back to article HTC Vodafone Magic

It seems like ages since the first Google Android phone appeared as the T-Mobile G1 at the back end of 2008. But now the HTC Magic has arrived on Vodafone and it's an altogether different beast: lighter, sleeker, more powerful, with more memory, a 3.2Mp camera and stereo Bluetooth. HTC Magic HTC's Magic: all about the …


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton


    I'm intrigued by the trackball - why is it necessary with a touchscreen?

  2. Steve

    Ah, but can you SSH like the G1

    To me the killer app of the G1 was a thoroughly useable SSH app and decent keyboard. The compact terminal geeks have been after for ages!

    I don't feel any real regrets from buying the G1, The magic reduces size somewhat, but that was predictable as it was widely publicised having removed the keyboard. Pretty much all of the improvements in the firmware will come to the G1 when the firmware updates - UK users are seeing a slow rollout now (Probably a better idea than a big bang approach).

    None the less a good thing for the less geeky who want something a bit more compact with only a few feature comprimises.

  3. Anonymous Coward
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    Unfortunately, [the headphones] use the USB slot

    And that's one lost sale right there

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Why the high score?

    "can only store apps on the phone's own memory, not on the memory card"


    "Flash support would have been nice, though."


    "There's none of the touch focus or extended settings menu available on HTC's Windows Mobile handsets like the Touch Diamond 2 – it's pretty much point and shoot."


    "photography clearly hasn't been a focus on this handset. There's still an unpleasant amount of drag when you move the viewfinder, and pictures often look a little fuzzy with ill-defined edges. Video is worse. It's prone to blurring and pixilation when there's movement involved."


    "Don’t expect much in the way of photo versatility or picture editing, either"


    "[The Headphones] use the USB slot so if you want to upgrade them you'll need an adaptor"


    "The Magic's battery won't win any awards"

    I'm really sorry, but this phone sounds rubbish. There's a lot of "Nice but not quite there"'s, and a bag load of fairly mission critical stuff that sounds borked.

    I'm all in favour of Linux-based mobile OS' but this phone sounds like a turkey. It actually sounds worse than many WinMo phones, a feat I wouldn't have thought possible.

    So why the 85% and the "terrific little smartphone that stands up as the best anti-iPhone currently available." in the subhead?

    I'm not an iPhone user, and I have no desire to start a flame war, but I'd love to know why someone would buy this.

  5. Mick Stranahan
    Thumb Up


    that's my next phone sorted, assuming it crops up on T-Mobile at some point.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Video is worse

    "Video is worse. It's prone to blurring and pixilation when there's movement involved."

    Wouldn't that be pretty much any time you wanted to use the video option, since if there was no movement, you'd just take a photograph?

    Or do you mean movement of the camera as opposed to movement of the things being filmed?

  7. Jamie Kitson


    You could start adding the Web Compatibility Test for Mobile Browsers score to mobile reviews:

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Data Charges?

    So how much inclusive data do you get for your £840, two year investment?

    I ask as I've seen no information that it will be treated any differently to Voda's other data packages (i.e. a measly 500 megs a month with outrageous out of bandwidth charges).

    Sure, this looks like a solid iPhone competitor, but if that's the case shouldn't it be cheaper?

  9. DrStrangeLug
    Thumb Up

    OS upgrade

    If you really want the slide out qwerty keyboard get the old G1. The 1.5 update is being pushed out to those as well so the spiffy new OS features will appear on both phones.

    If you've got a unlocked one on another network though you'll need to root it and update it manually.

  10. Andy

    Played with it and loved it

    Someone I know got a demo model and it was excellent, but it's not for me.

    As hardened text user I like to feel the 'click' of the keyboard.

    Where will this touch screen madness end?

  11. Daniel Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    85 percent?

    Fully agree with AC@08:55. This review reads like a WinMo fanboi's list of things their phone is crap at, but it doesn't matter because they wouldn't use those bits anyway.

    Have a little consistency el Reg - 85% means to me that the phone has everything, is fantastic in all respects except for one, possibly two (but no more) features which are slightly lacking behind the absolute best in the field.

    This phone has a laundry list of dealbreakers, and is in no way deserving of the final rating.

  12. Ben Rosenthal

    voda FUP

    says 5 gig a month on the offered unlimited packages, not bad for a secondary device like this, still not great considering how much they champion it as a companion to things like youtube though.

    Would, but not in white.

  13. Tony Hoyle

    They can't shift them

    Had a phone call from voda trying to sell me one of these.. I pointed out that I wasn't interested in an 18 month contract, and he said he had 400 of them he needed to shift and would I be interested anyway.. I laughed and ended the conversation.

    I might pick one up on ebay in a couple of months.. not being tied in for that length.

    btw. it *is* cheaper than the iphone - 18 months at £30 a month with free phone (iphone costs £100 at that tariff), total cost £540. Not much cheaper, but..

    Surprised it was compared to the year old iphone.. what about a more modern phone like the LG Renoir? Being better than last years model isn't any great feat.

    another btw. going to shows that O2 are no longer selling the iphone.. clearing the decks for the 'new' one I guess.

  14. Joe Desbonnet

    Not available on Vodafone Ireland

    No mention of HTC Magic on Vodafone Ireland's website. As usual, we're last (and pay the most).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    While it's a shame it's not available, maybe it's time we start blaming Adobe rather than Apple or Google?

    (And let's face it, reducing something that can set the fans going on a 2Ghz Dual core machine onto a mobile isn't going to be a simple task)

  16. Steve
    Thumb Down

    @ Anonymous Coward - 8:55 GMT

    Yes, it has niggles, but lets get a few things straight.

    -If your comparing it against an IPhone, the camera is generally better. Almost all cameraphones are beaten by a bottom-in-class compact digicam. The sensor is so small focusing doesn't really matter much anyway, so being able to jab your finger at what you want to focus on seems a bit of a pointless gimick.

    -Yes, the usb headphone is annoying, but its really not the end of the world. An adaptor off ebay and bobs your uncle. If its the same kit as the G1, its a handsfree cable with a 3.5mm jack at the end - so if you want to have handsfree it works better than the equiv iphone connector. Its not a music oriented phone, not everybody wants that. On the plus side the music organisation is really nice, No iTunes, just make sure your music is tagged correctly and copy it over to the memory card.

    And if you compare against say, the sony walkman phone, they've also got their own jacks - far more annoying ones which pop out all the time.

    - Battery life is pisspoor on the G1, but its also piss poor on the iphone. I have a G1, my friend has an iphone. We both used it more or less exactly the same for a long day and both had flat batterys by the time we got the train home. Big touchscreens, 3g, gps and assorted bells and whistles eat battery.

    - Yes, not being able to store apps to memory cards is annoying, but you 192mb is a fairly decent number of apps - infact the interface will clutter up far before your memory. When you think about it, the iphone has a built in flash which can't be removed. What happens if you remove the flash from the g1 when its got apps on it? Nasty things will happen (Crash I suspect) - so you'd have that as a complaint in the review instead. Should the G1 have a huge internal flash? Maybe, but personally the included 2gb is fine, if i want to expand, its cheap and easy. Why make people pay more for a phone with flash they don't want or need?

  17. Steve

    Title, what title?

    I tried a Magic in the Voda shop on Market Street in Manc yesterday, or rather, the sales 'droid (geddit? wasted I am!) was keen to demonstrate his lack of knowledge, and rather less keen to let me get my mits on it. The biggest problem I had with it was that it simply did not work. Trying to search for something (anything!) on Google just seized it up, and eventually caused it to disable the button the web page. I did get on better with the on-screen keyboard than I did with the iPhones, but otherwise I found the phone to be inconsistent. And then there is the way that Voda deals with customers. Fine if you don't mind being smothered and managed to death.

  18. Simon J. Richards

    Wait for HTC third Android for 3.5mm socket

    According to El Reg, the _third_ HTC android phone has a 3.5mm socket for your headphones.

    It's a bit lame that the G2 doesn't, though. Same with HTC's Touch series: only the top-end Touch HD has a 3.5mm socket built in. Very poor show!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Camera is better except for the pictures

    The implication is that more pixels is better... although the iPhone takes excellent pictures with very little noise, even in low light conditions, partially due to its relatively low pixel count. Personally I hope Apple does not F up the camera in future models by increasing the pixel count.

  20. Mike Cardwell

    The G1 is better

    The G1's have started being updated over the air to Cupcake in the UK too. Mine got it yesterday.

    From what I can see, this new Android phone gains:

    1.) A bit smaller

    2.) More memory

    And loses:

    1.) The hard keyboard

    Which makes it a much worse phone imo. The soft keyboard in Cupcake is ok as far as soft keyboards go, but it's still *much* faster and more accurate to type a text message or email or web address using the real keyboard.

  21. James Dunmore

    Got the phone

    It's brilliant - can't put it down.

    Only niggles - suppose with Android, is that more wigets should be default - for example, toggle wifi, gps, bluetooth, etc.

    For me, beats the iPhone (especially on price); if Android phone keep cropping up, and it keeps developing at the current rate, then apple better be scared.

  22. Paul

    AC @ 8:55

    So it has a crap camera and not the best battery life, thus falling in with 99% of all smart phones. I don't think you can claim its a turkey just on those points. I see you did not feel the need to pick out any of the positive parts of the review either.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just ordered one

    Very nice device and really addresses all the things about WinMo that have irritated me for years. My colleague got one yesterday; I've had a play with it and it ticks an awful lot of boxes.

    And to those who complain about the headphone jack, you can buy an adaptor for about £10 that'll allow you to put a 3.5" jack into it.

  24. Darren Mansell
    Thumb Down

    Again Misguided Review

    The slide-out keyboard is the best thing about an Android phone. T-Mobile pushed cupcake out to the G1 this morning so I've had a play with the on-screen keyboard and it's very similar to the iPhone. If I had to use it to write every email and text I would go insane. I'll keep my G1 (Dream) thanks.

  25. Darren Mansell
    Dead Vulture

    @ Ian Ferguson : Trackball

    It's essential for web browsing on a touchscreen. To accurately tap links on the screen without one you have to zoom right in, then you can still press the wrong one and end up paying twice for things or canceling an order or something. With the trackball you can zoom around the page straight to links and press it in to select. Again something the iPhone doesn't have which is overlooked in reviews, but is a definite requirement. Being able to finger-gesture your way zooming in and out helps a bit but without that you need absolutely need a trackball.

    @ Richard Drysdall : The video is actually fine and is as good as can be expected. Just something else this review has wrong.

  26. Bassey

    3.5mm headphone jack

    Two things I don't understand about this.

    1) a USB headphone adaptor is about 75p on eBay so it is a complete non-issue. The adaptors are actually very good and come with a mic, call-answer button, another USB port for charging and (some have) an in-line volume control

    2) That being the case, Why the fuck don't HTC stop all the whining in it's tracks and include one in the box?

    Agree with several comments above, the conclusion doesn't fit with the general mood of the review. The review is full of criticisms, quirks and niggles and then the conclusion is glowing. I'm not saying the conclusion is wrong, the original G1 was(is) greater than the sum of it's parts. It has an excellent "feel" about it which is difficult to describe but most who use one come to appreciate.

    I'm not saying such things are easy to get across but a) isn't that your job? and b) this time you failed quite badly.

    Strange review

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just got one

    Always been a SE user until now and I've made the switch to HTC, am thoroughly in love with it.

    Always followed Android closely and being a Voda customer I'm glad they've brought an Android device out, fingers crossed there will be a lot more coming.

    @ Ian Ferguson

    As well as Darren Mansell's point it's a lot easier to use a trackball when you've had a pint or two!

    @ Steve

    ConnectBot 1.3 (r204.2009.02.18) currently sat running on my Magic :-)

  28. Anonymous Coward

    which Tony Hoyle said O2 stopped selling the Iphone?

    I'll get me coat

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mick Stranahan

    I'm stuck on T-Mobile for a while and just spoke to a store manager yesterday. The current time frame for this coming to T-Mobile (at least in the states) is July this year.

  30. Chris Teague

    Oh, they have better adapters?

    The G1 I got did come with a USB to headphone adapter, but that didn't have a second place you could still have it on USB to charge. I find one of those, and that kills that complaint altogether for me. I was juts looking to be able to charge and still listen to my cel while beating the battery to death.

    Can't fathom why you'd want one without the keyboard, but maybe someone likes that.

    Oh, and for those finding the lack of memory to install to an issue, it's on the list of what they'll eventually roll out, though they haven't got it on the roadmap (which annoyingly doesn't extend as far in the future as I'd like.) They're talking dropping a partition-in-a-file on the memory card. Trickiest bit was mentioned, what happens when users yank the card while an app's running.

    Best thing is, Cupcake on my G1, yay!

  31. Kate Craig-Wood
    Thumb Up

    Love my G2 :)

    I got my Andriod G2 on Sunday and have been using it intensively since. I absolutely love this phone! Android is designed with the Google-mentality of "keep everything remote" which fits neatly with how I operate (Business Wiki & online tools, Trac for project management, IMAP email, Google Calendar & Google Contacts for address book).

    The battery life is enough for a heavy day's usage, so it needs charging each night. No problem there.

    I wanted a G1 originally (for the keyboard) but am a loyal Voda customer. Despite my reservations, I have been pleasantly surprised by the G2's on-screen keyboard. Now that I've got used to its predictive word selection I find that I can almost touch-type.

    As for charges, it was a free upgrade for me (18 month re-commit obviously), and I'm now paying something like £40/mo for ~1000 anytime mins and more data than I can use in a month on a phone (ie. GBytes).

    @Ian Ferguson The trackball is useful when editing text; precise placement of the cursor is a PITA with the high-res, small font, but the track ball makes it simple.

    The iPhone is probably a bit better at music if you are one of those people who can still be bothered to copy tunes between devices, but I just stream my music from the via WiFi/3G so no issue there either. I've not yet plugged my G2 into my Air, and currently see no need to; I keep everything I need on a phone online anyway.

    All in all, as a serious business user who is both a Mac-head and a Google-user, I am confident that choosing the G2 rather than an iPhone was the right choice.



    Kate Craig-Wood

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Got mine too

    Soooo much better than WInMo, in so many ways.

    1. Biggest flaws I've found at the moment are that the browser sometimes starts/runs a bit slowly

    2. The native email client for pop3/imap is absolutely hopeless. Like completely unusable (e.g., read email, do send/recv, read emails are marked as unread again :-\). The K9 branch is much better but still has 'issues'. Stick to GMail until they sort it out (which they should, and soon!).

    3. Using Palringo for IM - works well but has a bit of epic faildom: it signs out when it's not frontmost. Pffft. Might as well get an iPhone.

    But other than those annoyances, it's excellent. Highly recommended - and a serious alternative (see, not killer, not botherer, just alternative) to the iPhone.

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