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Phones

HTC Legend vs HTC Desire: HTC ecstasy

Like you, we're torn between two of this season's best phones -- the HTC Desire and the HTC Legend. So we've thrown them in the ring to duke it out

HTC has created two of the most cravable phones of the season with the HTC Legend and the HTC Desire. It's an embarrassment of riches for the new heavyweight of the smart phone ring.

But which to choose? We're like a donkey between two hay bales, torn between two tasty treats -- what a perfect time for a head-to-head challenge.

Features

Both the Desire and the Legend are feature-packed powerhouses, both running the latest version of Google's Android operating system. They're both smartened up with HTC's Sense user interface, which looks great and adds some useful features, and they both support Android apps to extend the phone's abilities even more. There's even Flash support on both, so Web sites look just as they were designed to.

On the hardware front, they both flaunt 5-megapixel cameras with LED photo lights, 3.5mm headphone jacks so you can use standard headphones, and room for a microSD memory card that can support up to 32GB.

The biggest difference between the two phones, besides the processing power -- which we'll get to in a moment -- is their screens. They're both bright, vivid AMOLED touchscreens, but the Desire has much more real estate -- it has 480x800 pixels compared to 320x480 pixels for the Legend.

Winner: They've got much in common, but the Desire's screen wins out. 

Looks

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think the Legend is the best-looking smart phone you can buy, thanks to its one-piece aluminium body. It has more in common with the sleek aluminium Apple MacBook Pro than the usual black plastic handset.

The Legend has also toned down the quirky, angular look of its predecessor, the HTC Hero, keeping just a hint of the Hero's jutting chin. The stream-lined buttons and sleek aluminium optical trackpad also help the Legend keep its figure.

Compared to the Legend, the Desire is ploughing a more familiar dark plastic smart phone look. But it's no ugly Betty -- the Desire will still have your friends oohing and aahing thanks to its 94mm (3.7-inch) screen. It also shares that dreamy optical trackpad design.

Winner: Legend, you look mah-vellous.

Power

With a 1GHz Snapdragon processor on board, the HTC Desire has the brains of Albert Einstein popping Ginkgo biloba. It's also got 576MB of RAM to keep multiple apps running happily.

In comparison, the HTC Legend sounds almost stupid -- a 600MHz processor along with a mere 384MB of RAM. But the Legend suffers from being compared against the Desire's huge stats -- against the snazzy iPhone 3GS instead, the situation is less stark, with the iPhone sporting a 600MHz processor and 256MB of RAM.

In our tests, both the Legend and the Desire were fast and responsive, and we didn't feel a huge difference between them -- although that could change once you've loaded them up with memory-hungry apps.

Winner: The Desire wins on numbers, but in tests they were both great. 

Price

A smart phone is only any good if we can actually afford it, which has always been the problem with the awesome, but pricy, iPhone. We took a trawl through our mobile price comparison pages to see how the Desire and Legend stack up.

It's possible to find the Desire for free on a two-year, £25-per-month contract with unlimited Internet, and the Legend can be had for free on a two-year, £20-per-month deal.

If you can afford to pay a little more up front, the Desire gets even cheaper -- for £129, it's available on a two-year, £15-per-month contract from T-Mobile, and you'll spend the equivalent of £20 per month overall.

Winner: If you can't pay anything up-front, the Legend is less expensive, but it's a close race. 

Overall

The Legend's got price and looks on its side, while the Desire rocks speed and screen size, but the race is right to the line for these two phones.

Yes, we're copping out -- it's a tie. We scored them equally in our full reviews, because we think they're both excellent pegs for slightly different holes. 

If you're short on cash and you like a more pocket-friendly phone that looks hawt, go for the Legend. If you want an unstoppable mobile powerhouse with a huge screen, perfect for heavy Web surfing and video, choose the Desire.