Review: HTC Magic

HTC is really doing a good job in designing great phones. After the amazing Diamond 2, HTC bring us another great phone, HTC Magic. The 2nd Android phone in the world. The first Android running cupcake and without a keyboard.
The HTC Magic comes in 2 colours, Black and White. I kinda like the white version (and luckily my review unit is white too). I saw the black version during the launch event and it is quite a finger print magnet. Oh well, it’s hard to find good looking phone that doesn’t attracts fingerprints nowadays. The HTC Magic has a 3.2 inch touch screen, 116g and 11.3 x 5.556 x 1.365 cm. You get the usual HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0, WIFI and GPS that you find on all respectable Smartphone. 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus and video recording capabilities. The HTC Magic has 512mb ROM and 288mb RAM which you can expand with a microSD card. And a digital compass which I think all Android phone must have as there are quite a number of Android applications that makes use of this feature.
One thing that is sadly missing from the HTC Magic is the 3.5mm jack. You plug the supplied earpiece into the ExtUSB instead. It’s the same ExtUSB found on most HTC phones (which we found out that it also supports Mini USB too).
Like the HTC Dream (or Singtel Dream as they call it in Singapore), the HTC Magic comes with a Trackball for navigation. The good thing about this trackball is that it glows when there is a unread SMS. Cool feature. Trackball is pretty good for navigations and scrolling thru text that you are typing. But I’m not sure what will happen after prolong usage. Hope it doesn’t end up like my mighty mouse which refuse to scroll down after long usage.
The HTC Magic is designed with a slight curve at the bottom. I find this curve pretty useful when you rotate your phone to landscape. The curve actually provides more grip. Pretty useful when using the camera or some cool Android applications like Wikitude and Sky Map.
HTC is well known for making changes to the OS that their phones are using. We saw the beautiful job they did with TouchFLO 3D on Windows Mobile. (By the way, did I mention that if you ever going to force me to use a window mobile phone, make sure it comes with TouchFLO 3D?) HTC didn’t make any drastic changes to the Android interface since the user interface is already quite intuitive. The interface is very responsive and scrolling is a breeze. But HTC did improve on the keyboard which I really love. The virtual keyboard on HTC Magic is pretty good. Much better than the original virtual keyboard. I’m able to adapt myself to the HTC Magic’s virtual keyboard very quickly since I’m already quite used to the iPhone’s keyboard. The only difference is that the iPhone is 3.5 inch while the HTC Magic is 3.2 inch. But the smaller screensize didn’t pose much problem for the keyboard. There is predictive text too which auto-corrects your typo. And iPhone users will be happy to learn that pressing SPACE twice on HTC Magic’s virtual keyboard will also give you a fullstop. (I’m not sure if this is the same for default Android keyboard) The dialer has also been improved by HTC.
HTC also added Microsoft Exchange support on the HTC Magic. Note that Microsoft Exchange support is not by Android itself. So you will not be able to find Microsoft Exchange on other phone by default unless the manufacturer also add Microsoft Exchange. Other apps by HTC includes a PDF viewer and Quick Office.
Speaking about apps on Android, I was told that Android Market now has more than 3200 apps and still growing. OK, honestly speaking, I was expecting the number to be much higher. I think it’s mainly because there is only 1 Android phone in the market currently and not all countries support Android market that sells apps. Currently, developers can’t sell their apps in Singapore yet. I heard they are working on it and should be ready by end of the year. So in the meantime, you can only download free apps in the Android Market, which offers quite a good selection of applications. I see several localize applications like Foyage, Straits Times, iToday, SG Buses (which isn’t working currently as NextBus is down) and buUuk. Our friends from CodeAndroid also has a RSS widget in the Android market. Let’s wait for more developers to take up Android platform. With the digital compass found on HTC Dream and HTC Magic, developers can do a lot of amazing mobile applications.
I only played with the HTC Magic for less than a day as it is currently the hottest product by HTC. Everyone is asking for the review unit. And honestly speaking, I’m loving this phone already. I think HTC did a very good job on the HTC Magic. It is certainly going to be on my highly recommended smartphone list.
The HTC Magic will retail at S$1048 without contract. It will be available in early June on all 3 telco in Singapore. Let’s hope that the pricing with contract will be more competitive.
In short:
All Android phones should be made this way.
Microsoft Exchange support
Responsive User interface
Digital Compass
Price tag
No 3.5mm jack
Many thanks to Gina from The Right Spin and HTC for passing me the review unit before it hits the store in June. And thanks to Zi Yong from CodeAndroid for joining us at our Gear65 recording and showing us all the secrets of Android.
Hmmm….. Maybe I should just do a Mas Selamat and swim over to Malaysia so that I don’t need to return this review unit. (OK, maybe not.)


  1. My biggest concern about smart phones though is the response time of the phone itself. I noticed that most smart phones including the iPhone has on average a 1.5 to 2s lag time to respond to a user’s action. This can cause frustration sometimes especially when you compare it with your non-smart phone which can respond to the same action in miliseconds. Take for example, accessing your message box and composing a message. On the smart phone, it will take a while to load up as compared to the immediate response on a non-smart phone.
    Su Yuen’s last blog post..Acer Aspire Timeline

  2. Neo: Wait for the pricing with contract. I suspect that Starhub might give out a very competitive pricing since this will be their smartest phone to rival Singtel’s iPhone and HTC Dream.
    Su Yuen: The respond time is around the same as iPhone.
    I understand your frustration. But a bit hard to compare smartphone with non-smartphone. There are too many things on a smartphone already. We have to wait for them to come out with faster processor for smartphone. (Which I was joking yesterday that smartphone might need a fan on phone soon if we going to speed them up further)

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