HTC Magic £400
1st Jan 2009 | 11:00
Does this Android smartphone have a touch of Magic about it?
The HTC Magic is powered by the Google Android operating system and is currently only the second such device in the UK to use this OS. It's an open source platform that gives you instant access to the usual array of smartphone tools, so you'll find HSDPA connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even a camera onboard. However, you'll also find the OS is heavily built around Google's online applications.
The handset itself is sold exclusively through Vodafone in the UK and is a good-looking device. The white plastic finish feels great to the touch and is a large leap forward from the first Google phone, the T-Mobile G1. The 3.2-inch touchscreen is highly responsive and moving around applications is smooth and easy. The onscreen 'virtual' keyboard is also a real pleasure to use.
What we like about this phone is that you can synchronise Over The Air (OTA) in seconds, so making sure your smartphone and laptop are sharing the latest version of any document is easy. Using Gmail, Calendar and Google Maps is much easier than on other devices and personalising the Homescreen is equally simple. The fact it won't easily sync with Microsoft Outlook calendars is frustrating, however.
That said, third-party tools are being developed all the time and you'll be able to use the HTC Magic in exactly the same way you would any other smartphone. The built-in camera is a mere 3.2-megapixels, which is disappointing, but it supports geo-tagging with Google Maps, which is a nice touch. Battery life lasts up to three days under moderate use, although drops with Wi-Fi activated.
Internal storage is rather limited, but the addition of a microSD slot means you'll be able to add up to 16GB with ease. The Android OS is also still under development, rather than a complete product.
The HTC Magic isn't without its flaws, but if you already make the most of Google applications, then it is an attractive and highly usable smartphone, despite its somewhat limited battery life.
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