HTC Magic: Day 1

So, this is day 1 with my HTC Magic. It has been on my desk for longer than that, but it required my new SFR account to be activated before to work, and this has only happened today at 15:00 (quite precisely: my Orange phone was still active at 14:55, and my SFR phone was active at 15:05).

Of course, there are going to be comparisons. To my old phone, of course; but since it happens to be a 5-year old Windows Mobile device, the comparison shall be quite easy. And also to my iPod Touch, which basically offers an iPhone experience (minus the phone part).

In the first minutes, the Magic is a loser to the iPod, because of the way the touchscreen feels: there is no inertia on the Magic; when you stop swiping your finger, it just stops, instead of merely decelerating. After a few months of iPod Touch experience, this is a bit disappointing.

Then, things start getting a bit better, and I find a few advantages to the Magic:

  • First, the buttons; I love touchscreens, but for some easy tasks, I prefer a button, and the Magic has six of them. It also has a ball, but I haven’t used it much yet, so I can’t tell much.
  • Then, the logical keyboard. It works quite well. In landscape mode, I can type much faster than on the Touch. The best part of it is the word suggestion engine. I instantly adapted to it, and I loathe Apple’s choice to correct me by default. Definitely a good point.
  • Third, in order to unlock the phone, I have the option to use a path on the touch screen, which is great. I love it (others complain that this is the only option; quite likely, I will).

However, globally, the Magic’s UI is not as polished as the iPhone’s. Just to continue on the method to unblock the screen, there is a small issue.On the Touch, there is the possibility to define a delay before authentication is required, which can range from 1 minute to 1 day. This is just nice to have, especially as the device has a tendency to easy turn its screen off quite fast.

Next, a first look at the app store. Once again, a few comparisons with “the” reference:

  • It is smaller, so small that there even isn’t a localized French app store. And I am a bit afraid that some apps that I am being offered wouldn’t work well outside of the USA.
  • No image preview, or well hidden images. This is bad, because preview is really interesting.
  • Lots of utilities, including some that modify the basic behavior of the phone. Now, this is really nice. For instance, it is possible to modify the unlock method to password, and also to add a delay. It seems that real customization is possible here.
  • Not that easy to find applications. Finding a good Twitter application is not as simple as it a simple search, and a look on Internet gives a much better selection.

OK. I am going back on the Magic. More news tomorrow.

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