Hands-on with the HTC Legend (with video)

When the HTC Hero was announced in June of last year, I would have made a valiant effort to eat my own head if it meant I got to own one. It was just so damned pretty.

I just got the opportunity to play with its brand-new successor, the HTC Legend – and, well.. to put it gently, it makes the HTC Hero look like an antique.

I only got to spend a few minutes with it, but I walked away not wanting to walk away. Read on for my impressions.

First Impressions:

  • It’s absolutely gorgeous. The majority of the unibody design is cut from a single sheet of aluminum, ensuring that there are no screws or unsightly seams. It’s hard not to compare it with a MacBook Pro; side by side, they look like they were born from the same robotic mother.
  • The Hero was notoriously slow at launch – and while it sped up over time, it still had its lags here and there. The Legend is only 72Mhz faster (600Mhz vs 528mhz), but that little bump (and all of the work Google and HTC have been doing, presumably) make this an incredibly smooth ride.
  • Being accustomed to trackballs, I went into the hands-on a bit unsure about the optical trackpad. I didn’t even consciously notice the difference until someone mentioned it – which says a lot. It works perfectly.
  • In terms of durability, the unibody design makes this thing a friggin’ tank. As long as you don’t go smashing the glass screen, you’ll be hardpressed to damage the guts inside. HTC smashed the handset onto the desk multiple times hard enough that it was uncomfortably loud, and it walked away unscathed.
  • HTC introduced a Exposé like multi-touch zoom control on the home screen, allowing you to use two-finger pinching to show all of your widget pages at once. This seemed silly in theory, but it’s pretty great in practice. You don’t realize how annoying it is to scroll through 7 pages of widgets until you’re given an alternative
  • After spending a bit of time with the handset, I’m admittedly rather bummed that it’s not coming to the states. On the upside, HTC said not to worry, as “the US will be getting plenty of really cool stuff later this year”