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By Thomas McKinnon 1 June 2010

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With the announcement of HTC’s new Android devices – the Legend and the Desire, we got all giddy with excitement. We’ve at long last managed to get our hands on the smaller Legend, and boy are we impressed.

The Legend can be summed up as an upgrade on the HTC Hero, which BTW was last year’s best mobile device according to the Global Mobile Awards. It comes with the same Android goodness as the Hero, except it runs on Android 2.1 which brings with it basic voice controls, additional privacy features, live wallpapers and a few more incremental firmware upgrades like added speed.

Hardware

On the hardware side incremental upgrades over the Hero include a stunning 3.2" AMOLED display, an optical trackpad (instead of trackball) and a LED flash for its 5 megapixel camera. Importantly, the Legend uses a slightly faster 600 MHz Qualcomm processor compared to the Hero’s 528 MHz processor, which in combination with the upgraded firmware results in a far smoother operational experience.

The most striking thing about the Legend is its unibody aluminium case, which is something we greatly admired on the MacBook Pro. Built from a single piece of aluminium the devise is incredibly slick looking, but at the same time solid. While the case is prone to scratches, it can roll with the punches, protecting its innards incredibly well. The phone’s antenna is housed in a removable rubberised plastic case located on the bottom of the phone’s back; so there’s no need to worry about the case messing with your connectivity either.

Sense UI

One of the best bits about the device is HTC’s upgrades on its Sense UI skin of the Android OS. We particularly enjoyed Leap View, which allows you to view a snapshot of all seven of your home screens by simply pinching to zoom on anyone of them.

Typing on the keyboard is as good as ever and browsing the web is brilliant. In terms of usability, HTC are really doing some great things for the Android platform.

The one thing that did let us down was the phone’s battery life. It was acceptable, but not impressive. We got a day of normal use out of it, with location based services in particular draining the battery incredibly quickly.

Conclusion

The HTC Legend lives up to its name. It’s not as well-speced as its bigger brother the Desire, or even Sony Ericsson’s X10i, but bang for your buck it certainly is. O yes, we bought two for the office, that’s how much it impressed us.
Available from Altec Autopage Cellular.

PROS
It looks stunning and comes with all the hardware you need, on a very impressive Android OS.
CONS
Battery life is underwhelming.
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