HTC Legend

The combination of the Legend's outstanding industrial design and first-rate user experience is a smartphone that is as beautiful to behold as it is fun to play around with.


9.0
CNET Rating
8.0
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

The ballad of the HTC Legend begins with the curious fact that each Legend handset is carved from a single billet of aluminium. Although this is a task surely performed by machines, we prefer to think of it like the birth of Monkey Magic; a lonely block of metal sitting on a mountain top, struck by lightning and filled with a miraculous power. The result of producing the Legend's unique shape in this manner (the machine carving manner, not the lightning on a mountain top manner) is a smooth, seamless phone casing, which feels fantastic to hold. This unibody approach also gives the Legend a very Apple MacBook Pro-like feeling and it makes an excellent complementary accessory for those who never leave home without a MacBook Pro under their arms.

The Apple comparisons stop when the phone is powered on though. The Legend employs HTC's fantastic Sense UI, and while you may liken the smooth, fluid performance of the Sense UI to the iPhone's interface, the two systems couldn't be more different. While Apple's smartphone system centres around home screens full of application shortcuts (like a traditional PC desktop), Sense UI is more about a connected home screen, via the use of internet-active widgets. You can customise the seven active home screens with your choice of widgets, including those for SMS messages, email, calendar appointments, social networking etc and these widgets will update automatically as new information is received, making it easier to stay up-to-date without launching a half-dozen different apps.

Although regular phone users rarely replace their phone's battery or SIM card, HTC's unique approach to the battery cover for the Legend is worth noting. Instead of a removable cover that slides off the back of the phone, the Legend has a black plastic cap at the base of the phone. Under the cap you'll find a swinging door that holds everything in place, which can be flipped open to reveal the battery, SIM card slot and microSD card port. This is an ingenious solution and allows the phone to be without seams in a way that no other phone with a removable battery is.

All things 'droid

Like the excellent HTC Desire, the Legend is powered by version 2.1 of Google's Android smartphone platform. Using this system gives the Legend a distinct advantage over other touchscreen phones you'll find in stores today, which makes it a phone worthy of your consideration if you're in the market for an iPhone. Regardless of how you might consider using your phone, the Legend is probably capable of meeting these needs, whether they include business email via a corporate Exchange server, or if you just want to stay up-to-date with Facebook and Twitter.

HTC does a great job of including custom applications and widgets to cover most usage patterns, though if you can't find what you're looking for pre-installed on the phone, then you'll probably find it on the Android Market. This application store-front is now easily the second largest behind the iPhone, and is fantastic for finding utilities for a business purpose and web-based applications for accessing web services like email, instant messaging and social networking. The one area the Android Market is really lacking in is gaming, so if you're someone who considers gaming a major element of owning a smartphone then you should probably choose an iPhone over the Legend.

We are somewhat cautious in recommending the Android platform to users that aren't prepared to play around with it a bit and discover the ins-and-outs of a new system. Android is a busy and somewhat complex system, which those who are interested in tech will enjoy tinkering with, but may challenge others who just want a simple phone for simple purposes. That said, HTC does a great job of helping newbies find and use the basics with clear menu labels and its colourful symbols. Just make sure you thumb through the quick-start guide in the box so you don't miss out on some really important features of the phone.

Media and the web

In terms of hardware, the Legend ticks a majority of the boxes needed by a smartphone user to get the most of their new phone. It has fast 3G web access (up to 7.2Mbps download speeds), Wi-Fi for cheap web surfing when in the range of a Wi-Fi hotspot, GPS for use with Google Maps, and Bluetooth for connecting to speakers and hands-free headsets. The one area the Legend is found lacking is with regards to internal memory for storing multimedia content, like videos and music. While iPhone customers get to choose between 8, 16 and 32GB models, the Legend makes do with a paltry 512MB of storage, which is shared with some system requirements. If you're thinking of getting the Legend you'll want to budget an extra AU$50 or so to buy a microSD card with at least 8GB of memory.

The experience of both multimedia playback and web browser is first class, especially with the built-in pinch-to-zoom controls in the web browser, photo gallery and Google Maps. The stock Android browser is at least as good as the iPhone's Safari browser, with the added benefit of being able to play Adobe Flash content within the browser. The Legend also comes with a 5-megapixel camera mounted on the back, which takes pretty decent photos. The camera's auto-focus software manages to create sharp images most of the time if you take your photos carefully, though we did find the colour reproduction tends towards being under-saturated. If you're a bit of a photography nut, you might want to think about downloading PicSay Pro off the Android Market, which has a few nifty tools to pump the colour and contrast up.

Performance

If you've followed the progress of HTC's Android phones then you may have heard that the Legend features a processor that is roughly half as fast as the HTC Desire, which may lead you to believe that the Legend suffers in the sheer processor grunt department. The good news is that this is not the case, the Legend held up fine during our review period, with only the slightest lag hiccups visible when it performed some more heavy duty tasks. HTC has removed a few elements from the Legend that you will find on the Desire, most notably the Live Wallpaper feature, to save you from bogging down the phone with too many fancy animations.

Call quality and messaging with the Legend is a pleasant experience, though the Legend's smaller screen size compared with the Desire does result in a smaller on-screen keyboard, so those with chunky digits may want to take a look at the Desire before committing to a Legend. Battery life is as good and as bad as we've come to expect from smartphones this year, meaning you will have to charge the Legend daily if you plan to use it as an always-connected push notifications device for email and social networking.

Overall

The combination of the Legend's outstanding industrial design and first-rate user experience is a smartphone that is as beautiful to behold as it is fun to play around with. The Android platform gives users access to a range of great ways to customise their phones and thousands of great apps to download and play around with, even if some may find the learning curve a little steep. As a smartphone, the Legend ticks all the important boxes and will suit most users' needs, from a business user that wants a fun, sexy phone, to an online junkie who needs to stay in touch across a number of social-networking platforms.

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NekoL Facebook
4
Rating
 

"The good the bad and the ugly"

NekoL posted a review   
Australia

The pro's : it's a tiny device that can fit into your pocket, if you like looking at one stand alone item (eg. surfing the internet, checking emails) then this could work for you.

The Cons: I noticed after about 4 months of having the Legend how badly the battery life coped while on 24/7. One thing I turned off very quickly mainly because the phone wouldn't span a whole day.

Second thing I need to point out is the internal memory is silly. Try having a few apps that cant be moved into your SD card and you will know what i mean.

What I use this phone for obviously needs a better processor- I have had the phone freeze on me, be unresponsive between 5-10 mins, sluggish and cumbersome.

Final thoughts: after the phone currently glitching on me and me having to do a factory reset on the thing - I think i'm better off finding a better wearing phone.

NekoL Facebook
4
Rating
 

"The good the bad and the ugly"

NekoL posted a review   
Australia

The pro's : it's a tiny device that can fit into your pocket, if you like looking at one stand alone item (eg. surfing the internet, checking emails) then this could work for you.

The Cons: I noticed after about 4 months of having the Legend how badly the battery life coped while on 24/7. One thing I turned off very quickly mainly because the phone wouldn't span a whole day.

Second thing I need to point out is the internal memory is silly. Try having a few apps that cant be moved into your SD card and you will know what i mean.

What I use this phone for obviously needs a better processor- I have had the phone freeze on me, be unresponsive between 5-10 mins, sluggish and cumbersome.

Final thoughts: after the phone currently glitching on me and me having to do a factory reset on the thing - I think i'm better off finding a better wearing phone.

 

AsusA posted a comment   

Slow.small memory..I got legend from 3phones now 3 and vodafon are together this phone is the worest phone I got it ,gps wasnt work when first i got it..they talled me take it to repire under warrenty..fall dowen from may hand,maked that more problem,when i take it to repire tolled warranty avoided i complaned didnt worked..after one year i wanted upgrade they talled me have to pay$380 to upgrade.bout the new phone now very cheap..I fund for $100 same legen htc.

SandieW Facebook
3
Rating
 

"htc legend is a very poor phone."

SandieW posted a review   

The Good:the size, the screen, battery life

The Bad:camera quality, slow

Having read all the reviews i bought an HTC legend-by far the worst phone i have ever had. it lasted 12 months into a 2 year contract and died. For that 12 months i had nothing but trouble with it- Slow

 

SandieW posted a reply   

not sure what happened to the rest of my review??

jacinta.a
8
Rating
 

"Pretty decent phone"

jacinta.a posted a review   
Australia

The Good:easy to work, simple, feels solid - doesn't break easy

The Bad:battery life is average, can lag after a while (easy to fix)

Design of this phone is great. Its very solid - made out of one bit of metal, have dropped it a few times and no breakages. Feels great to hold and browsing through it is great. Its very easy to work, simple easy operating system.

Only downside is battery and the fact it can lag if too much is downloaded on it's small memory. The way to fix this is just to make sure you download apps and stuff to the memory card not to the phone. I made the mistake of not doing that, and my memory got full and I had to go through each app and move it to the card (I actually just reformatted my phone and started from scratched cause i couldn't be bothered.) Worked like new after that.

Battery is pretty average. Can't watch movies for long. I don't bother with music cause I have an ipod. I charge it once every day or two and that's with a few phone calls, general use, internet etc. Camera is also i bit dodgy, don't expect to take awesome photos but they are still decent enough.

Overall, I really like this phone. It does everything I want it to do, doesn't do stupid lock ups or get me frustrated (like my old Nokia). I'd recommend it to anyone that wants a step up from there old basic phone, but doesn't want an overly expensive smart phone that has every bell and whistle.

allonsy
9
Rating
 

"Excellent smart phone for it's price"

allonsy posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Cheap, Android, messaging and calls, easy to use

The Bad:Battery life, internal memory (easy to upgrade, though)

It's very good overall - I had some issues with the apps at first, but once that smoothed out it's a great phone. I found it's quite fragile, so it can't be thrown around like phones before it (Similar to most smartphones), but it's great for a cheap phone that runs android like a boss.

 

loyalqueen posted a comment   
Australia

LOL - try owning it for more than six months. Then I'd like to hear your opinions. Mine was great the first month too, then ....the lagging began.

 

SandieW posted a reply   

This was my experience, too. The company tried to tell me that it was my fault-that it was moisture damaged from a sweaty hand or condensation! simply not true. it was in a case most of the time. It also had very poor reception, even when my husband (who is with the same carrier) had great reception. definitely dodgy.

loyalqueen Facebook
6
Rating
 

"Great Features, Shocking Processor."

loyalqueen posted a review   
Australia

The Good:AMOLED Screen, Size, HTC Sense, Browser, Design

The Bad:Battery Life, Crashes, Laggs, Shuts off randomly, Can't Answer calls sometimes, Slow Response from buttons

I agree with the review before me, people who are reviewing this product on CNET are all lieing. I bought this phone, PURELY for the reviews I read on here. I was impressed. However, I've had nothing but disappointment with this phone. I've owned it for roughly a year and just purchased the new iPhone 4S, can't wait to get rid of this garbage.

The battery life lasts no more than 10hours, even with screen brightness low and wifi off. It lags to the points where I can't answer phone calls on some occasions. It takes me somtimes 5 minutes just to send a text because it keeps freezing. Some days the phone will just open and close randomly. Seriously, this is the crappest phone I've ever owned.

YES - the android is great. The customizable HTC home pages are awesome. You an add any widget you want. I would not have an issue with this phone if it wasn't so slow and unreliable. Otherwise the interface is great, I love how the weather widget makes me screen wet with rain or storm, or sunrays to show me the weather. BUT - this is not a great phone. I would not recommend it. Get the iPhone instead. Android stinks, too many bugs.

 

SandieW posted a reply   

totally agree!

TonyC3 Facebook
3
Rating
 

"Over-rated and underperforming. Avoid"

TonyC3 posted a review   
Singapore

The Good:Screen, unit size, inexpensive.

The Bad:Everything else. Performance, navigation, basic functions, battery, etc

People need to be more honest about this phone- it's garbage.

In a market full of high-performing smartphones, this phone is slow, underpowered and doesnt' even perform basic functions correctly.

I can't wait to get rid of this phone, I have already owned it for too long (4 months)

It's quite surprising how it can receive such rave reviews, the only positive thing you can say about the phone is that it has a very nice display and it has good size and construction,

the actual performance of the phone is deplorable.

Slow navigation, frequent lag, lock up , painfully short of internal memory, low battery performance.

It is not a good smartphone and it's not even a good phone.

AndrewU Facebook
8
Rating
 

"A good around phone"

AndrewU posted a review   
Australia

The Good:how easy it is to use

The Bad:battery life

A good around phone that is easy to use very happy with it
had it 26 weeks now


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User Reviews / Comments  HTC Legend

  • NekoL

    NekoL

    Rating4

    "The pro's : it's a tiny device that can fit into your pocket, if you like looking at one stand alone item (eg. surfing the internet, checking emails) then this could work for you.

    The..."

  • NekoL

    NekoL

    Rating4

    "The pro's : it's a tiny device that can fit into your pocket, if you like looking at one stand alone item (eg. surfing the internet, checking emails) then this could work for you.

    The..."

  • AsusA

    AsusA

    "Slow.small memory..I got legend from 3phones now 3 and vodafon are together this phone is the worest phone I got it ,gps wasnt work when first i got it..they talled me take it to repire under warre..."

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