's unique approach to the battery cover for the Legend is worth noting. Instead of a removable cover that slides off the back of the phone, the Legend has a black plastic cap at the base of the phone. Under the cap you'll find a swinging door that holds everything in place, which can be flipped open to reveal the battery, SIM card slot and microSD card port. This is an ingenious solution and allows the phone to be without seams in a way that no other phone with a removable battery is.

All things 'droid

Like the excellent HTC Desire , the Legend is powered by version 2.1 of Google's Android smartphone platform. Using this system gives the Legend a distinct advantage over other touchscreen phones you'll find in stores today, which makes it a phone worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for an iPhone . Regardless of how you might consider using your phone, the Legend is probably capable of meeting these needs, whether they include business email via a corporate Exchange server, or if you just want to stay up-to-date with Facebook and Twitter.

HTC does a great job of including custom applications and widgets to cover most usage patterns, though if you can't find what you're looking for pre-installed on the phone, then you'll probably find it on the Android Market . This application store-front is now easily the second largest behind the iPhone, and is fantastic for finding utilities for a business purpose and web-based applications for accessing web services like email, instant messaging and social networking. The one area the Android Market is really lacking in is gaming, so if you're someone who considers gaming a major element of owning a smartphone then you should probably choose an iPhone over the Legend.

We are somewhat cautious in recommending the Android platform to users that aren't prepared to play around with it a bit and discover the ins-and-outs of a new system. Android is a busy and somewhat complex system, which those who are interested in tech will enjoy tinkering with, but may challenge others who just want a simple phone for simple purposes. That said, HTC does a great job of helping newbies find and use the basics with clear menu labels and its colourful symbols. Just make sure you thumb through the quick-start guide in the box so you don't miss out on some really important features of the phone.

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