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Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2010 orks, a business unit of Nuevvo Webware Ltd.
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 11:10

HTC Magic tested - 2. Interface and Specs

Written by Muamer Odobasic

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Review: Practical and reliable


Magic is HTC's second Google Android-based phone, and just like its predecessor, the G1, HTC Magic comes with a full set of Google's apps and online services such as Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Kalendar, Google Talk, Google search and Youtube.

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A closer look:

HTC Magic is on the market for some time now and already has a pretty nice reputation. This phone is basically the first step in Android evolution and unlike its predecessor, the G1, Magic looks much more stylish. It comes without the slide-out QWERTY keyboard which results in a 40 grams lighter and almost 4mm thinner device compared to the G1. Magic is based on the latest Android OS version which brings many improvements to the table, including improved touch-screen operation.

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HTC Magic is mostly made of shiny plastic in ice-white color. The phone is available in black as well, but we're confident that white will bring out the curves much better and give it that special something.

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Most of the front side is taken by the 320x480 3,2 HVGA touch-screen capable of displaying 65.000 colors.

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We received Vodafone version of the phone, as you can see from the photo where Vodafone logo is just below the speaker. Next to the speaker are status indicator lamps and the sensor in charge of lighting (we've actually seen this on Windows Mobile-based HTC phones as well).

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On the front, bottom you'll find the trackball and keys, including Send, End, Home, Menu, Back and Search.

Of course, most of the keys have multiple functions so End key is used to end conversations, turn the phone on and off and lock the screen. Send and End keys are placed a bit lower than the rest, and we must say that the design in this respect is flawless as you'll almost never press the wrong key, regardless of whether you're looking at it or not.

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Simplicity seems to be one of the focal points in the development of this phone, and thus HTC Magic has only one side key - volume control.

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Just like the rest of HTC's offer, the phone comes with a microphone and the ExtUSB port, which is used to transfer data, charge the phone and serves as audio out as well. Unfortunately, Magic doesn't come with a 3.5 inch audio jack

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Battery lid features pretty stylish design and it covers the back of the phone. Note that while it's quick to catch fingerprints, the ice-white color makes it much easier as they're virtually invisible. We must admit that the color was a nice move in the case of scratches as well, as they're much less visible than on black devices.

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The 3.2MP camera with autofocus, located above the speaker, is surrounded by a nice sheet of brushed metal. Unfortunately, this phone doesn't come with flash, a tradition which plagued HTC for a while only to come to a halt with the recent HD2 model. The aforementioned phone comes with dual LED flash, and we'd very much like to see HTC making a tradition out of this.

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Interface and Specs

HTC Magic is a Google Android-based phone running on 1.5 version of this OS, which brings many improvements over the previous version. Perhaps the most prolific change made is the introduction of a virtual keyboard, which means it's possible to make a full Touch Android based device.

That's not all though as Android 1.5 brought other changes as well, such as video recording, more widgets for the intro screen, browser update and many other things.

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The interface is pretty much unchanged from the previous model, so if you're transfering to Magic from G1, you won't even notice it.

Another interesting feature is that Magic's intro-screen is fully customizable and allows for placing shortcuts and directories next to the Widget, which is much like working in Windows. This allows for your own ideal shortcut/icon layout.

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Android's way of dealing with apps is pretty interesting. Compared to Windows, Android manages its tasks in a different way where the concept of closed and open apps is pretty much non-existent. Working with Android feels like all the apps are opened all the time. Furthermore, Android will independently close the apps which featured no activities for a while, but a click on the app will revert it back in the same state in which you've left it. Needless to say, it does wonders for the mobile-phone experience. If you decide you want to turn the app off, you'll need to connect to the Android Market and find the appropriate Task Manager, which will allow for user-controlled apps.

Our test sample runs on Android 1.6 which fixed many bugs and improved compatibility with newer devices, such as HTC Tatoo, HTC Hero, Samsung Moment and Moto Cliq.

Hardware-wise, the phone doesn't differ much from the G1. Unlike the G1, however, Magic comes without a hardware-keyboard and is much lighter. Both models run on Qualcomm's 528MHz CPU although Magic comes with more RAM, which shows during operation.

Specs:

HTC Dream (G1):
•    Android OS v1.0 
•    3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen 
•    Qualcomm MSM 7201A 528 MHz CPU,
•    192 MB RAM and 256 MB ROM
•    Dimension: 117.7 mm x 55.7 mm x 17.1 mm
•    Weight: 158 grams
•    Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
•    3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
•    3.2 megapixel autofocus camera  (w/o flash)
•    Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
•    Li-ion battery 1150 mAh (talk time 400 min GSM)
•    microSD™ memory card slot (2.0)
•    GPS
•    Trackball navigation
•    Slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard
•    Accelerometer sensor
•    Digital compass

HTC Magic spec:
•    Android OS v1.5 (our model updated to 1.6) 
•    3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen (320 x 480)
•    Qualcomm MSM 7200A 528 MHz CPU,
•    288 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM
•    Dimension: 113 x 55.56 x 13.65 mm
•    Weight: 116 grams
•    Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
•    3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
•    3.2 megapixel autofocus camera  (w/o flash)
•    Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
•    Li-ion battery 1340 mAh (talk time 450 min GSM)
•    microSD™ memory card slot (2.0)
•    GPS
•    Trackball navigation
•    Accelerometer sensor
•    Digital compass

Android Market

Android Market is of course a must-visit spot for those who own Android based device, and you'll find many useful as well as less useful apps for the phone. Searching the market is a breeze, I mean after all – this is Google we're talking about?

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You'll find many free as well as apps but there are some for which you'll have to pay, usually peanuts though. Any Magic-owner will have to come by Android Market and the reason is simple – Magic doesn't come with apps that will add to the phone experience, such as video players, file managers, games, etc. 




Screen

Magic comes with a large flush 3.2 inch TFT-LCD touch sensitive screen with 320x480 resolution, which is more than enough to display pictures in excellent quality. We were pretty happy with Magic's touch-screen and it's well worth noting that it doesn't feature a stylus pen, which says enough on the efficiency of touch-functions. Most functions work flawlesly and instantly respond to your fingers. On the other hand, we did ocasionally encounter some difficulties with acessing icons placed next to the edge of the screen. However, if we compared touch-function quality of this device to some of the HDC's Windows Mobile-based devices, Magic's a clear winner. It also comes with an accelerometer, which displays the appropriate picture depending on the position of the phone, and Magic has once again proven to be superior to its Windows Mobile-based siblings.  

Camera

HTC Magic comes with a 3.2MP camera with autofocus. Picture quality is excellent but only in good environment lighting conditions, as this model also comes without flash. This however, should be remedied in the future. For instance, the latest HTC offering, Windows Mobile-based HD2 features a dual-LED flash.

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Connectivity


Magic runs at Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE frequencies of 850/900/1800/1900Mhz and HSDPA/WCDMA frequencies of 900/2100MHz. It's capable of 2 Mbps uplink and 7.2 Mbps downlink speeds.

It's worth noting that this phone comes with Bluetooth 2.0 and WiFi adapters. Network connection is excellent, even in closed spaces, and our we had no complaints on sound quality.  


Battery

The Li-Ion battery on our test subject packs 1340 mAh, which HTC's specs say is enough for 450 minutes of usage on GSM networks or 400 minutes of usage on UMTS ones. We were more than satisfied with battery capacity during normal operation (15 sms, 30 minutes call time and about 1.5 hours of listening to music daily), and the phone lasted up to 4 days without charging. Of course, if you use internet or navigation apps, battery life will decrease significantly.

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Conclusion


HTC Magic is one of the most stylish phones ever to come out of the company. Apart from the good looks, this phone packs some serious punch – both in functionality and speed.

HTC equipped Magic with more memory than its Touch-series predecessor, which clearly shows on performance sheets.
The lowest priced HTC Magic in EU stands at €275.

Of course, Magic encounters stiff competition on this market. Apart from the iPhone, which sets a nice standard in touch-screen phone comparisons, there are also Nokia 5800 and HTC Diamond 2.

Naturally, dethroning the iPhone will never be an easy task and while it still holds the top spot in touchscreen phones, it also costs twice what HTC Magic will set you back.

Android is a young platform and it still can't properly compete with iPhone's OS, but it's safe to say that will change soon enough. Android is still an Open-Source project and we doubt that Apple's team can compete with the rest of the world, especially knowing that almost all major smartphone manufacturers have jumped or are planning to jump on the Android wagon.

Nokia 5800, for instance, is based on Symbian S60v5, another relatively young platform, but Android showed much better performance. Compared to Nokia 5800, Magic features better looks as well as superior touch functions. Unfortunately, Nokia 5800 is priced at €150 which is almost two times cheaper than HTC Magic.

Hardware and price-wise, HTC Diamond 2 would be the closest thing to HTC Magic-competitor. Despite featuring almost identical hardware, Magic packs a much meaner punch. Windows Mobile does feature excellent solutions, but it seems to be lagging behind a bit.

Bearing in mind the bang-per-buck ratio, Magic would be cozily sitting in the middle. We must admit that using the HTC Magic was great and we'd recommend it to anyone looking for a worthy alternative to the iPhone.




(Page 2 of 3)
Last modified on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 11:02
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