When I got my hands on the HTC Magic (G2), the first thing I noticed was how slim and sleek it was, compared to its predecessor, the HTC Dream (G1). I’m no fan of HTC (hardware or OS) but I think this model is one that is decent enough to use. The phone has 6 buttons (home, menu, back and search and call & end call) and a trackball in the centre. To the left top side of the phone you will find an additional button that adjusts ring volume.
This is the first touch user interface phone I’ve used without a stylus and it didn’t take too long to get used to. The home screen is customizable and allows you to drag and drop icons anywhere on screen. If you swipe your finger across the screen, in both directions, you will see two additional ‘screens’. The one to the left displays your Google calendar and the one to the right, Google search.
The virtual touch keypad is similar to the iPhone and it’s much quicker using one finger to type. If you’re accessing sites that require a login and you have complicated passwords, you might find it a bother alternating between alpha and numeric keypads. There is an accelerometer on board that detects when the phone is tilted; this then changes the view to accomodate the angle you’re using the phone at, but this function only kicks in when you’re composing messages, reading email and browsing the internet.
The biggest draw card of the G2 is that it’s run on Google’s open source Android (v 1.5 “cupcake”) operating system. The OS upgrade includes features like uploading videos to Youtube and pictures to Picasa directly, copy and paste within webpages and keyboard with “auto complete” feature. It is very user-friendly, slick – no lag between apps, everything is seamlessly integrated and it just works (ok that was just a playful stab at Apple). It comes pre-loaded with Gmail, Gtalk, Google Maps, Google Search and Youtube. The first application I logged into was Gtalk, (the only IM I bother using) and my email & calendar synced automatically. Impressive.
Thereafter, every time I got a new email in my inbox, I got notification of it (an @ sign on the notification bar of the phone and a beep). I say inbox because I have a whole bunch of filters set up, (a lot of my emails go directly into my labels and skip the inbox), which I didn’t get notified for. These rules are the reason my sanity remained intact. I like that you can archive, label or delete emails from the device. Very handy.
If you’re relying on the phone for email and internet all day, additional to phone calls and SMS‘s, it would barely last the day. The first time I gave it a proper charge, I saw about 40% battery life by the end of the day, (which was a working day and could access my email and the internet at the office) I thought it should last me another day if used lightly. Not likely; by the next morning it was close to being dead. Very disappointing. If its any consolation, the G2 comes with an additional (USB) charger. While your phone is charging, you can see how far it has gone, percentage wise.
If there is anyone out there reading this and is seriously considering getting this phone*, I say get it – especially if you rely on Gmail, Google calendar and / Gtalk… that’s if you are not bothered by charging it everyday. Also, if you’re not aware, South Africans will not be able to purchase anything from the Android Market (unfortunately).
It feels weird using my Nokia N85 again.
*The HTC Magic is only available through Vodacom (@ R800 pm x 24 months on a Talk 500 package).
More info, specs etc for the HTC Magic can be found here.