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Tough to beat

When you're reviewing mobile phones on a regular basis, it can take a lot to impress you and such phones are few and far in between. The HTC Legend is one such handset.

tech reviews Updated: May 04, 2010 18:32 IST
Shayne Rana

When you're reviewing mobile phones on a regular basis, it can take a lot to impress you and such phones are few and far in between. The HTC Legend is one such handset. It's designed to look good, feel good and function efficiently. Here's a closer look.

Form factor
Sticking, in part, to the traditional HTC design of the 'chinned' handset, the Legend's body is also constructed out of a single block of aluminum. This has its benefits when it comes to style but the smooth texture makes the handset a little hard to grip. A small portion of the rear pops out and a compartment has to be opened to access the battery, MicroSD and SIM card slots. Unfortunately, this is not a hot swap option. Instead of a trackball as in the Hero, HTC has gone with an optical track pad for navigation.

The 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display sports a 320 x 480 pixel resolution and multi-touch for most features.

On one side are the volume/zoom keys. A 3.5 mm handsfree socket and screen lock button are located on the top with a micro USB port at the bottom. Irrespective of the slightly slick surface, the Legend is a really good looking handset.

Interface
With its Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz processor, the Legend runs Android v2.1 fairly smoothly. I only noticed a slight delay in the music player. When flipping through songs, the track changed immediately with the name following a second or so later. Other than that, whether it is customising HTC's user interface to your specific needs or switching to personalised desktops that you can create using the Personalisation function, it all works perfectly. Android 2.1 or Éclair as it is called, is not all that different from previous editions but the setting options are more colourful and the widgets are more spectacular than before. Sense UI is by far one of the best interfaces for mobile handsets.

Media
The music player is capable of providing clear audio at a decently high decibel levels. All tones are audible at a very balanced level. But I think it's about time Android allowed for customisation of audio with EQ presets. The preloaded FM radio picked up signals quite clearly in most places. The voice recorder allows you to comfortably keep the handset at least three feet away from you and still get clear voice recordings. MPEG4 and 3GP videos including MP4 videos formats for the iPhone played without a hitch. However, HTC should take DivX and XviD codec support so we don't have to convert videos all the time. HTC's Teeter ball game is the only one preloaded. You can download games, apps etc. off the Android Market. One minor issue is that the ringer/speakerphone is a bit low.

Connectivity
The Legend has got it all when it comes to connectivity - from 3G with HSDPA speeds up to 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA up to 2 Mbps to EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and of course USB 2.0 for data transfer or hooking the handset up to your laptop for Internet. Push Mail aside, you can also access MS Exchange, ActiveSync and any other POP or IMAP supported accounts. Social networking on an Android handset is usually convenient and the Legend doesn't disappoint. You can integrate your Facebook and Google account address with your phone book in a snap. You may have manually link a few contacts, but the system provides enough assistance.

Apart from the standard issue Facebook and Twitter (HTC Peep) apps that are preloaded, HTC has also included FriendStream, which allows you to simultaneously update both your Twitter and Facebook accounts from one app. The browser is a pleasure to use but for an even better surfing experience you might want to go with Opera. It's not preloaded but it's available via the Android Market.

A separate Gtalk application and a YouTube app are also available. HTC's weather application integrates with one of the clocks for the desktop and also has a stand alone full page widget. Images can be uploaded and shared to all the social networking websites like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Picasa or sent as emails right from the picture itself. A preloaded app to a new social networking site called Plurk is also available. An RSS feed reader is also on board.

The Legend also comes with a built-in GPS module for Google Maps and GeoTagging images. HTC's Footprints app is also preloaded to make tagging and updating images with data a lot easier.

Miscellaneous features
Mundane features like a calculator, a calendar that syncs automatically with your Facebook and Google accounts and a desk clock feature are all present. A version of QuickOffice is available for viewing MS document files including .PPS and .PPT formats. A .PDF reader is also present. Information can also be backed up on to your memory card in case you need to format or reset the handset. It also supports Text to Speech.

Camera
The 5-megapixel camera with its LED flash is another asset to the handset's features. It comes with touch-focus White-Balance, ISO settings up to 800 and a Self-timer. Picture quality is really quite good. Colours are quite vivid and the level of sharpness is quite good for a mobile phone camera.

Battery
While the battery life is above average, the handset heats up when it's in use and while charging. If you're an avid social networker, you'll get as much as a day and half for usage. Talk time averaged at four hours.