HTC Magic review

Can HTC's second Google Android based handset cast a powerful enough spell over us to forget the iPhone? We check out the HTC Magic.

Naturally, a Google address bar sits at the top. As the scroll wheel acts as a button we expected to be able to launch the keyboard by pressing it, but it doesn't you have to tap inside the text field for the keyboard to pop up.

Does this work as well as the iPhone's? Pretty much. Letters pop up as you type so you can see what you're hitting, with word suggestions appearing in boxes at the top just tap to use one and it auto corrects common mistakes too. It does feel a touch narrower than the iPhone's keyboard in portrait mode. However, thanks to the built-in accelerometer the display will blur and then reform in landscape mode. Like this, the keyboard reigns supreme with enough space to increase accuracy and speed. However, there's no haptic feedback fripperies, and a touch screen approach is still only really suited to shorter texts and emails. Oddly though, this can't be done on the home screen but only inside the main browser or the email app.

Switching to this mode also takes more time that we would like with a noticeable pause as the screen blurs and reformats.

Ease of set-up, however, is one of the benefits of the Magic. It prompts you to enter your Gmail details but you can skip this if you don't know or don't have an account at that point. Gmail setup just asks for your user name and password and then you are presented with a near copy of the desktop Gmail experience with access to starring, labelling and searching mails. We were stumped for a good while on how to reply or forward emails but it turns out you have to scroll all the way down to the base of your message to see this. (Move this to the top please Google!).

What's missing though is integrated Google Docs, which is a shame and something we hope Google is working on correcting. It's especially an issue seeing as you can only view your office documents rather than viewing them too.

Internet browsing is first rate. Pages are rendered quickly, and you can scroll up and down with a swipe of your finger. Navigating links is very speedy thanks to the scroll wheel perhaps too speedy with it sometimes being difficult to make the correct selection without it sliding off. Speeds are good in HSDPA-enabled areas, and the phone drops down to Edge and GPRS when it has to. The Menu option lets you search within a page, and copy text you simply highlight text and when you let go it's copied to the clipboard - you can then paste back into text fields.

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