HTC Legend Hands-on

We've just been playing with the HTC Legend, and if we had to distill it down – hardware wise at least – into a single metaphor, imagine if a MacBook Pro shrank down to smartphone size. Slimmer than the HTC Hero it replaces, the Legend packs a bright, vivid, well-saturated 3.2-inch HVGA display and has a responsive, swift capacitive touchscreen. Check out more hands-on first impressions after the cut, together with our live demo video.

HTC mill the Legend's casing from a single block of aluminum, and the result is a real premium hand-feel. The only plastic sections are the camera assembly – surrounding the 5-megapixel sensor and LED flash, and punctuated by various drilled dots hiding the speaker grill – and the battery compartment cover; the latter doubles as the antenna array.

While the processor speed is only a minor jump from the Hero – 600MHz versus 528MHz – the Android 2.1 OS seems responsive and the widgets loaded faster than we're used to from Sense's first iteration. The "helicopter view" – where you can pinch-zoom on the homescreen to see all seven panes at once – is one of the more addictive elements; think of it as the modern equivalent of snapping open and closed your old RAZR.

Sense also brings its social networking integration to the fore, with a new Friend Stream app that pulls Twitter, Flickr and Facebook updates from contacts and into one pane. Obviously HTC's demo unit was set up to show this in a stable way; we'll have to wait until our review unit to find out exactly how the Legend performs in a real-world environment.

Still, it's a beautiful, sturdy device – during the press conference one of the HTC execs slapped a Legend against a table, with no damage caused – and a worthy successor to the Hero. Availability is in April 2010; check out our hands-on video and gallery below.

HTC Legend Hands-on video demo: