HTC announced and started shipping the Legend in Europe earlier this year. Well, it’s finally arrived on North American shores and we have been putting it through the paces to see how it stacks up. The HTC Legend is current available in Canada from Bell and Virgin Mobile. While there’s no official word from HTC, it’ is expected that a US carrier will be adding the Legend to their line up. Bell and Virgin are selling the exact same phone – there are no external carrier markings on the device and the specs are identical. The only difference you will find between these two carriers is the price of the phone. Bell is asking $399 for the device without a contract, while Virgin (a discount carrier owned by Bell) is asking $349. I found the choice pretty easy to make and saved myself $50.
When it comes to hardware specifications, the HTC Legend is not considered one of these super-spec’ed devices that are currently hitting the market. However, the Legend has it where it counts, especially when you think about the price point of the device.
- Processor – 600MHz Qualcomm 7227
- Operating System – Android 2.1
- Memory – ROM: 512MB / RAM: 384MB
- Display – 3.2 inch AMOLED touch screen / 320×480 HVGA
- Network – HSPA/WCDMA / 850, 1900 MHz / Quad-band GSM, GPRS, Edge
- GPS – Internal Antenna
- Camera – 5 megapixel camera with auto focus and flash
- Bluetooth – 2.1
- Wi-Fi – 802.11 b/g
- Battery Capacity – 1300 mAh
- Dimensions – 112 x 56.3 x 11.5 mm (4.41 x 2.22 x 0.45 inches)
- Weight – 126 grams (4.44 ounces) with battery
If you’re looking at those specs and think they sound familiar, you would be right. The Legend is almost exactly the same as the HTC Hero. There are 3 differences when you run down the specifications page – 1) Processor, 2) Memory, and 3) Android version.
The processor on the Hero is a little slower at 528 MHz, but I don’t think it’s enough that you will notice it. I found the Hero had more than enough power to do everything I wanted, and the Legend is no different. For memory, the Hero has the same size of ROM memory – 512MB. The amount of RAM has gone from 288MB on the Hero to 384MB on the Legend. Again, not a big difference. Google has been pushing hard on Android, and this difference is a significant one; the version of Android on the Hero is 1.6 – on the Legend it’s 2.1. There has been a number of improvements between these versions. All things being equal, you’re better off with 2.1 over 1.6. In this case, things aren’t even close to equal as the Hero is older, has a slower processor with less memory and it costs more. So the choice is simple – Legend!
Sometimes the specs doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about a device. The Legend may appear to be very similar to the Hero, but there is a number of differences outside of that spec sheet, so enough with the spec sheet.
When you look at the Legend you can’t help but notice the beautiful screen filling the front of this device. It’s an AMOLED screen offering brilliant color while using less power. I’ve been using the HTC HD2 for months and I was under the impression that the HD2’s screen was amazing. It is, until you see the screen on the Legend. I just wish the Legend had a 4.3 inch screen like the HD2.
The picture above shows the HTC Legend (Left) beside the HTC HD2 (Right). Both devices are set to max brightness and have the same image loaded as the wallpaper. The difference between the colors on these devices is crazy.
The Legend has a body unlike any other device I’ve used. It’s made from 1 solid chunk of aluminum, so the front, back and sides are all connected in a solid body. To change the battery, insert your SIM, or MicroSD card, you need to remove the bottom black plastic cap. Once removed, you need to lift the clear plastic guard that holds the battery in place in order to gain access. Despite the small opening, everything fits nicely and is easy to insert and remove.
There is no trackball or 4/5-way navigation button on the front of the Legend. At least not the typical navigation controls that we would normally find. The Legend has a neat optical sensor to handle all your navigation needs. In much the same way as the optical sensor on your mouse can sense which direction and at what speed you are moving the mouse, the optical sensor on the front of the Legend will sense your finger sliding over it and react accordingly. It works a lot better than the touch pad style sensor used in some older devices.
I was expecting better battery life out of a device with a AMOLED screen, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It seems like all manufacturers are looking to do is give enough power for the average user to make it through a day. For me, the battery on the Legend is no where near as good as the HD2, or even the Hero. There are lots of different factors between these devices – processor speed, network speed, number of push email accounts, operating system and version. Even with all the differences I was able to easily get a full day out of the HD2 and the Hero. That’s not the case with the Legend – it’s usually on critical by the time the day is over. To be fair, I’m pushing the device pretty hard on a daily basis, but that’s no different than how I used other devices. For the average user, the Legend battery would make it through the day without a problem.
The all aluminum body on the Legend had me concerned about cellular reception and if it could be as good as the Hero or other HTC devices. Overall, I’m finding the reception to be pretty good. However, spots where I would normally have 1 bar I’m finding that I have none. Occasionally I will find that I don’t have a data connection at all. HTC’s other devices like HD2 and Hero didn’t have these blackout spots. But don’t confuse this with poor or slow connections. I’ve had some great speeds on upload/downloads – far better than I’ve seen on other devices. It just appears that the low end of cellular reception isn’t where other devices have been.
All things considered, the HTC Legend is a great device – from the AMOLED screen, to the super fast HSPA network speeds, from Android 2.1 to HTC Sense, from a solid aluminum body to a 5 mega-pixel camera with LED flash. There’s lots of goodness in the Legend and you simply can’t beat the price – $350 Canadian (~$339.45 USD).