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HTC Legend – first look

Live images of the HTC Legend

It's not a coincidence that I used an example with sequels - I think it's the best way to explain what the HTC Legend really is. Imagine you're walking out of a theater after watching an amazingly thrilling movie, or standing up from a chair after watching through the credits of an exciting game. And now you find out that there'll be sequel soon. What's your first thought? "I hope they won't ruin it!". That's why most producers and game developers pick this route - it's really difficult to spoil a sequel to a good product if you take all the best features of the original and try to address all the drawbacks.

The HTC Legend is a full-fledged sequel to the HTC Hero, taking advantage of all its strengths and freed from some of its flaws. Now, the question is, is it any good?

Design, Materials

You can't avoid comparisons with the HTC Hero when talking about the Legend's design. And by just looking at it, you'll guess the reason why - shape-wise the Hero and Legend are twins, give or take.

So, if you were into the curved lip of the Hero, you'll definitely like the Legend as well, it works the other way too, though. The main difference between the two lies in the materials HTC used - the Legend's casing is a solid piece of aluminum, with only two plastic inserts protruding from the back.

There are a couple of things going for this solution - first, the display is smudge-resistant, aluminum doesn't increase the phone's weight, but lends the phone a very cool feel, and finally it makes the Legend look this much more expensive, so that even its resemblance with the Hero takes a back seat. Personally, I liked the Legend primarily because of its metal casing, no matter how unoriginal this might sound - it simply fits right in when you think of the Legend as a mid-tier phone for your daily activities. I suppose its build quality is beyond any questions, the only concern we have got is the battery cover that might loosen up with time, but so far I haven't experienced any problems on this front with my engineering sample.


The left-hand side plays host to the volume rocker, and the power button has finally been moved back to the top end - as you probably remember it was merged with the End key in the HTC Hero. Also there is the 3.5 mm audio jack. Unfortunately, there is no camera button - HTC are still true to their self-invented theory that all top-of-the-line phones must come with one.

Sitting right below the display are the Back, Menu, Home and Search keys. The place that both the Hero and Nexus had reserved for a trackball, is now occupied by a touchpad (an optical trackball, as HTC call it). All in all, it feels more like a mixed bug, much like the trackball did - you'll definitely have to spend some time getting used to it. I'm disappointed by the absence of hardware Call and End buttons - we'll talk some more this issue and also the usability of their software counterparts in our full review of the Legend.

User Interface

The HTC Legend employs the new version of HTC's Sense user interface running on top of Android 2.1 (probably). On balance it offers a tad better usability and a bunch of new features - we'll give it run-through in a separate article.


The phone is built around Qualcomm MSM7227 platform with its CPU running at 600 Mhz. The Legend packs in 384 Mb of RAM and 512 Mb of storage that can be used for personal data, plus there is a microSD memory card slot.

Spec-wise, the Legend is in many ways identical to the Hero - same diagonal, capacitive display with multitouch support (yet it's AMOLED, which is great news), WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, plus GPS. At the same time it boasts more RAM, a tad faster CPU and FM-radio. Some will also rejoice when they'll see a flash module in the Legend too.


It's still unknown how much the Legend will retail for - I'll venture to make a guess that it'll be in the neighborhood of 700-800 USD, a tad cheaper than the HTC Desire, and obviously more expensive than the already available HTC Hero. Its commercial launch is expected in April, although it may well see release later than that.

Who'll find the Legend appealing? I suppose sooner or later it'll push the good old Hero out of the market; by the way the latter will get a major firmware update to Android version 2.1 in March or April and then HTC will be done with it. And that's reasonable, since HTC shouldn't waste their resources on keeping their rapidly aging phone up to date, given that new versions of Android come out on a regular basis.

So if your Hero seems too sluggish and fragile - the HTC Legend might be right what you need. If you've been waiting for a sequel to the Hero - the HTC Legend might be… If you've always wanted an Android-based phone clad in metal - the…

Compared to the Hero, the HTC Legend has got:

  • More capable platform Qualcomm MSM7227 (600 Mhz against the Hero's 528 MHz)
  • More RAM (384 Mb vs 288 Mb)
  • Flash module for the camera
  • FM-radio
  • Aluminum casing
  • Although it doesn't have hardware Call and End keys
  • Optical trackball
  • Bluetooth 2.1 (vs the Hero's Bluetooth 2.0)
  • New version of HTC Sense
  • New version of Android (probably 2.1)

Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Published - 16 February 2010.

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