Off the bat, the HTC Legend is a charmer. While it's not exactly the thinnest kid on the block, it is definitely one of the lighter (126g) and classier looking Android devices that one can ever dream of owning. Exaggerations aside, the phone fits snugly and firmly in one's palm without any fear of it slipping out and falling to the ground.
As we all fondly remember, the HTC sported a teflon-coated body with silver metallic sides. This time, the Legend takes an aesthetical nosedive into near perfection - the device looks extremely pleasing to the eye with its sleek unibody chassis framing a large 3.2-inch AMOLED display. The entire body is given a brushed metallic finish topped up with black rubberized parts that enhanced our grip. Other noteworthy physical differences that we spotted was that the Hero's chin has been almost 'surgically' removed, leaving a rather flat chin on the Legend, which we feel that the majority might take a better liking to. Adding to this is its thinner silhouette and it sounds like the Legend is a winner even before you handle it.
The HTC Legend doesn't stray away from the minimalist button layout that its predecessor has, but made a few nifty changes. The power button has been relocated to the top of the device and now accompanies the 3.5mm audio port. Also, instead of six buttons lining the bottom of the screen with a trackball, there are four along with an optical trackpad that makes navigation smoother and more precise. The quartet includes the usual suspects: Home, Menu, Back and Search.
Over on the sides, the volume button has morphed into a thin strip of metal with volume indications for the less adept. Also, like most of the other recent HTC phones in the family, Nexus One (the Google phone made by HTC) and Hero, the Legend does not come with a camera button. While we applaud them for their effort in keeping the phone streamlined and uncluttered, it would have helped if there was a dedicated function button for this purpose on the left or right profile.
Unlike most phones that require you to painfully remove most of the rear cover to access the battery compartment, the Legend handles this rather smoothly thanks to its clever design. Nudging off a small black cover at the bottom rear leads you to not only the battery, but the SIM card as well as the SD card. But first up, there's a safety clasp to pry open before you can make any substantial changes to either removal of cards or battery. The only difficult part in the process is the extra effort required to secure the cover back due to its curved bottom.
The only major complaint that we have is that the screen attracts fingerprint smudges like bees to honey, and now that the previously metallic-brushed buttons on the Hero have been replaced with glossy buttons on the Legend, the front of the device is pretty much a smorgasbord of fingerprint smudges by the end of a working day.