The HTC Legend has a lot to live up to. For starters it's the successor to the award-winning HTC Hero. Then they went and called it "Legend".

Not content with it having to muscle up against Android's new champion, the Google Nexus One, HTC has forced it to compete against Robin Hood, King Arthur, Beowulf et al.

It might not be ready to kill any mythical creatures or redistribute wealth to the poor, but there's no disputing that this is a worthy follow-up to the superb Hero.

It’s got the look

The beautiful metal chassis is described as a "unibody", which sounds like the kind of nipple-exposing leotard you'd find on the kids of Fame, but just means it's hewn from a single piece of aluminium. It’s certainly a lovely thing to hold and behold.

The Legend's considerably slimmer than the Hero, and seems even more so because the jutting chin doesn't jut nearly so much. Frankly, it makes the Hero look like Bruce Forsyth in a gimp mask.

The screen is the same size at 3.2 inches, though. Seems a bit ickle and lo-res by today's standards – smaller than the iPhone’s and dwarfed by those on the Nexus One and Motorola Milestone – but it’s now bright AMOLED and does help the phone to maintain compact dimensions.

Well-oiled Android

We're in Android 2.1 Éclair territory with the Legend, with Google’s iPhone-rivalling operating system gaining multi-touch for web browsing (but not for Google Maps), as well as Goggles and Google Voice.

Despite the lack of the seemingly de rigueur 1GHz Snapdragon processor - the Legend's is just 600MHz - the operation is as slick and fast as they come. No slow screen re-orientation or juddery flicking through photos here.

A very neat touch is that HTC has replaced the tiny trackball with a virtual one. Running your finger over a tiny lens produces the same result. It's debatable whether you even need this optical joystick when you've got such complete touchscreen control, but it does look quite cool.

One real irritation, though, is the button arrangement. Gone is the Hero's sensible placement of the Back button in the bottom-right corner; it's now wedged between the Menu and Search buttons, so it's not so intuitive to navigate around.

The camera doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement on the Hero’s 5MP job, so it’s adequate but not up there with some of the Nokias.

There’s also still little in the way of internal storage, so you’re relying on MicroSD to carry your media.

Still, it’s hard not to simply want the Legend. It feels like a premium handset and operates in such a slick manner that you easily forget its little shortcomings.

Stuff says... 

HTC Legend review

The little it lacks in ability, it makes up for in style. A worthy son of Hero.