Digital Life: Legend has it, but so does iPhone
Apple's iPhone has remained king of the smart-phone hill for almost three years, easily repelling limp challenges from Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, among others.
But the advancing army of touch-screen phones based on Google's Android software is finally putting up a real fight.
HTC's Hero phone, launched before Christmas, could credibly claim to be the equal if not the better of the iPhone in many areas. And now HTC brings us the new Legend phone, which is essentially a retooled, refined version of the Hero.
But with Vodafone now selling the iPhone, bringing more choice if not much price competition to the market, how does the Legend stack up against the Apple maestro?
In a word, brilliantly. In certain respects, it even manages to makes the iPhone look a bit dowdy. And yet the pretender to the throne has two key snags holding it back, of which more later.
The Legend is the first Android phone in Ireland to use the latest and greatest version of Google's software. Visually almost unchanged and still very slick, it incorporates some nifty tweaks under the hood.
The little touches added by HTC -- such as the beautiful weather widget and handy shortcuts -- do a much better job than the iPhone of bringing all your important items/notifications into one place on the home screen.
Then there's the physical attraction of the phone itself, ironically mimicking the appealing brushed-metal look found in Apple's MacBooks.
Overall, the Legend trumps the Hero by virtue of its speed, slightly better battery life and FM radio.
But the iPhone is far from being counted out in this prizefight. For one, it's now available on two networks.
The Legend is stuck on just one -- Meteor, whose 3G network can't hold a candle to that of Vodafone or O2. There's not much point in having a great smartphone if it isn't accompanied by widespread high-speed 3G coverage.
The HTC's other Achilles heel lies in the apps department. Google has yet to sanction paid-for apps in Ireland, so the catalogue looks pitifully bare besides iPhone's vast array.
The Apple phone also keeps its edge in multimedia, handling music/video with a grace far beyond that of Android.
Before you decide, remember too HTC 's upcoming Desire phone does everything the Legend can, but with a bigger screen. And inevitably Apple will release an updated iPhone in June.
* HTC Legend costs €130 on Meteor contract of €55pm but supplied memory card is only 2GB. Vodafone 16GB iPhone costs €130 on contract of €60pm