As you may suspect, the Android browser is fast and the interface clean. But unlike so many of its smartphone siblings, Flash support is not available. The HTC Magic web browser is based on the same open source WebKit used in Chrome and Safari, and this accounts for the smooth user experience. Pages load quickly, and navigating with fingers is just as easy as on the iPhone.
Despite having a capacitive touch-screen, the Magic does not support multi-touch unless tweaked. This means that right out of the box pinch zooming is not an option. You will have to rely on the two virtual zoom buttons at the bottom of the screen or on the familiar double tap routine which works like a charm.
The browser also allows you to have multiple web pages open at the same time. If you hit the Windows button in the browser menu, you will see all the currently opened pages and you can choose which one of them to view. Switching from one page to another involves smooth transition effects.
The Android team added a rather nifty function to help you read when in maximum zoom-out mode. This is a small rectangle which acts like a magnifier and enables you to read small portions of the microscopic web page. You can move it with your finger and sometimes it can be quite useful. But in the end, this is just another zoom option since the moment you release your finger, the magnifier disappears.
The web browser handled perfectly most of the pages we threw at it and we are very satisfied with the results. The capacitive screen coupled with the browser's performance makes surfing on the Magic a real treat the only thing missing is Flash support.
There is of course a YouTube application onboard but Flash content doesn't start nor end with YouTube. From a purely practical point of view Flash is one of the most serious upgrades that the Hero brings over the Magic.
HTC Magic's elderly brother, the T-Mobile G1, was heavily criticized for the lack of a document viewer - a must for every smartphone, especially in this price range. Luckily, this time we found what we were looking for - using the Quickoffice and the PDF viewer you can view your office documents stored in the phone's memory, the microSD card or received via email. Editing isn't possible, at this stage but this is still a huge step forward for the Android OS.
If you receive office documents or PDF files as mail attachments, they can be displayed and forwarded. Unfortunately, you are unable to save them in the phone's memory (that only works for image, we guess). Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible tough.
The calendar has five different types of view - agenda, daily, weekly, monthly and today. Adding a new event is easy and quick, and you can also set an alarm to remind you about it.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big enough and very comfy.
We didn't find a preloaded voice recorder but it took us less than a minute to download a free and fully-functional one from the Android Market. It even gives you the option to send the voice message right after it's been recorded.
The HTC Magic features a decent alarm clock application which allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.
Finally, the Magic packs the YouTube app which partially compensates for the web browser's lack of Flash video support. Its interface is simple enough to allow you to find what you're looking for as quickly as possible.