The HTC Legend features Android OS 2.1, as well as HTC Sense UI, the user interface that gives it an edge over other handsets featuring Google’s OS. Sense UI relies greatly on pinching; this, of course, means multitouch is also supported.
The advantages of this user interface are especially noticeable while listing home screens (seven of them), zooming web pages and photos, and selecting text. Speaking of home screens, all seven can be completely personalized and equipped with various widgets, icons, shortcuts and other things that make your daily use of the handset quicker and more comfortable.
While most Android handsets’ UI upgrades make them oriented towards a certain user group (e.g. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is focused on multimedia and social networking), the Legend is fully customizable and adjustable to fit all affinities, which is another great advantage of the Sense UI. Thus you can put social networking widgets on one screen and monitor in real time your friends’ statuses; another screen can be used for GPS; another for games; yet another for RSS feeds, speed dial and so forth.
The handset is rather fast even though it is not equipped with the fastest smartphone CPU available, the Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon used in several other HTC models. Still, the Legend also features a Qualcomm CPU, but running at 600 MHz. In practice you are not likely to notice the difference, primarily because the screen resolution is not too high and therefore not too strenuos on the processor.
The handset is equipped with 384 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM, as well as a microSD card slot which accepts cards of up to 32 GB. The handset’s internal memory will not suffice for more complex use and especially multimedia; a microSD card of at least 2 GB is advised.
A microUSB v2.0 port is used for both connecting to a computer for transfering files and for charging the battery.
The HTC Legend supports all 2G frequency bands and, in the American market version, two 3G bands – HSDPA 850 and HSDPA 1900. The non-US version supports another pair of 3G bands, HSDPA 900 and HSDPA 2100, so 3G network usage may pose a problem to frequent intercontinental travelers. In those cases you may have to fall back to 2G protocols and the built-in Wi-Fi antenna. Legend also features Bluetooth v2.1 and GPS.
Call quality is extremely high. The other party both hears and is heard loud and clear. Furthermore, the Sense UI provides a very practical and intuitive dialer, which makes this handset one of the Android OS phones best suited for voice communications. It would be nice, however, if recent calls statistics were a bit more detailed.
The Legend can be finely tuned regarding Wi-Fi versus 3G traffic. For instance, you can set up the smartphone to never use 3G networks, thus preventing it from generating expensive traffic. Instead, it will automatically recognize Wi-Fi networks and only then will it synchronize all the active internet services, from Facebook to e-mail. Naturally, password-protected Wi-Fi networks will be remembered upon the entry of the password. Furthermore, 3G traffic can also be disabled in roaming only. All in all, useful, practical, and simple… Legend roams the seas of mobile internet incredibly swiftly, while making it possible to keep the costs low.
Among the more useful widgets in the Legend’s collection is the one for real-time e-mail tracking. All relevant e-mail services are supported, from Gmail to Microsoft Exchange. Clearly, all that generates quite a bit of internet traffic.
The web browser is another strong point of this handset. It renders web pages flawlessly, and the pinch zoom is very precise. Flash is also supported, which is a great advantage. Even though its display is smaller than iPhone’s, Legend (along with Droid Incredible) is the only smartphone available which can be said to provide a better feel to web browsing than iPhone. Simply put, web surfing is smooth, intuitive, fast and precise.
You will, however, encounter minor issues with typing while holding the handset vertically. Its small size reflects on the size of the virtual keyboard, so despite the touchscreen’s high precision, it takes some getting used to this kind of text input. Text input in the horizontal position, however, is much more convenient.
The built-in camera is average — neither notably good nor bad. Images taken with the 5 megapixel camera look average; I have seen both better and worse photos taken with mobile phones. In good lighting conditions, the colors are live and realistic, but the images are not very sharp. In contrast, pictures taken in darker environments tend to be sharper, but the colors are pale and cold.
The photo viewing software, however, is very simple and intuitive. The Legend’s excellent implementation of multitouch comes to play agin. Image browsing is very simple — faster finger strokes for browsing through a large number of images, slower ones for viewing images one by one. Pinch zoom is very precise, too.
Intensive use of all the Legend’s functions allows for a battery life of less than two days. When your initial enthusiasm and the impulse for constant fidgeting with Legend ebb, battery life will, as usual, increase.
Since the screen is not very large and its resolution is not excessively high, longer battery life would be expected. However, this handset uses 3G and Wi-Fi rather heavily. Furthermore, since many applications require GPS, its huge energy requirements are more understandable and acceptable.