HTC Dream and Magic – Initial Review

There are some benefits in being a funded start-up by Rogers and that is access to wireless technology and infrastructure. When the Magic and Dream were first announced, I sent a quick message to both our internal executives and was quite pleasantly surprised when I was handed an unopened Dream for us to look into developing an Android app. I had previously picked up a Magic because frankly at $150, it’s hard to go wrong.

The HTC Dream is the same phone as the T-Mobile G1 that was released last year with some changes to the antenna as HSUPA/HSPDA run on a different frequency than the US. I did not know this and was an interesting tidbit to find out. I remember looking at the T-Mobile G1 and wondering how comfortable it would be to have something protruding while typing. After using it for close to a week, I found that part really intrusive. It was quite difficult to use as it made for very awkward typing over a period of time. One nice thing about it is that it gave easy access to the rollerball which came in handy at times. Overall though, I found the performance on the Dream quite sluggish. For whatever reason, it waited a lot and crashed a lot for me. It’s definitely not a replacement phone for my HTC Fuze.

The Magic, on the other hand, was awesome. I generally prefer a hardware keyboard but as a secondary play phone, it does so quite nicely. It is small and sleek. In comparison to the native Dream ROM, it is fairly solid. I did not run into crashing or slowness issues. The soft keyboard works as well as one would hope. I was quite surprised it didn’t have a dedicated key for the camera which would have been really nice. While the Magic still has that chin, it isn’t nearly as obstrusive as for the Dream.

The nice thing about these phones is that they are HTC devices and in typical HTC fashion, I’ve flashed the ROM already. My Magic currently has the Hero ROM on it with the HTC Sense software. More thoughts on that in another post. I’ll update this blog with pictures in a few days.