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.

When it comes to video and music, storage is limited only by the size of your microSD card. This is located behind the cover on the rear. It's a sensible approach and gives you far more flexibility than the iPhone's non- expandable memory.

However, for all of the storage space, it's a bugbear that you can't easily download files off the internet and copy them back onto your PC.

Finally, we have battery life. HTC has made strides here. In our tests, with very light use the occasional email, a little downloading, and some calls - we got four days of standby out of it. However, when we spent a day hammering it, with a lot of browsing and GPS use, it lasted less than 24 hours. Still we'd say it's on a par the iPhone.

Taken as a whole though, the Magic is certainly a very pleasant phone to use and it's certain to win over many. As an alternative to the iPhone, it's a very strong contender, and as Google develops the Android OS and the Marketplace apps increase in quality and quantity then it will only get stronger.

It's still doesn't have quite the premium feel of the iPhone, and that remains at the top of the tree, but the Magic is suitably priced at 30 a month with no outlay for the phone, which makes it a cheaper option over the life of the contract.

However it's hard not to ignore that other Android phones - from the likes of Samsung are et al - on their way, not to mention a likely iPhone upgrade coming this summer. There's also the not insignificant point that the iPhone now supports Exchange out of the box and Android does not - though again third-party solutions are available. The iPhone then wins for even slicker hardware, and wider applications support, which gives it the edge for business users.

Verdict

If you’ve been waiting for the second generation Google phone this is a significant improvement over the G1. It’s light, generally well featured and is easy to use, but the lack of native Exchange support may put off some business users. And with other Android handsets on their way, not to mention a new iPhone, it might be worth adopting a wait-and-see approach.

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