HTC Legend review: A Hero becomes a Legend
Connectivity options are plenty
The HTC Legend offers a virtually identical set of connectivity options as its predecessor, the HTC Hero. However even now, nine months later, this seems like a pretty decent package to have on your phone.
You have quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE securing worldwide roaming capabilities and dual-band (900/2100 MHz) 3G with HSPA. The HSDPA is quoted at 7.2Mbps and the HSUPA can reach up to 2Mbps.
We then move on to local connectivity – the Legend offers USB v2.0 connectivity via a microUSB port, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and Wi-Fi. Now that they’ve enabled Bluetooth transfers, there is very little more to ask for.
Internet tethering is also available via the microUSB port and it’s as easy as it gets to activate. Just select tethering when the handset prompts you to select how to connect to your computer and you are good to go. HTC have also thought of people without a data plan and allow you to explicitly forbid the handset to access mobile network internet.
Finally we have to mention that the built-in microSD card slot can also be used as a data transfer tool. Card-readers are going for peanuts these days so having one around is quite likely and they give some pretty impressive speeds.
The great web browser even packs Flash
The great web browsing skills have been an incoherent part of the Android platform since day one. Now that we are to version 2.1 things are even sweeter with the intuitive user interface even more polished and the functionality reaching new heights.
The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first sight. With pinch-zooming enabled you don’t even need the +/- zoom buttons that we have seen on most other Android handsets.
The address bar is locked at the top of the page so you can scroll down and hide that too. However you don’t need to scroll to the top every time you want to tap a new address – just press the menu button and invoke it anywhere on the page.
The Legend browser also supports double tap zooming and text reflow, which make it extremely easy to read even longer texts on the phone display. Without text reflow you will either have to zoom out until the text fits (but then it’s too small to read comfortably) or scroll sideways to read each line.
The minimalist UI is still quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, open bookmarks. The final button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).
The bookmark list shows a thumbnail view of the bookmarked pages and you get a “most visited” list in addition to the regular history.
And to sweeten the deal even more HTC Legend has Flash support in its web browser. Its performance is hardly spectacular but it’s way better than nothing. You should definitely pick simpler Flash games, but it’s good at least those run just fine.
Flash video support is also pretty dodgy with the Legend failing to open the Vimeo and Netcafe videos that we tried. YouTube works fine but it uses the preinstalled YouTube application so it doesn’t really count.
Mind you, the Android 2.1 browser has support for HTML5 and its video tag but since that is a few years (at best) away from becoming the norm we won’t be crediting it with extra point because of that.
Organizer well prepared, Office document reader preinstalled
The HTC Legend comes with the usual for Sense UI Android handsets set of organizing apps. Much like the Motorola BACKFLIP, which we reviewed last week, it also has a preinstalled document viewer, which handles office files just fine.
Again we are talking about the Quickoffice app, which has support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions.
For editing, you will need to get the paid app though. There is also a PDF viewer app that handles the PDF files.
The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.
The calendar has four different types of view - daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons.
The HTC Legend features an alarm clock application, which allows a lot of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern. The Desk clock app turns your Legend in… well Desk clock – it displays the current time and date and allows you to switch off the display backlighting to save battery power.
The World clock app allows you to quickly check the time in different time zones, while the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy if you plan to take the Legend with you when doing sports.
The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance, saving you the trouble to do a web search each time.
Voice recorder might be pretty useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo’s weather forecast for your area a click away.
Finally, Facebook and Twitter fans will appreciate the preinstalled Facebook and Peep apps, which allows you to modify your profiles on the world’s largest social networks. Not that you couldn’t have downloaded it yourselves but it’s nice that HTC saved you the effort.