HTC Legend arrives….early?

I’d ordered up one from eXpansys on Thursday of last week when they were advertising them as being available in 4 days time. I was very surprised therefore to get an email the next morning claiming that it had been “shipped”, hmmmmmm, everybody else online was offering conflicting news about when stock was arriving with some claiming it had been delayed until early April and others sticking to their end of March shipping date. The only uniform thing was that the Legend wasn’t in stock.

It didn’t arrive on Saturday. On Monday morning, I was just leaving home to walk the kids down to school when the doorbell rang and it was DHL with a parcel containing my Legend. What the heck is going on here was my initial reaction but that soon changed to delight. It had been shipped from France but it appears to be a UK model.

I’d been looking forward to this device as I was very partial to the Hero that I sold a couple of weeks ago, I’d only sold it to fund the purchase of the Legend and to be truthful I wasn’t really expecting anything drastically different or hugely revolutionary in the Legend, a few software tweaks here and there, a slightly better camera, a slightly slimmed down form factor, an improved MarketPlace for software and hopefully the 2.1 version of Android would bring some speed and memory management enhancements and perhaps a couple of unexpected extras. I’ve not felt let down….

It’s a bit hard for me to give it a thorough review as I’m coming from the Hero and basically it’s not hugely different plus there’s an element here of having to justify it ahead of HTC’s other big bad boy, the Desire, which, after all, is better specced, has a bigger screen and is not that much more expensive than the Legend. Why would somebody pick the Legend over the Desire? In my case it is down to a couple of things that are important to me but are unlikely to be as relevant for most others. Personally, the Desire would be just a little too big for me in the hand at 119mm long and a little too wide whereas the Legend is a bit more compact and more pocketable, it doesn’t feel slab like at all. And secondly, the darn thing just looks and feels like a million dollars. It’s nice, very nice and being of unibody design it is creak free and solid. It reminds me a bit of the 1st generation iPhone 2G with the aluminium and black trim which was an equally solid looking and feeling device. Basically then, my choice of the Legend over the Desire, rightly or wrongly, boils down to the fact that the former is smaller and in my typically shallow manner I much much prefer the look of the Legend. Importantly too, the Legend specs on paper look well up to it and are more than sufficient for my needs.

Right then, the camera is 5 megapixel with auto focus and a flash and on paper trumps that on the Hero and I’m pleased to report that it trumps it out on the pitch, so to speak, as well. The camera on the Hero was a lame affair and a big disappointment but this one on the Legend ups the game to an acceptable level. It’s far from fantastic but with the flash added it will take some decent snaps. I’ve enclosed one here of my daughter with her Easter bunnies which you can click on to see full size. It’s not too shabby?

One of the biggest differences of course is the screen as the Legend sports one of these new fangled AMOLED efforts and it is nice. You tend to see the difference in quality most when viewing blacks, with a black wallpaper it looks stunning and colours in pictures look vibrant. Wow. In a couple of years of course these screens will be de rigeur for all new phones and the initial impact will have worn away a bit but in the interim period we should just continue to enjoy the next step up in quality. It is also capacitive and responds easily to presses, scrolling is super smooth and in the couple of days that I’ve been using it I have made very few errors on screen when trying to open apps or access stuff, it just seems all very accurate and not overly sensitive.

One of the hardware changes between the Legend and Hero is that the former dispenses with latter’s trackball and replaces it with an optical one. I must be in the minority here as I actually liked and actually used the trackball quite a bit, sometimes I can’t be bothered with constantly having to touch the screen for all navigation duties and it was nice just being able to gently roll the trackball to move through documents et al. Oddly, I have not been using the optical track pad at all, being recessed in comparison to the prominent Hero makes it less noticeable and I just kind of forget it is there…I must make a conscious effort to get back into the habit of using it. It does seem quite accurate though and easy to use.

Right, that’s it for part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will cover off some of the tweaks that have been made to software, battery life and some other general thoughts on the phone.

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