Friday, June 12, 2009

HTC Magic: First Impressions (Updated, full)

By Benedict Wee

The courier just dropped by and delivered my HTC Magic which I ordered from a 3rd party supplier because I wouldn't wait for Vodafone's non-existent release date. Will be positing my impressions as I start using it:

9.13 am: It's arrived!! Yay!!

9.14 am: Hmm, the box the phone came in looks cheap and badly designed. Like those China phones you get on Trademe. But it's what's inside that matters no?

Phone has a plastic protector surrounding it with an amusing caution on the front:

"... Please remove the device from your pants when sitting down..." 

9.15 am: Argh.. trying to open to back of the mobile but don't know how to. 

9.16 am: Oh, looked at the Quick Start Guide and it comes off the same way most phones do.

9.17 am: Took out charger and starting to charge the phone. Oooh! It comes with a 2GB micro SD card! Good thing cause I thought I had to go search for one online. Other stuff that came with the phone: Data cable to connect to PC, Pouch, mini-USB 2.0 Earphones (they do not have a standard headphone jack so don't expect this to be your mp3 player), warranty statement and a list of international HTC care numbers (there is one for New Zealand).

9.20 am: Reading the specs of the Magic:
  • Processor: 528 MHz with 288MB of RAM which is pretty good since the new iPhone 3GS's is 600MHz and 256 MB RAM. 
  • Network: 900/2100 MHz which means it'll work perfectly on Vodafone, not so much Telecom whose network is 850/2100 MHz.
  • Capable of up to 2Mbps up-link and 7.2 Mbps down-link speeds which doesn't really mean anything since our connection doesn't go that high.
  • Other connections: GPS, Bluetooh 2.0 and WiFi.
  • Camera: 3.2 MP with autofocus.
  • Audio: plays Mp3s and assorted audio files (AAC, AAC+, WMA, WAV, MIDI etc..).
  • Video: Plays Mp4s and 3GP (the video format most mobiles use).
  • Battery: Talk time up to 450 mins, Standby 420 hours.
  • Expansion Slot: microSD (Which they included in the package).
9.33 am: Going to start prepping my Google account to sync with the phone. More impressions later. 

11.30 am: Found a program that syncs contacts and calendars between OSX (Mac), Google, MSN Hotmail (Windows Live), Outlook (and Express), Windows Mail and Yahoo onto one site. It's pretty neat and very convenient. It's called Plaxo

12.15 pm: Put in my SIM and microSD card. This phone is pretty light (116 gm) and slightly shorter than the iPhone. Its screen is smaller though. The Magic is taking me through the keyboard tutorial, it's pretty much the same as the iPhone except there are more options of words to use from if you type wrongly. Also a neat feature, should you choose to use the wrong word you keyed in because it might be text language or slang (i.e. yup) it will be saved in the dictionary for future use. It's started to ask me for my Google account. Will skip it cause I don't wanna use my mobile's 3G network. Went to Settings and configured WiFi connection and logged in with my Google account..

My home screen

12.17 pm: .. and my contacts, calendar and email are synced. That was pretty fast. The interface is smooth like the iPhone's; homepages are navigated with finger swipes while moving app icons are done by holding them down. There are slight differences, like a tab containing all the apps on the phone at the bottom which you pull up. Sorta like accessing Program Files from the Start button on Windows. If you want to remove the icon on the screen hold and drag it into the bottom tab which turns into a bin symbol. This does not delete the app however, it just removes the shortcut. The other difference is a drop down notification bar on the top. If you see icons on the upper left of your mobile it means that you have received something (like a text or email or finished downloading an app). Just pull down the bar like you did with the bottom tab to preview and access the thing you were notified of and to clear all notifications. Heading into the Android Market to download apps now. 

The bottom tab pulled up

The notifications tab pulled down

12.30 pm: Have downloaded most apps I researched on but can't find the others. Curious that the apps I could find do not require payment, in fact all of the apps I see on the Market are free. Will do some research online and ask Ben on his blog if he's got the same problem. Meanwhile arranged the phone lock security feature from Settings. It looks pretty cool (circles are arranged 3x3 and you trace a figure on them to form an unlock key) but at the end of the day it's just a glorified keypad. 

The unlock screen
1 pm: Oh alright, turns out that paid apps on Android Market will be rolled out region by region because of exchange rates (USD) and is dependent on the carrier of the country. Since ours is Vodafone and they've yet to release the Magic, I won't be able to download paid apps till they launch phone. Poo. 

Meanwhile I've learnt the difference between an icon app and a widget. The icons have to be touched before an application is run (e.g touch the Messaging icon to access the texts) while widgets (similar to the ones on Windows Vista and Mac) are applications that are run from your home screen and usually take up more screen space than an icon does. Google has included widgets like an analog clock and the Google search bar with others like Google Calendar and a music player which can be accessed by touching an empty space on the home screen then choosing 'Widgets'. Other widgets like weather can be downloaded from the Market.

2 pm: Been trying out the Camera and Camcorder functions. Works pretty well and makes me wonder why these were touted as new features for the iPhone 3GS when they've been around for a long time now (the compass was present in the Magic's predecessor, the G1). 

The Digital Compass app.

9 pm: Drove 4 hours to Christchurch and played with the Digital Compass and Google Maps, it's pretty cool the way the map orientates itself with the help of the compass so you know which way you're heading. However the No Signal Alert app got a tad annoying beeping in and out of reception so I turned it off. Text messaging is the same with the iPhone, messages are displayed in a conversation method (Your text, replier's text, your reply text etc.) instead of individual text boxes.  

My first impressions of the HTC Magic are pretty positive and I do like using the Android OS, it feels like I'm using a mobile version of Windows (the actual WindowsMobile OS is crap). Will continue to use the phone for awhile before posting a review which will come up in a couple of days.  


  1. How much did you have to pay for it?

  2. Different importers charge between $1200-$1400. Paid slightly lower that.