HTC Legend review: HTC Legend

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CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars Outstanding
Pricing Unavailable

Average User Rating

4.5 stars 18 user reviews

The Good Good-looking; fast Web browser; great virtual keyboard; Flash support; bright AMOLED touchscreen; decent call quality.

The Bad Some home-screen widgets need polishing; Android is still somewhat geeky; short battery life.

The Bottom Line The HTC Legend lives up to its name. It's fast, fun, and manages to be easy to use and full of potential at the same time. The HTC Desire, among other phones, offers a bigger screen, but the Legend's smaller size and lower price may prove more palatable to your pocket

CNET Editors' Choice Mar '10

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The HTC Legend takes everything that was great about the HTC Hero and makes it even better. With the Hero having won CNET UK's coveted Editors' Choice award in July last year, that's no mean feat. But this smart phone isn't just a refresh of the Hero -- good-looking, speedy and fun to use, it's a legend in its own right.

We're still waiting for contract prices for the Legend, but you can pre-order it SIM-free for around £380.

Metal head
We don't mean to be shallow, but let's start with the phone's looks. The Legend is a stone-cold fox. We're way past being bothered by the slightly angled chin that's evolved from ugly on the T-Mobile G1 to handsome on the Hero. The Legend's chin is very subtle anyway, and it has its benefits -- it makes the phone feel more comfortable when you're making calls, and HTC says it makes the antenna work better too.

The new Friend Stream widget merges Facebook updates and tweets, but we found it didn't keep itself up-to-date

The metal case of the Legend is made from a single piece of aluminium, which, according to HTC, makes the phone tougher that its plastic peers. The case is also a visual treat, reminding us of the first-generation iPhone -- the most attractive version so far. HTC has also replaced the trackball that's often found on other Android phones with a round, metal-trimmed, touch-sensitive trackpad, which we found a pleasure both to use and gaze upon. We still think that such a feature is largely redundant on a touchscreen phone -- perhaps with the exception of when you need to navigate text or tiny Web links, for example -- but at least it looks good.

Blinded by the light
The Legend's 81mm (3.2-inch) screen is the same size as the Hero's, but it's been given an AMOLED boost. That means it's stunningly bright, with very saturated colours. Recent comparisons  between the iPhone and Google Nexus One have shown that AMOLED screens don't necessarily improve on the colour reproduction of LCD displays, but the Legend's screen definitely has a certain wow factor.

The display's 320x480-pixel resolution is far lower than the 480x800-pixel resolution offered by the Google Nexus One or HTC's upcoming top-of-the-line phone, the Desire . Nevertheless, it's the same resolution as that offered by the iPhone 3GS, and there are sufficient pixels to read tiny text on a fully-zoomed out Web page, for example.

The Legend sports a 5-megapixel camera on the back, as well as an effective LED photo light

The smaller screen also makes the Legend more pocket-friendly than the Nexus One and Desire. It's almost the same size as the Hero, except that it shaves 3mm off the thickness of its older sibling.

Speed demon
Our biggest complaint about the Hero was that it could occasionally be sluggish, although that issue has been improved via firmware updates. But you won't have to wait around for updates to the Legend -- it's smoking-fast, right out of the box. The Legend has a 600MHz processor, compared to the Hero's 528MHz processor, with 384MB of RAM, compared to 288MB.

Menu transitions are smooth, applications open quickly and the screen responds beautifully to every touch. Note, however, that Android phones can slow down significantly once you've got loads of apps running on them -- it's the curse of multi-tasking -- but we had no complaints with our box-fresh Legend.

The Web browser was also a speed demon, rendering complex pages like those of CNET UK almost twice as quickly as the Hero's browser over the same Wi-Fi network. The browser offers quite a few improvements over the standard browser found on other phones running Android 2.1, such as the Nexus One. For example, holding your finger on a page reveals a magnifying glass that helps you select and copy text, which is a handy feature cribbed from the iPhone.

Multi-touch zoom is supported, so you can quickly hone in on small links with a pinch of your fingers. The Flash support isn't good enough for playing games in the browser, but it does ensure that Flash-based Web sites look right. Combined with the Legend's HSPA and Wi-Fi connectivity, it all adds up to a great handset for surfing the mobile Web.

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Where to Buy

HTC Legend

Part Number: CNETHTC Legend

Typical Price: £380.00

See manufacturer website for availability.