By July 22, 2009

HTC Magic review

Can it really be a year ago today that I sat down and penned my 1st review of the revolutionary new Google Android operating system that was showcased on the all new T-mobile G1? In conclusion I really liked the G1 and was impressed with OS more than the design and function of the device itself.

Now that Vodafone has jumped in on the act and released the exclusive HTC Magic, will it live up to my expectations and prove to be a competitor for that Apple phone as well as others on the market?

The HTC Magic

The HTC Magic

What’s in the brick shaped box?

You can see by Matt’s HTC Magic unboxing video that the box is definitely small and not overly feature packed.

  • HTC Magic
  • A white USB to HTC styled miniUSB sync charge cable but AC adaptor
  • miniUSB connected stereo headset
  • Pouch
  • Warranty card, but no Disc’s or manuals.

Tight in this day and age…


Specification of the HTC Magic.

  • Processor: Qualcomm® MSM7201a™, 528 MHz
  • Operating System: Android
  • Memory: – ROM: 512 MB – RAM: 192 MB
  • Dimensions: 113 x 55 x 13.65 mm ( 4.45 x 2.17 x 0.54 inches)
  • Weight: 118.5 grams ( 4.18 ounces) with battery
  • Display: 3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 320×480 HVGA resolution
  • Network: – HSDPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz, up to 2 Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds – Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Device Control: Trackball with Enter button
  • GPS: Internal GPS antenna
  • Connectivity: – Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate – Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g – HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus
  • Audio supported formats: AAC, AAC+, AMR-NB, MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC-LC, MIDI, OGG
  • Video supported formats: MP4, 3GP
  • Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Capacity: 1340 mAh
  • Talk time: – Up to 450 minutes
  • Standby time: – Up to 420 hours
  • Expansion Slot: microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)
  • AC Adapter: Voltage range/frequency: 100 ~ 240V AC, 47/63 Hz
  • DC output: 5V and 1A
  • Special Features: – G-sensor – Digital Compass

HTC Magic Overview

There is nothing on the top at all.

The left hand side there is only a single up/down volume rocker.

HTC Magic left side

HTC Magic left side


Once again nothing on the right hand side, not even a camera button.

HTC Magic right side

HTC Magic right side


The bottom houses the microUSB connector for headset/ charge cable etc.

HTC Magic bottom view

HTC Magic bottom view


On rear of the device you can find the 3.2 megapixel camera with no flash or portrait mirror, there is also a small hole at the bottom allowing access to the lanyard holder.

HTC Magic rear view

HTC Magic rear view


The front of the phone as a flush fitting HVGA 320×480 3.2” touchscreen, under which can be found, a central trackball, flanked by 6 buttons, 3 on the left which are a ‘home’ and ‘menu’ button above a green answer key. The right hand 3 are a ‘back’ and ‘search’ button above a red end/ power key.

HTC Magic front view

HTC Magic front view



  • Great, clear and responsive screen
  • Battery
  • Widgets


  • Camera


By far the reason to buy one of these phones or should I say an android phone is the open source applications, as I raved about in the G1 review, these devices come pretty basic in terms of applications that are loaded, don’t get me wrong, the specification is pretty well up there, but it’s not until you start to add stuff from the ‘Market’ that this whole experience becomes worthwhile.

Standard things like Google maps works really well as expected, but get involved in the search function of the market and you will be there for hours, I guarantee, a friend of mine who HATES mobiles was hooked in minutes and kept him quite during a recent drive to Derby.

Anything from a colour-blindness test, to a mortgage calculator, Barcode scanners, RSS feeds direct from the BBC, Yahoo, tracyandmatt, games and so on and so on, the list is, not quite endless but definitely expanding! Add to this, things like aHome and widgets and now you are opening all kind of worlds. There is so much to add and adapt that I really can’t explain all the possibilities suffice to say you will enjoy the experience and add all the thing that interest you personally.

The speed of the GPS is a pleasant surprise. Although there is no dedicated Sat Nav software the fixes on Google Maps and things like the GPS guided weather forecast is very positive and easy to use.

Overall the upgrade from Android 1.1 to Android 1.5 Cupcake is a positive move in the right direction.


The phone is not good in white, for me, I much prefer the look of the black and as Matt mentioned in the video review that is an issue in the quality of the casing, as this one already is showing signs of a hard life. The screen is exceptionally easy to mark and is not easy to clean, which proves an annoyance especially in a smudged, bright light.

The shape and dimension of the unit is good, it is a good compromise between a decent screen without being too big to pocket and use on a regular basis, all the rounded edges and lack of peripheral buttons make it easy to handle and use with finger touch. That said there were definitely times when I missed not having a stylus, as there is only the option to have the HTC QWERTY keyboard, and although it is useable and more than adequate, I would have like to see other options such as keypad or compact keyboard, to be developed no doubt?

HTC magic_chin_and trackball HTC Magic trackball and bottom

Call quality and texting are easy to do as the screen is so responsive, and that dialler is well spaced and clearly laid out to be finger friendly especially when rotated into landscape, despite from the occasional lapse of a Vodafone signal, all worked well. I have not noticed a dedicated 🙂 button on a keyboard before, :-).

The screen itself is great, it is sharp and clear as you would expect from a HVGA and the accelerometer onboard is also a step up over the G1. It is also very responsive and in certain instances gives a gentle buzz to feedback that the touch has been registered. Such things as when moving icons or folders off the main screens, there is a gently buzz and the menu tab at the bottom of the screen turns immediately into a trash bin for easy removal.

Once again as with the G1 I find myself using the trackball quite a lot and although not a great fan this one is very responsive and pleasant to use.

Unfortunately the HTC grade of camera is up to the usual standard, it is OK but not the best and could really have done with the addition of flash and other now standard expectations such as face recognition and so on, I am looking forward to see how the new Samsung Galaxy camera with the Android OS will compare.

I have been away for a few days and left the Magic at home, alone, the surprise was that when I got back even with applications like the weather, Twitoid, and RSS notifications running and updating at regular intervals, the device was still up and running and had over a third of the battery left. It appears that the battery life coupled with this system is a winning formula, Vodafone claim 420 hours standby.

The specification is pretty good as well meaning that web browsing and connectivity options allow good speed and plenty of options, through wifi, HSPDA etc.



So here I am again finding myself enjoying my time with the HTC device and Android OS, I really do like the total package and the only slight downside for me is the connection with Vodafone, there is a real bright future to look forward to and the developments already mean things are good now.

Would I buy the HTC Magic? Of course not, why would I, with the like of the HTC Hero around the smallest of corners and also as I mentioned the Sammy on its way, the Magic is a very good piece of kit and I do like the directions these devices are going in, but please, a whole year for another model and then a few all at once?

It appears that the Magic is going to be priced out of the market with the option to buy, other, newer models almost immediately, and that is a real shame.

Edit: Now they can be seen at around the £350 mark it makes it a lot more interesting, wait for the Sammy and the Hero though and see where we are then.


Review by: Steve

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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