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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Normally not a category that we look at with mobile phones, but Android phones, like the iPhone, are only halfway to realising their potential unless you start downloading a raft of applications to accessories and improve the hardware.

And unlike the iPhone, most are still free on the Market, although we suspect that will quickly change as there needs to be a lot more choice to really make Android Market a regular destination.

That said, there are already a number of decent applications out there, and here are a selection of the ones we liked:

Metal Detector

Makes use of the phone's internal magnet to find metal - worryingly accurate, very cool and ultimately useless... although that's no reason not to download it.

Barcode Scanner

The now-famous application that uses the camera to find a barcode then connects to the internet to find prices. However, it struggled to find a lot of the things we scanned, and even fewer had multiple options for price comparison.


Based on the old favourite, wiping your finger across the screen segregates the balls helping you to fill up the screen. Addictive and battery draining after the third hour of playing...


From, this uses GPS and the internal compass to guide you in the direction of bars, clubs and bowling alleys. We only used it once to find a bar... and that was only down the road anyway. But still, when lost and out and about, definitely worth a look, even though it doesn't have an option to find a cash point.

Other more awesome applications are those inbuilt - for instance Google Talk and Google Maps.

The latter is especially cool as it uses the internal compass and the StreetView function to let you simply move the phone and pan around the location you're spying on.

Only really useful if you're out and about and trying to walk your way to a location, but still very 'Virtual Reality'. All we need now is a Google endorsed massive headset and we're sold forever.

One of the interesting thing Google / the OHA has done with the HTC Magic is strip out other messaging clients in favour of simply having its own Google Talk.

While this makes sense from a business perspective (especially when you can / will be able to download the others from the Market) it's not something we initially applauded the company for doing, but we guess brand identity is all important in this day and age.

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.