MWC 09: First look at the HTC Magic

We test drive the newly announced HTC Magic Google phone.

Vodafone's HTC Magic was only announced yesterday, but IT PRO, along with sister title Know Your Mobile, was one of the few titles lucky enough to steal a glimpse and have a play with the new Android-powered Google phone.

The handset wasn't even on display at the Vodafone or HTC stands and we only managed to strike lucky by hanging around the latter for long enough to catch an HTC guy walking around with one.

The HTC Magic he demoed to us was so exclusive it wasn't even finished yet. You'll notice from the video below, courtesy of Know Your Mobile, that the presenter has his hands along the bottom of the handset. That's because the buttons aren't finished yet. When the device goes into full production, HTC will place another search button on the right-hand side.

So, what did we make of the handset? It's a really nice piece of kit. It looks fairly similar to T-Mobile's G1, except there's none of that keyboard malarkey the HTC Magic is touch screen all the way (except for the few hard keys at the bottom that is).

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Hardware-wise, we'll only be able to get it in white in the UK, but it's still a classy looking handset. It does suffer from the same grease prone screen as its older sibling the G1, but unfortunately that's one of the downsides of most touch screen devices these days.

The 3.2in LCD (320x480 HVGA) screen itself is vibrant and pleasant to view even in the exhibition hall's overly bright lighting.

At 118.5g with vital statistics of 113 x 55 x 13.65 mm, it's very lightweight and slim, with highly responsive buttons including the trackball. Interface-wise, the design and usability is excellent, with touch sensitivity levels that are set just right no having to thump or conversely lightly stroking needed here.

What else is on offer with Vodafone's HTC Magic? Naturally, it will support Gmail and Google Search and come with a range of other bundled applications and widgets. Users will also be able to feast their application senses at the Android Market and download other applications to aid their personal or professional lives.

The handset will come with 512MB and 192MB of onboard ROM and RAM respectively, with a microSD slot for more data storage.

The HTC Magic is a quad band handset with HSDPA connectivity of up to 7.2Mbps, which should prove useful to business users who travel abroad quite a bit or simply need to keep up to speed with what's happening in the office when out and about. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support are also on offer. That network menu is supported by a Qualcomm MSM7201a 528MHz processor.

A chargeable 1340 mAh Lithium-ion battery provides up to 450 minutes of talk time and up to 420 hours' standby, which again should make business users in particular smile.

Other features of the HTC Magic include an internal GPS antenna, G-sensor, digital compass, a 3.2 megapixel camera and support for the main audio and video formats.

Our time with the HTC Magic was pretty brief but we definitely liked what we saw and are really keen to give the handset a proper test drive when it comes out in the spring.

Verdict

It's lost its keyboard and retained a grease prone but bright display - but things are looking promising for HTC's Magic phone.

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Processor: 528MHz, Qualcomm MSM7201a OS: 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 with battery Display: 320x480, 3.2-inch TFT-LCD, Network: HSDPA/WCDMA, 900/2100 MHz, 7.2 Mbps down, 2Mbps up Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz Connectivity: GPS, Bluetooth 2.0 EDR, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g Ports: Proprietary HTC ExtUSB (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one), microSD Camera: 3.2 megapixel color camera with auto focus Battery: 1340 mAh Lithium-ion battery Standby: Up to 420 hours for GSM Special Features: G-sensor, Digital Compass

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