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Review: HTC Touch Diamond
Mobile Devices
Written by Rondog   
Thursday, 02 October 2008 22:56
Article Index
Review: HTC Touch Diamond
Tech Specs
First Impressions
Touch FLO!
Interconnectivity
Camera
GPS Usage
Final Thoughts
All Pages

I have recently had come into my possession, a HTC Touch Diamond. Come join me I uncover the massive potential this small device has.

Over the past few weeks and months there have been claims from three different mobile phone manufacturers, claiming they have created the greatest phone the telecommunications industry has ever seen.

Technophiles the world over have been awaiting the launch of these three new devices with bated breath. The three contenders vying for the love of the people (and indeed their money) are:

  • The Apple iPhone, which some are likening to the second coming of Christ
  • The Samsung i900, more commonly known as the Omnia; which after a quick Google, I learn the name is Latin for ‘everything’
  • And the final contender HTC’s Touch Diamond which in my humble opinion, is by far the sexiest of the three.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=550 full_height=526}Picture of HTC Touch Diamond

Naturally, all the Apple fanboys (and girls) out there will simple buy an iPhone because of the nice fruity logo. There will also be many other users who find the iPhone interface simplistic and great to use. Others will buy either the Diamond or the Omnia because they run on Windows Mobile 6.1 and have grown accustomed to it. However, I have never ever owned an iPod, or a device running the Windows Mobile OS.

My fiancée required a new phone for her 21st birthday, one with reminder functionality. We settled on the HTC Touch Diamond. Part of me buying it for her was the condition I got to spend the day with it writing this review, I myself will be getting an Omnia in the coming months when they are released in Australia.

Take a look on the next page for an insight into the nuts and bolts of what makes a Diamond work.


Phone specs:

     2G Network    GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900        
          GSM 850 / 1800 / 1900 - American version       
     3G Network    HSDPA 2100 / 900        
          HSDPA 850 / 1900 - American version       
     Announced    2008, May       
     Status    Available. Released 2008, May    
 
     Dimensions    102 x 51 x 11.5 mm        
     Weight    110 g    
 
     Type    TFT touchscreen, 65K colors       
     Size    480 x 640 pixels, 2.8 inches       
          - TouchFLO 3D finger swipe navigation
- Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
- Touch-sensitive navigation controls
- Handwriting recognition    
 
     Type    Polyphonic (40 channels), MP3, WAV, WMA       
     Customization    Download, order now       
     Vibration     Yes    
 
     Phonebook    Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall       
     Call records    Practically unlimited       
     Card slot    No       
          - 4 GB user available memory
- 192 MB DDR SDRAM, 256 MB ROM
- Qualcomm MSM7201A 528 Mhz processor    
 
     GPRS    Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 - 48 kbps       
     HSCSD    No       
     EDGE    Class 10, 236.8 kbps       
     3G    HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps       
     WLAN    Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g       
     Bluetooth    Yes, v2.0 with A2DP       
     Infrared port    No       
     USB    Yes, miniUSB    
 
     OS    Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional       
     Messaging    SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging       
     Browser    WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML       
     Games    Yes, order now       
     Colors    Black       
     Camera    3.15 MP, 2048x1536 pixels, autofocus, video; secondary VGA videocall camera       
          - Built-in GPS with A-GPS
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- Pocket Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, PDF viewer)
- Java MIDP 2.0
- Voice memo
- MP3 player
- Motion-based games
- Built-in handsfree    
 
          Standard battery, Li-Ion 900 mAh       
     Stand-by    Up to 285 h       
     Talk time    Up to 5 h 30 min    

The above table of specs was provided by www.gsmarena.com

First impressions are just over the page:


First Impressions

At first glance, it’s sexy. That’s the only way I can put it. Keeping with the ‘Diamond’ theme the box is even diamond shaped.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}HTC Diamond Box


After pulling off the outer cover and flipping open the gloss black lid shown below. Included accessories were somewhat of a slim picking. It had a charger and a USB cable.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}HTC Diamond Box
{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}Open Box


We are greeted with a simplistic and elegant first glimpse of the actual phone itself. Featuring 5 buttons on the front of the phone, which left to right and top to bottom are: Home, Back, Ok, Answer and Hang up.

The home button is the most simple but one of the most useful features. Whichever menu or application you have open, pressing the home button will take you back to the main screen.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}Phone Display


Being Windows Mobile based you can customize pretty the Start Up menu, the background and pretty much anything else. There is a wide variety of third party apps that are available. The Diamond Profile Switcher, allows you to toggle between loud, silent and vibrate, by giving the phone a quick shake. The Gsen app gives you automatic screen rotation thanks to the built in accelerometer.

Coming up next: Touch FLO!


Touch FLO!

I can sum up the Touch Flo system in two words. These words are: FREAKIN’ SWEET!! Some people have complained that it is slow, unresponsive and cumbersome. I personally love it and find very easy to operate. You can see the system in motion on the attached video.

You Tube Video

It’s very easy to flick it across to settings and disable audio to put it on silent. Once you learn to operate it, it’s quite simple to get to most of the everyday applications from the Flo system

Unfortunately you cannot modify the Touch Flo menu straight out of the box, you need an application known as Diamond TF3D Config. It allows you to hide and re-order the tabs.

Other features on the main screen include Task Manager (shown in the red box on the image below). You can see all open (and you can close them) by clicking this symbol.

The green box shows the basic system status, which when pressed launches the system status window which allows you to click on the battery to see battery life remaining or sound status.

The blue box also launches system status which also includes things like network signal strength and name.

The yellow box is Microsoft Customer Improvement Program, I simply ignore this.

See over the page for connectivity.

 

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}Phone Display

 

 

Connectivity

The Comm Manger makes all of this possible. Showing all network connections and there status in a great on/off style window. Bluetooth, WiFi, Phone, Data Connection and Airplane Mode are all shown on this screen. Airplane mode is nifty feature which enabled you to turn off all outgoing radio signals at the touch of a button without turning the phone off.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=800 full_height=600}Phone Display


By turning on WiFi, you can then click on settings which puts you through to the settings of WiFi, Bluetooth or Phone where can connect it to other devices or networks depending on whether you are in Bluetooth or WiFi settings.

The built in organizer is really quite cool too. It looks, feels, and operates like Outlook does. That makes it really simple to work and it's easy to sync up. Pair the phone with your PC via Bluetooth, and then it's just a matter of starting the sync program and hitting sync via Bluetooth.

A bit of a niggly problem, alarms do not sound when the phone is silent, which for me is bad. I need my alarm to wake up, but I have my phone on silent during the night for the rude people who like to me at 3am, when I’ve only been in bed for an hour and need to be up in 2 hours. Aside from that, ringing volume is quite loud which is always good; as is the volume from the speaker both normally and when it’s on speaker phone.

It’s now time for some happy snaps on the next page.


Happy Snaps!

The built in camera takes a 3.15mp shot and is pretty much a given on any phone in this day and age.

However, it lacks a flash, while I agree that a flash merely messes up the image but making the background appear darker and the foreground washed out. No flash also means, no flashlight which is a bit of a pain, but is quite simply to overcome by simply downloading a flashlight app.

Photo quality leaves a lot to be desired. In doors under artificial light, the photos appear clear on the screen while they are in focus, as soon as the shot is taken they come out blurred and distorted. However outside in natural light, they appear quite clear and sharp.

{multithumb thumb_width=384 thumb_height=288 resize=1 full_width=1024 full_height=768}Sample Image from Phone Camera


Getting lost with this phone is impossible thanks to its inbuilt GPS receiver, take a look at the next page for details.




GPS

The inbuilt GPS receiver merely does cell tower triangulation straight out of the box, however if you install some Tomtom software it instantly becomes just as powerful as my Tomtom XL which you can see my review in print in another article. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the phone being used as a GPS.

There isn’t really much to tell about the GPS, there is about a two second delay on the screen to where you actually are positioned on the phone but that’s not too much of a drama thanks to voice direction and spoken street names. The delay is only really noticeable at over 60km/h, which at 60km/h you shouldn’t really be looking at a 2.5” LCD screen trying to work out where you are driving.


A Thought To Leave You With

All in all, the phone is simply a star. Easy to use being Windows Mobile based, its quite simple to just pick up and work out how to use it. Its small stature is no means a reflection on how great the phone really is. It can hardly be called a phone with all the other features it has thrown into it, including the GPS, the organizer as well as the camera, WiFi and Bluetooth.

Some may not be in the market for a phone that costs a whopping $999 AUD, but for how many devices it is, camera ($199), GPS, ($299), organizer ($199), phone ($299), it’s not a hugely expensive device when looking upon it that way.

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