HTC Legend (Unlocked GSM) - Hands-On Impressions

Noah Kravitz
 from Oakland, CA
Published: March 30, 2010


Thanks to the folks at HTC, I've had an unlocked Legend in my pocket for the past three days. Legend is the spiritual successor to Hero, bringing Android 2.1 and the latest version of HTC Sense to a relatively compact, all-touch form factor. While Legend lacks the processing power and larger screen of Desire, the other new Android phone launched by HTC at this year's Mobile World Congress, this phone packs plenty of punch and does so in an oh-so-sexy aluminum unibody enclosure.

Some thoughts on a few days with Legend:

- Call quality has been good on AT&T's network in the San Francisco Bay Area. The device doesn't support North American 3G bands, so I've been relegated to GSM/EDGE/GPRS only. I missed one call earlier this morning, but I was working in a noisy cafe at the time, and the call showed up as missed in the phone's log, so I think it was my fault.

- A few very minor software glitches notwithstanding, Legend has been smooth as butter. The combination of software and hardware is excellent, and the device's 3.2" multitouch capacitive AMOLED display is bright and responsive. 

- Said glitches have included a few graphic snags when transitioning between one screen and another, and some odd formatting in the Web browser - mainly on mobile-formatted sites, actually.

- HTC + Android = A Killer Combo. The day after Legend arrived on my doorstep, I received the new T-Mobile HTC HD2. I'll write up my thoughts on HD2 separately, but let's just say that Android 2.1 backed by Legend's 600 MHz processor is a far nicer experience than Windows Mobile 6.5 powered by HD2's mighty 1GHz Snapdragon chipset.

- GPS has been strong, Bluetooth works easily, and the camera is good. HTC's new software adds some additional color settings on the camera that I haven't yet messed around with. But the 5MP shooter is definitely average or above average straight out of  the box.

- The new optical trackball works very well. HTC told me to use it as I would a mechanical trackball, and so far it's been great for me. The addition of a trackball to the touchscreen is handy for selecting HTML text links and other small buttons.

- Sense just keeps getting better. Friendstream is a nice feature in the vein of MotoBlur's "Happenings" and Sony Ericsson's "Timescape," but what I really like is the integration of social networks within the "People" app (contacts). I never, ever go to the Facebook website, but I'm finding that I like seeing Facebook data pulled into my phone's native apps. Many of my contacts post photos and birthday info to FB, and Sense gives me the option of keeping tabs on such things from within my phonebook.

- Legend's aluminum unibody construction is sexy. The phone is light but strong, and iconic in a world full of black plastic mobile phones. Ironic that Legend's aluminum-and-black design perfectly matches the MacBook Pro line, given Apple's legal feud with HTC, no?

- Personally, I might opt for the HTC Desire or Nexus One over Legend for the sake of a larger display. But Legend's 3.2", HVGA screen is plenty big enough for most anything you'll need it for - the choice to go bigger would be one of personal preference, and not because of any glaring deficiency found here.

- Legend's Web browser supports Flash. It works, but Flash content has been loading pretty slowly for me thus far, even over WiFi.

More on Legend in the coming days. For now, a few more photos below. And, no, there's no word on any potential US release of this device. Yet.


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