HTC Magic review

The second Google Android phone finally lands: with new features and an upgraded interface, it's a belter

HTC Magic
The HTC Magic is a vast improvement on the first Android phone - the T-Mobile G1

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Given the target audience for the HTC Magic (and the iPhone audience it's competing for) it's once again perplexing that the manufacturers didn't focus more on the media capabilities of the device.

No 3.5mm headphone jack

The first omission is a 3.5mm headphone jack for using your own headphones - and to further the misery the supplied headphones cannot be changed for your own cans or buds, so you're forced to make do with HTC's frankly average (at best) headphones.

Of course, you could pair with a Bluetooth set to listen to stereo audio (and we genuinely are happy that HTC has included this from the off) but the proportion of users out there that have a set is pretty miniscule.

The media options themselves are fairly bog standard. There's a standalone music client, which is capable of background playing (with direct access available from the notifications bar) and there's also video playback, accessed through the gallery, which is divided into pictures and video.

Music is available in the usual Album, Artist, Song and Playlist flavours, with party shuffle on top, for those countless moments when you're in a silent party and you need a mobile phone to get it all started.

Tinny headphones

As mentioned above, being forced to use the headphones is a real let down, as sonically they give basic, tinny sound and don't fit well in the ears. Surely HTC could have taken its cues from Asian neighbours Samsung and bundled some semi-decent buds?

Video is basic but more than functional. Fast forwarding, pausing and rewinding are available, and scrolling through the video using the status bar was nice and accurate.

Once again, the common gripe of a screen to small to watch a movie rears its head (as well as a fairly poor contrast ratio, as you can see by the picture) and you wouldn't want to take this as your primary video player on a long journey.

On top of that, there's a good YouTube client available too, with good quality video on offer thanks to being able to watch in both high and normal quality.

The option to toggle is well hidden down a few menus, but thankfully HQ is selected by default (and it really makes a difference). As you can see, YouTube quality is pretty darn good:

We (as we suspect many, many others will do) downloaded the Last.Fm client too and that gave us a huge range of tracks easily... although you have to remember to only use it in a Wi-Fi area in order to not munch up a whole load of data, and it does drain the battery like nothing else if you use it for a prolonged period of time.

Basic media performance

Overall, the media functionality is good without being stellar, and without the ability to upgrade the headphones you feel thoroughly hamstrung when using the early iPod-a-like white headphones. You can buy an adaptor, but to not include it in the box is a real shame.

Although watching the Dramatic Chipmunk on a phone in high quality is NEVER going to get old.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.