On top of the standard Android setup, HTC has also sprinkled its own HTC Sense interface, which gives the Legend a slightly slicker look and feel and adds a whole plethora of extra widgets. These include ones for checking the weather, viewing your email, seeing live bookmarks, and browsing your calendar.
The major new addition, though, is Friend Stream, which is a bit like Motorola’s MotoBlur service. It combines your social networking apps (Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr) and presents the stream of updates to you in one widget. Click on the widget and you can also view photos and links from the services. As with all the widgets, Friend Stream does suck up resources, so to prolong the Legend’s battery life you might want to avoid it. Another new addition is ‘Leap’, which gives you an overview of your various home screens. You simply pinch inwards to reveal a grid of all the home screens, then tap one to go to it. It’s quite neat but we certainly didn’t find ourselves using it very often.
As for battery life, the 1,300mAh unit is not the largest we’ve seen in a smartphone but was nevertheless good for two days of fairly heavy use. Like many large-screened smartphones, though, we recommend charging the Legend every night to be on the safe side.
Something that will of course drain the battery is the camera, which is a 5-megapixel affair that includes a surprisingly powerful LED flash. The camera app is quick to load and we managed an excellent shot to shot time of three seconds or so. The interface is also very nice with a surprising number of options including exposure control. Results are obviously limited by the tiny lens and sensor but are surprisingly good for a phone, displaying accurate colouration and a decent amount of detail. The flash is also surprisingly powerful with a range of a couple of metres. Video is also available and the light can be used while recording. Results are pretty poor though with an annoying wobbliness to the footage when any motion is on screen.
The HTC Legend is undoubtedly our favourite Android phone so far. Its screen looks amazing and is responsive, it’s packed with features, and of course that aluminium chassis is something to behold. So if you’re a fan of Android already and you’re looking for a smaller and potentially cheaper device then it’s an easy recommendation. However, we still think Android has some overarching interface issues that make it feel a little clunky. When combined with our few hardware complaints, like the slightly small screen and protruding chin, we feel there are just too many compromises to outright recommend the Legend to those looking for a premium device – particularly as we’re yet to review the Google Nexus One and HTC Desire, which could be better devices overall.