The HTC Magic Google Android Smart Phone from 3 Mobile is a huge improvement to the original HTC Dream both aesthetically with its sleek black design and because it ships with new much improved Android 1.5 software.
New features include: video recording, desktop widgets, Bluetooth A2DP for wireless stereo headsets, an onscreen keyboard, faster web browsing and more RAM (memory) which made the whole phone faster.
This is an initial review after using the HTC Magic on 3 Mobile for a few days. I’ll be updating this review during the next few weeks before this media/press loan handset gets returned to HTC Australia.
HTC Magic Photos
Features & Specifications
- Special Features – Exclusive HTC “Teeter” game, G-sensor (accelerometer), Digital Compass, Trackball (glows when new Mail or other messages arrive!)
- Screen – 3.2-inch TFT/LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 320 x 480 (HVGA) resolution
- Weight – 116 grams with battery (26% lighter than HTC Dream, 14% lighter than iPhone 3GS)
- Memory – 512 MB ROM, 288 MB RAM (96mb more RAM than the HTC Magic Vodafone version)
- Storage – Sells with 2GB microSD card. The Magic supports MicroSD 2.0, which means technically it can go up to 32GB (though few cards have been made of that size, so it’s only tested to 16GB, but since it should be compliant with the standard, there should be no problems)
- Camera – 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus
- 2G and 3G Frequencies – HSDPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz (upto 2 Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds) + Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Google Integration – One-touch access and full integration with Google mobile Internet services (Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™, Google Talk™, Calendar, Google™ Search etc).
- Music/Audio/Video – Records Audio and Video. plays MP4, AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, WMA, WMV
- Applications – There are lots of interesting Android applications to use
- Microsoft Exchange support – Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
- Battery – Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery Capacity: 1340 mAh (25% more batterylife than HTC Dream)
HTC Magic Tips
- If you’re used to older style phones where you have to press buttons to do everything the Touchscreen may seem weird at first. After a little while you’ll wonder how you ever did without it because its such a natural way to scroll through information on screen like a newspaper article
- Make sure you explore the Android Market and install some of the interesting 3rd party Android applications, many of which are free or low cost
- The lack of standard headphone jack is quite annoying. I had to buy a “3.5mm ADAPTER FOR T-mobile HTC G1 G-1 Phone Dream touch” from EBAY seller sitedv88 to be able to listen to music on the phone while using my own headphones
- This is an expensive phone and the touchscreen can be scratched and damaged really easily so I recommend that you buy and use the InvisibleShield protective covering for the HTC Magic.
- @MarkBennett suggests using the (paid) “Better Keyboard” application on Android phones because it’s got a better keyboard layout than the default, including long press to type numbers and T9 mode using number keys which is handy for bumpy situations.
The HTC Magic employs a battery that requires overcharging and topup charging. You must charge it as much and as often as possible. The more you charge the better the battery life becomes. So after a few charges you should see the benefit of this. Letting the charge drain out undoes this so try and charge as often as possible
In terms of drain, it depends what you’re doing with it. For example, if you make a few calls, surf a few pages and get a few emails a day, you’re looking at a much better lifespan than continual media playback.
This might be a shock for anyone used to a more basic phone like a Sony Ericsson Walkman, that does much less, and lasts for ages. Seasoned smartphone users are used to daily charging – its the price you pay for a 400-600mhz processor, touchscreen, constant ‘cloud’ interaction such as sync etc.
If you’re concerned about your level of battery usage, I’d certainly leave it a few weeks to see if it improves. Other than this, you can always turn wifi, bluetooth off when not needed, set the screen brightness down, or even carry a spare battery. Such practices are the unwritten ‘Smartphone Code’.
HTC Magic versus iPhone 3GS
My friend Derek (@ozdj on Twitter) has bought the HTC Magic and iPhone 3GS so I’m adding his comparison comments here:
- Out of the Box Setup: HTC Magic wins the out of box experience with no iTunes palava like iPhone 3GS
- Wifi: Magic thumps the 3GS for wifi reception/sensitivity. On par with (perhaps a little better than?) Touch Pro in this respect
- Web Browsing: 3GS cleans up on gen. web browsing, but Magic (with trackball) more efficient on pages with tight nav menus. Both better than Opera browser on WinMobile
- Application Switching/Multitasking: App switching is *fast* on 3GS but still no ability to run general apps in background like Android or WinMobile
- 3rd party Applications: 3GS wins for overall quality/variety sheer number & range of applications. Android has most useful free apps, marketplace is faster & apps more ‘edgy’. ;
- Music: HTC Magic still missing 3.5mm audio jack (good to see HTC Hero will have one). 3GS easily wins the audio ease of use battle
- Cloud Synchronisation: HTC Magic/Android nails this out of the box. 3GS Mobile Me is expensive
- View in bright daylight: Little difference between 3GS & Magic – quite acceptable but not spectacular
- GPS time to acquire: (cold boot with Assisted GPS on): 1st = Magic, 2nd = 3GS (but very little time between them).
Other People’s Reviews of HTC Magic
Quite frankly I was disappointed by all the other reviews I read about the HTC Magic. There were small mistakes in many of the review articles even on professional technology/gadget sites.
I suspect the journalists in question didn’t use the phone for very long and don’t actually own Google Android phones themselves so aren’t aware about the subtle features, best 3rd party applications and the fact that new operating system features from Android 1.1 to 1.5 can be applied to the HTC Dream/G1 as well as the HTC Magic/G2.
Those interested in the differences between the HTC Dream and the HTC Magic will find the most outstanding changes in its physical design. Gone is the Dream’s bulky size, and with it, its full-size QWERTY keyboard. Instead, the Magic makes use of a 3.2-inch HVGA (480×320) touchscreen display with a built-in software keyboard. This omission means the Magic is impressively slimmer, and we also find it to be much sleeker and sexier too.
We really like the size and shape of the Magic; a colleague in the US referred to it as being slim with a chin. The chin is a small, curved lip around the base of the phone, visible from side-on, which really helps to hold the phone comfortably in your palm. This shape appears to assist with single-handed operation, with most common tasks being simple to complete with just one hand, and thanks as well to a jogwheel tucked away beneath the Magic’s display.
We like the Magic, maybe even love it a little bit, but we can’t deny being disappointed at the parts of this phone that are missing. The Magic is perfect for young, hip, tech-savvy types for whom the lack of decent multimedia will be a major turn off, especially when compared with the iPhone’s excellent iPod capabilities. This wouldn’t be such a huge problem if it shipped with an iTunes-like syncing and conversion software, but it doesn’t.
Confusingly, the Magic will be released in Australia in two variants; one offered by Vodafone with a couple of consumer-focused additions like geotagging, and the other offered by 3 Mobile with baked in Microsoft ActicSync compatibility.
– ZDNET Australia
It’s definitely a lot more stylish and, despite being aimed at the younger “online” crowd, would do well in business applications. It has full native support for Microsoft Exchange email. The lack of a physical keyboard will be a turn-off for many but in most other respects, the Magic is a far superior handset to the Dream.
There are downsides to the Magic, though. There’s no standard 3.5mm jack for headphones; it uses a mini USB connector. It doesn’t have a lot of storage either; just 512MB internally plus a microSD card slot (2GB card supplied). It’s no match for the iPhone’s minimum of 8GB.
For open-source and Google Apps fans, it’s one of HTC’s most convincing handsets to date.
– The Age/SMH Newspapers
The biggest improvement the Magic offers over the Dream is its design. The Dream was chunky and quite bland, but the Magic is slim, glossy and stylish. It features rounded edges and a curve below the screen. It weighs less than the Dream despite retaining the same 3.2in screen size. Unfortunately, the glossy finish means the Magic is highly prone to fingerprints and is almost impossible to keep clean.
Unfortunately, unlike Vodafone’s HTC Magic with Google the HTC Magic on 3 doesn’t allow over-the-air firmware updates; you’ll need to perform these manually by plugging the phone into your PC via the included USB cable. This version of the HTC Magic also lacks the ability to geotag photos, but unlike the Vodafone version it supports Microsoft Exchange and displaying PDFs and other documents out of the box. It also has what 3 calls a “smart dialler”. The smart dialler allows you to quickly filter contacts when you begin to dial a number or type the name of a contact.
– PCWorld Australia
Buying the HTC Magic in Australia
In Australia the HTC Magic on 3 Mobile is available with various cap prices.
The same version has been spotted at prices around $750 including postage on EBAy including 288mb RAM + 8gb class6 sdhc card and screen protector.
The similar HTC Magic on Vodafone (without Exchange support and with 96mb less RAM) is white instead of black and is available for outright purchase online from Australian websites Mobicity and Becextech initially for $950 but prices have dropped to less than $680.
If you’ve got an HTC Magic please contribute your experience using it, comparisions to your previous phone, tips and tricks etc – thx 🙂