Best practices for buying an unlocked HTC Magic
May 29, 2009 6:20 AM   Subscribe

I want an HTC Magic, badly. T-Mobile is sitting on it for probably the rest of the summer in order to prevent cannibalizing G1 sales. But I know they're for sale by Vodafone and Rogers will be shipping them in the next couple of weeks. What are the best practices for buying an unlocked cellphone?

How can I keep from paying a boatload?
Are there any well-regarded unlocked phone retailers?
How can I be sure it'll work with my SIM?
Will I miss out on any functionality either before or after T-Mobile officially releases and supports the Magic?
What am I not considering?
posted by Plutor to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I know that there have been leaks about a 5MP camera on the T-Mobile version of the Magic, but I don't feel that that's a sticking point.
posted by Plutor at 6:33 AM on May 29, 2009

Best answer: T-Mobile USA uses a different 3G than ATT or any other carrier in the world. So unless this band is supported on the non-T-mobile versions of the handset you'll get the phone in EDGE speeds. This is the same reason you cannot use an ulocked iPhone 3G on T-mobile's 3G network. I'm not sure if you can guarantee it will work on T-Mo's network in the USA without getting it (if you have buy the phone from Vodophone or Rogers and have Vodophone or Rogers service, it will internationally roam in ATT's network). Also, if you but the UK phone it will have a UK plug so you'll need to get a cheap little adapter (the power brick will work it is just the funky UK plug that is a problem).

I used to buy plenty of unlocked Sony Ericsson phones to use on the T-Mo USA network (before when 3G entered the picture). I bought some from random people in Europe and one or two from Expansys UK (they also have a US outlet now). In all cases the phone would work fine. One of the phones I bought from a random small shop in Germany was unlocked but it had the icons and features of the German telco on it, reflashing the firmware to the default cleared that up. You pay more for the unlocked phones but a reputable dealer will treat you right.

At some conference they were giving out this phone to Android devs in the US and it ran fine on T-mobile's network. Then again, that may have been the HTC version of the phone for this market.
posted by birdherder at 6:35 AM on May 29, 2009

I unlocked my Blackberry 8800 for $9.00 from an eBay merchant.
posted by wfrgms at 7:26 AM on May 29, 2009

the HTC Magic was given away to attendees of Google I/O, and named the "Ion" You can find a few ebay auctions running currently. It comes with a T-mobile SIM but seems to support both T-mobile and AT&T's 3G standard.
posted by jrishel at 8:24 AM on May 29, 2009

So, we meet over cell phones again.

I have a G1. I will tell you honestly, it is a great phone. The Magic is supposed to be better in terms of hardware -- more memory, better CPU, no HW keyboard.

There are apparent fundamental differences in software loads with Rogers' version. The TMO G1 syncs with your google account (gmail, etc.) while the Rogers phone apparently will not. However the Rogers phone will work with Exchange. There are a variety of Exchange sync applications in the Android Market if this is important for you. I don't know if any of this applies to Vodaphone.

There are strong rumors that the TMO branded G2/ Magic is coming in July, which isn't that far off.
posted by boo_radley at 11:07 AM on May 29, 2009

Best answer: I have a Google Ion (the version of the HTC Magic that was given to Google I/O attendees). @jrishel is wrong; the device does *not* support AT&T's 3G network. It has the same issue as the G1 and Android Dev Phones; the radio only speaks the 3G frequencies used by T-Mobile's network.
posted by strangecargo at 11:15 AM on May 29, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. I'm gonna definitely want to be able to 3G with it, and it sounds like unless I shell out for an Ion, I'll need to wait. (It doesn't look like the Canadian or European Magics can speak 1700 MHz.)

July feels so far off, but I guess I can wait. I just hope I'll be able to get it somewhere other than WalMart.
posted by Plutor at 8:13 AM on June 1, 2009

Confirmation from TMO's CTO about new models.
posted by boo_radley at 5:15 PM on June 2, 2009

« Older flashdevelop workflow   |   Cheapest way for me to diagnose car troubles. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.