One looks like it could have been made by a company with a fruity name. The other sports Google’s Android software in its internals. Both offer touchscreen joy. Let battle commence between the LG Arena (AKA KM900) and the HTC Magic.

SIZE
The stylists have worked their wonders and neither of these devices is going to make you blush with embarrassment when they come out of your pocket. However, the Arena’s rounded edges make it appear much sleeker and trimmer than the Magic, even though there’s not actually that much in it.
Winner: One-Nil to the LG Arena

 

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TOUCHSCREEN CONTROL
The Magic boasts three full screens to access with a cheeky thumb-flick. Apps can be dropped onto them and shifted around incredibly easily and general navigation is very simple. However, the Arena should wipe the floor with the Magic thanks to touchscreen functions that put us in mind of that Apple handset (you know the one). But a slow keyboard hampers things and too many typos will frustrate most users.
Winner: The HTC Magic ties the points

SEARCH CAPACITY
These days you’re likely to access a search engine in the pub to win an argument, rather than waiting to get home to look up some vital facts. Naturally, Google’s Android software means the search engine has a place on the Magic’s home page. As with any web box, clicking inside this brings up the onscreen keyboard. Simple as.
There is a Google Search option in the Communications menu on the Arena and it’s possible with a bit of modifying you could get this to appear on the desktop, but straight out of the box the Magic takes it.
Winner: The HTC Magic steals ahead

MEDIA PLAYBACK
Extremely watchable screens and good audio playback mean this one is simply too close to call. Especially as both phones allow you to use normal headphones – the HTC courtesy of an included adaptor.
Winner: Draw. The Magic still leads

CAMERA
We’d like to see a dedicated button to get straight into the camera on the handsets themselves, rather than using menus on the touchscreen. Unfortunately, they both fall down here. In its favour, the KM900 has a particularly useful flashlight, with its own key on the outer edge of the device. You still need to push the onscreen button to take the snap, though. Images are good thanks to the 5-megapixel quality. LG’s model also has a secondary, lower-quality camera on the front for videocalls.
The Magic can’t compete by comparison, and although images are OK the handset once again inherits a very slow shutter speed from HTC.
Winner: The LG Arena pulls it back

 

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VERDICT: A dead heat! In the end, the winner will have to come down to a consumer’s personal choice. Those looking for a wealth of features that are more polished will be going home with the LG Arena. Those who need the usability of a phone with a better onscreen keyboard and easy access to search functions will be happier with the Magic.