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HTC Magic Review

HTC Magic

Posted: , posted by PhoneArena Team



As both the G1 and the HTC Magic use the same Android 1.5 OS, they are almost identical when it comes to software. Unlike the HTC Hero, the interface is not personalized and what you see is the naked Android system.

Home screen - HTC Magic Review
Main menu - HTC Magic Review

Home screen

Main menu

Contacts - HTC Magic Review
Contacts - HTC Magic Review

The Keyboard:

Besides the physical size difference, one of the greatest differences between the Magic and the older G1 is the lack of a physical keyboard on the Magic.  The iPhone’s on-screen keyboard is the keyboard by which all other on-screen keyboards are measured, and we’re glad to report that Google has delivered a keyboard experience that is at least on par with the iPhone and, dare we say, is better in some ways.  The keyboard pops up in either portrait or landscape mode when text entry is needed. 

There are two main ways that this keyboard rises above the fray.  First, each press of a key on the Magic’s on-screen QWERTY keyboard delivers haptic feedback, an ever-so-slight vibration for the user.  One of the more difficult things to get accustomed to on a virtual keyboard is the lack of tactile feedback when a key is pressed, and the vibration response, even one as subtle as on the Magic, is very well done.

Secondly, Google does a nice job implementing some on-screen helps when typing.  A preview of the letter you type briefly appears above your finger press so you have a visual verification of what you are typing.  If a different character is needed, just press and hold, then slide your finger across to the character needed to select it.  Also, to further assist the typist who is all-thumbs, the Magic suggests words in a scrolling bar above the keyboard as you type.  Then, just select the proper word and let the Magic correct your misspellings.  It works just like, well, magic.

The on-screen keyboard of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
The on-screen keyboard of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
The on-screen keyboard of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
The on-screen keyboard of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
Typing in either portrait or landscape mode is fairly easy on the Magic.  Landscape mode gives you more room for two-handed typing, and portrait brings the keyboard in closer together for easier one-handed typing.


HTC Magic has the same 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera as the G1, along with improved imaging abilities that have come along with Cupcake, now offering video capture and playback.  Media can be shared via email, messaging, and better integration with YouTube for videos and Picasa for sharing photos.  Unfortunately there is no LED flash or any other kind of lighting offered by the Magic, so low-light pictures look dark.  It’s a good idea to have strong lighting for best results.  Outdoor picture results are pretty good, but unfortunately lacking in finer details.

Outdoor pictures shot with the HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
Outdoor pictures shot with the HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
Outdoor pictures shot with the HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review

Strong light - Indoor samples - HTC Magic Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - HTC Magic Review
Low light - Indoor samples - HTC Magic Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

The Gallery of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review
The Gallery of HTC Magic - HTC Magic Review

Video recording and playback is as simple as one press of the button, but the quality is merely adequate for a smartphone.  The video is rather jumpy, especially if you pan a little too quickly.  By tapping the screen, a zoom slider appears on the left side of the phone display for zooming in and out of the subject matter when taking photos.  This feature works pretty well and the autofocus manages to keep your picture in focus even when zooming.

HTC Magic sample video at 320x240 pixels resolution


After using an iPhone, it’s easy to get used to pinching and stretching to zoom in on points of interest on a web page.  With the Magic and Android 1.5, you are left with the same zoom in/out controls as found on the G1, due to the lack of multitouch.  However, there are still some good things to say about the Magic browser experience.  Page rendering is fast and it’s easy to isolate the part of the page you want to view and zoom in or out for the best viewing experience.  The Magic handles bookmarking very well, adding a current page easily or even selecting from a list of most-viewed pages and instantly adding them to your bookmark list.  A history tab is also added to make previous page-viewing and bookmarking easier.

Internet browsing - HTC Magic Review
Internet browsing - HTC Magic Review

Internet browsing

Another added feature of Android 1.5 Cupcake is improved Bluetooth A2DP connectivity with wireless headphone support.  Bluetooth is simple to connect and is very effective with both the stereo headset and traditional Bluetooth headset.  Also, Wi-Fi quickly discovers and connects to new networks and re-connects to previous networks without difficulty.

Unfortunately, the HTC Magic lacks native Microsoft Exchange support.  You can set up your Gmail inbox or any POP3 or IMAP account, but no Exchange out of the box.  Another connectivity disappointment is that there is no easy way to connect to a computer – the Magic will not show up as a USB drive and requires installing drivers and other adjustments. 

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HTC Magic

HTC Magic

OS: Android 1.6
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (180 ppi) TFT
Camera3.2 megapixels
Qualcomm MSM7200A, Single core, 528 MHz
0.3 GB RAM
Size4.45 x 2.17 x 0.54 inches
(113 x 55 x 13.6 mm)
4.18 oz  (118 g)
Battery1340 mAh, 7.5 hours talk time

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