HTC Legend summing up…better than the Hero?

Last part of my mini -review. It’s all a bit odd because I was so sure in advance that I’d really like this phone that I’d have been fairly shocked had it turned out to be a disappointment. Like I said before I’m not new to Android and often it’s hard to view a phone from the point of someone who is new to the platform, would they struggle with the Legend or Android smartphones in general? If they can handle an iPhone they should be fine with Android is my opinion.

There are a few things that are done differently on the Legend or which are new and useful under Android 2.1. There’s a pinch to zoom feature, accessible from any screen, which brings up miniatures of all your homescreens and makes finding widgets or apps quick. It can also be accessed by pressing the home button when on your home page screen, a method I find easier if truth be told. It’s a feature though that others, in particular Apple, should look at where the main means of accessing your bits and bobs is launcher based. (update…looks like Apple have taken steps to do this now in OS4)

You’d expect it to be wouldn’t you and I don’t think anybody would be terribly surprised to hear that it is indeed better than the Hero. Often with a new phone that is an update of an older one there are a lot of new things that are great but for some reason the maker changes some of the things that were universally admired on the first version and you end up wishing they had left those bits alone. Well, with the Hero they have taken everything that was so good about it, kept those great bits and added better specs and other things that just enhance the whole experience. Congrats are then due to HTC for having the sense (no pun intended) for adopting that approach.

The inbuilt non-Gmail email app has been improved beyond recognition and is now worth using even for Gmail users, the MarketPlace app has been considerably spruced up and is now easier to use, the camera now takes some decent pictures and has a okay flash and white exposure controls, there are some improved widgets, the most notable of which is the revised Calendar app with default Agenda view option and the screen despite being lower specced than the Desire and Droid is wonderfully crisp and clear but does not perform well outdoors in sunlight, an apparantly standard concern for AMOLed screened phones. Battery life is on a par with the Hero and I have been getting a full two days but I must emphasise that I am not what you would call a power user by any means.

Talking of screens, it is of course capacitive and they are usually a joy to use. It’s sensitive but not over-sensitive and it’s hard to open something by mistake just by a careless touch, if that makes sense. I really don’t think I can go back to resistive screens now as they don’t scroll nearly as well and they have sticky feel to them which often makes you have to keep poking and prodding them to get a response. The new optical trackpad is better than the trackball of the Hero too and offers surprising accuracy, I’d opine that it is more accurate and responsive than the one on the Blackberry Bold 9700 I used not so very long ago.

I’m sure the HTC Desire is going to be a wonderful smartphone but I now don’t feel, like I did a week or so ago, that I might have made the wrong decision by opting for the Legend over its bigger and better specced big brother. I went for the Legend because I thought it would do everything I needed in a more compact shape (plus I loved the idea and look of the aluminum body) and luckily for me that is how it has turned out.

It’s a really quick phone, in a gorgeous body, with a great range of apps, with decent battery life, a lovely screen, much better camera than the Hero, that multi-tasks effortlessly, that feels really really solid and compact….it’s just a great phone.

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