I just want to make a brief comment on the options available to you when choosing what ROM to install. So hopefully you can make a more informed choice.
I think the options break down into two categories, a ROM with Sense or CyanogenMod.
There are a number of ROMs available with Sense, that is any HTC Hero ROM should come with it. Depending on your Magic will depend on what Hero ROM you should download. The Magic can be one of two versions, PVT 32A or PVT 32B (HTC branded or Google branded), you can find out which version by booting into Fastboot. I own the PVT 32B, so I have only tested ROMs for it, if you own a PVT 32A I have read that Fatality’s ROM is very good and is available here but I have not tested it.
As for the PVT 32B, the best ROM that I have found is Qteknology’s. Although this ROM does require you to format and partition your SD card, I have found it to be one of the fastest out there (you can download it here).
So what is Sense?
Sense is the user interface that runs on your phone, there are a number of differences between this and the standard Magic interface. Firstly, you get 7 home screens rather than 3, and the phone integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. This is one of the best aspects of Sense, your contacts will sync with Facebook, meaning your contact photos will mimic their Facebook profile picture, their status will be displayed, and you will be able to see any updates. The consequences of linking
with Twitter is quite obvious. Linking with Flickr means that you can view all of your Flickr photos in your Album (called Gallery on the standard Magic) which again is a nice feature.
There is also a whole host of standard widgets for Sense, which you can play around with. The disadvantages of installing this ROM is that sometimes it can be a little slow and unresponsive, on the whole it is excellent, and works fine. However, you will find on occasion that it takes a while to load the home screen when navigating back to it from an
application. Also, the HTC Hero’s did not get the Android 1.6 update, so they are still running 1.5, and if you should choose this ROM it means you will go back to having 1.5 – the main problem this causes will be that some apps will not be available from the Market.
On the other hand we have the CyanogenMod (for more info or to download it visit his homepage).
This is a ROM which has been fully customized by Cyanogen. This is based upon Android 1.6, so you will be able to get all the apps from the Market and you get 5 home screens. Apps2SD comes automatic (you can install applications on the SD card), there have been setting enhancements and internet tethering comes automatically. There are lots of tweeks, and some apps come pre-installed. This is probably the fastest ROM you can find, and works wonderfully. I haven’t given this ROM justice in what I have written, but for more information check our Cyanogen’s website (as stated above).
There are no real disadvantages to this ROM, but you don’t get Sense. Which means that your phone doesn’t automatically sync with Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Although there are applications you can get from the Market
which do most of these features.
Overall, you have two options, you either go with a Hero ROM which includes Sense, but which will probably have a few lag issues and you’ll miss out on any Android 1.6 apps. Or you go with the CyanogenMod, which has been nicely tailored and will run very smoothly on your phone. I used Qteknology’s ROM, but find the responsiveness of the CyanogenMod to be so much better, and I enjoy some of the apps which are not available on Android 1.5 but are on 1.6. So I recommend the CyanogenMod, but if you
are still unsure then try flashing one of them, play with it for a bit and then try the other and make your own mind up!