HTC Legend smartphone
Hero becomes Legend with HTC's latest Android smartphone
- Superb industrial design and build quality, excellent AMOLED display, great user interface, snappy performance, excellent Web browser
- On-screen keyboard isn't as polished as the iPhone's, limited multimedia capabilities
The HTC Legend may lack the extra-large screen of the flagship HTC Desire, but the unibody aluminium casing is a superb piece of industrial design. The Legend is an excellent smartphone and a solid improvement over its predecessor.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Featuring a superb, Apple-esque design, HTC's latest Android smartphone — the HTC Legend — is one of the sexiest looking mobile phones we've ever reviewed. The successor to the HTC Hero, the HTC Legend is not just about looks: it offers improved software and superior performance.
Like its predecessor, the HTC Legend smartphone has a very distinctive design. This time it's thanks to the aluminium, unibody casing with a brushed finish. Like Apple's MacBook Pro, the Legend's unibody casing is carved from a single block of aluminium, so there are minimal moving parts. The result is a phone that possesses superb build quality and is a delight to hold and use.
The unibody construction means the HTC Legend doesn't have a regular battery cover on its rear. Instead, a small, rubber cover sits at the bottom of the phone, and slides out to reveal the battery, microSD and SIM card slots. You'll need to turn off your phone to replace the SIM or the microSD card — the plastic cover concealing both slots holds the battery in place.
The HTC Legend's body is carved from a single piece of aluminium, making it one of the most distinctive looking smartphones on the market.
The HTC Legend once again has an angled lip at the bottom of the phone (often referred to as a Jay Leno chin in the US), but it's less pronounced than on its predecessor. The angled design houses the Legend's controls — the trackball has been replaced by a more responsive optical track pad and the answer and end call buttons have been removed. Four plastic keys sit just below the display (home, menu, back and search), but these feel spongy when pressed — the only real flaw with the Legend's build quality.
The HTC Legend boasts a 3.2in AMOLED display, making it smaller than both the iPhone 3GS (3.5in) and HTC's own flagship Desire (3.7in). We found it a good size for portability: the Legend is easier to pocket and more comfortable to carry around than the bulkier Desire. However, this leaves less real estate for the on-screen keyboard. The presence of haptic feedback and excellent spelling correction are benefits, but the iPhone's on-screen keyboard remains more polished than its Android counterpart.
Though it runs the latest version of Google's Android operating system (2.1 at the time of publication), the real star of the Legend is HTC's Sense user interface. The latest upgrade includes a number of new features, headed by the ability to pinch the home screen to quickly display and select one of seven screens — called Leap — and a new widget called HTC Friend Stream. The latter integrates all of your social-networking contacts, including from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, into one organised "stream" of updates. This means you don't need to access separate applications to view this information, and you can update your status on Facebook and publish a tweet simultaneously. Though this feature looks superb and integrates seamlessly into the Sense UI, it lacks some more advanced features, such support for multiple Twitter accounts and URL shortening when tweeting.
HTC has replaced the Hero's trackball with a more responsive optical trackpad on the Legend
Other HTC-exclusive widgets include People — which combines all forms of contact with an individual in your phonebook — as well as News, Facebook, Web Bookmarks and HTC's much-loved weather widget. The last of these offers fantastic animations, including a windscreen wiper that swipes across the screen to wipe away raindrops. Another widget worth mentioning is Footprints. This allows you to take a geotagged photo and store the image in a particular category; for example restaurants or shopping. You can then instantly share the content with others via e-mail. HTC Sense has a strong focus on customisation, and the ability to completely change the interface's look and feel is a huge advantage the Legend holds over the iPhone.
HTC Friend Stream is a new feature of the updated Sense UI and integrates all of your social-networking contacts into one organised "stream" of updates.
Another advantage the HTC Legend holds over its predecessor is improved performance. Though the Hero was no slouch, it often took a little a while to load particularly taxing applications such as the camera. The Legend has no such issues, and we didn’t encounter any lag or slowdown. It may not boast the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor that powers HTC's Desire and HD2, and Google's Nexus One, but for day-to-day tasks, the Legend is snappy.
Underneath HTC Sense, the Legend offers the regular features and functions of Android 2.1, including the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services. The phone automatically synchronises your Google calendar, mail and contacts over the air. Unfortunately, you still can't choose to save downloaded apps to the microSD card, and the Legend remains an inferior multimedia smartphone when compared to the iPhone. For example, the music player interface is intelligent and attractive, but there is no way to synchronise an iTunes playlist without third-party software and no real advanced settings beyond basic playlists, repeat and shuffle modes.
Browsing the Web on the HTC Legend is excellent and the included browser supports Flash and multitouch. The pinch to zoom function isn't as smooth as the iPhone's, but double tapping or zooming in on a block of text automatically reformats the text, making it easier to read.
Other features of the HTC Legend include a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, a built-in accelerometer, a digital compass and a GPS receiver. Battery life is similar to the iPhone 3GS' — with push e-mail, location services and background data enabled, the Legend will not last more than a full day.
The HTC Legend is exclusively available through Vodafone and 3 mobile from June 3, and can also be purchased outright for $599. Online store MobiCity is also selling the HTC Legend outright and unlocked.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- 3 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 4 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Fake heads and robot probes: testing smartphones prior to launch
- Rumor suggests the Note8 will be a bigger S8+ that adds a missing feature
- Xiaomi's Mi6 has the Galaxy S7’s looks, the S8’s power, and iPhone 7’s camera for half the price
- Samsung DeX turns your Galaxy S8 into a shockingly good desktop PC
- Find My iPhone helps nab a thief at Coachella with 100 phones in his backpack
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSecurity Engineer (IPS & Firewall exp essential) - Perm - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- CCInteraction DesignerNSW
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global Ecommerce BrandNSW
- FTTechnical SpecialistACT
- FTBusiness Analysis | Business Case | ProcurementVIC
- CCJava Developer / System Designer - Aus Citizens OnlyWA
- FTC# DeveloperQLD
- FTSecurity Architect - Perth BasedQLD
- FTFull Stack .NET DeveloperWA
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- TPSenior Project Manager - Life InsuranceNSW
- FTTester AnalystACT
- FTSenior Analyst ProgrammerACT
- FTProduct LeadVIC
- CCSAP ISU Functional ConsultantVIC
- CCSecurity Specialist - NV1ACT
- CCSAP CRM Functional AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Data Warehouse ConsultantNSW
- FTProject Manager- RiskSA
- FTSAP Solution ArchitectsACT
- TPAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- TPSenior Project ManagerQLD
- FTElectronic Payments POS Business Analyst - Permanent - North Ryde areaNSW