HTC Touch Diamond CDMA Review
TouchFLO 3D (TF3D) user interface is what makes this Diamond truly shine. The “home screen” is an interface in itself, and users will rarely have to venture outside of its environment. Of course the device is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, so once you get outside of TF3D, the user will find the familiar WM interface of devices past, but like we said there is often little reason to ever leave TF3D.
Along the bottom of the screen is a row of tabs, but each version of TF3D seems to have its own unique color scheme. The GSM Diamond was black and white, while the Sprint model added a different color to each tab, and the Verizon Touch Pro maroon. Now the Verizon HTC Touch Diamond uses a purple theme, which is used to highlight the tabs and the background is charcoal gray. This isn’t a bad combination, and looks better than the Verizon Touch Pro, but still doesn’t look as nice as the Sprint version. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to change the TF3D color theme through the software.
While you can just tap to select a tab, they do not all fit on the screen at once, so you will actually place your finger on the bar and slide right or left. The selected tab becomes larger and there is a transparent icon and text over the display to tell you what tab you are on as you move across the bar. It is very intuitive and fluid moving, and most importantly it works as advertised. The dedicated Home Key on the bottom pad will return you to the home tab whenever you wish.
The tab layout is identical to the Verizon’s Touch Pro. From left to right they run: Home, My Favorites, Messaging, Music, Email, Browser, Photos and Videos, My Applications, Weather, and Settings.
Both the Home tab on the Verizon Touch Diamond and Touch Pro look the same, with a large digital clock and the date underneath, instead of the flip-clock we saw on the GSM Diamond. Of course, there is the unmistakable Verizon logo at the top, with the Start menu button and status icons above it.
My Favorites tab lets the user set visual speed dials from their contact list. The contact’s assigned picture shows up and the user can flip through them with a swipe up or down on the screen. The Messaging tab displays SMS and MMS messages and is set to threaded view by default. The Email tab displays your email accounts, and can connect to POP3, IMAP, and Exchange servers. Received email messages are previewed as a letter coming out of an envelope, and again the user can scroll through different messages by flicking up and down on the letter. Selecting a message will open it up fully on the screen, where you can then reply or delete the message.
The Music tab opens the music player, and clicking on Library will allow you to select files from now playing, artists, albums, playlists, all songs, genres, composers, and purchased. When an album begins playback, the cover art is shown on the screen, and you can change tracks by moving your finger up or down the screen. There is also a progress bar at the bottom you can slide left or right. The music quality is adequate, but not as good as a music phone, such as the Chocolate 3. Still, quality does improve when using a good stereo Bluetooth or wired headset. The included adapter that plugs into the miniUSB port allows you to attach 2.5mm and traditional 3.5mm headsets.
Photos and Videos allow the user to scroll through their albums directly from the main screen. Flicking up and down moves the user through their images and movies, and tapping on one will bring it into full screen mode. While in full screen, the user can rotate the device horizontally and picture will change orientation thanks to the accelerometer. Moving you finger in a circular motion around the d-pad will zoom in and out, and the same gesture onscreen will produce the same results. From this tab the camera and camcorder can also be launched.
allow the user to add up to 18 shortcut links to different programs. It shows 9 per screen, but to access the second screen the user simply flicks their thumb upward. The user can also launch All Programs, which is a skinned version of the WM Programs menu.
The Browser tab shows a link that will launch Opera Mobile, but also displays the YouTube application and any saved favorites for one touch access. The Weather tab is very cool. It allows users to add up to 10 cities worldwide and has some slick animations for the current conditions. For instance, when it’s raining the screen will appear to get drops of water on it before a windshield wiper cleans them off. Flicking up and down through the cities plays different animations related to their current weather. You can also pull the five-day forecast for that location. If you want even more information it will launch the browser and take you to AccuWeather’s homepage.
Settings, and is in essence a skinned version of the standard WM settings screen. Available settings are for Sync Data, Sound, Wallpaper, Communications (Comm Manager), Data (to manage weather download options), and About. The user can also launch All Settings, which takes them to the standard WM settings menu with all the options.
We found TF3D to be incredibly smooth on the GSM unit, but both CDMA Verizon and Sprint version feels faster. HTC has issued performance updates for the original ROM, and we’d assume these improvements were implemented in the CDMA software. While in the TF3D environment everything runs smoothly; animations, transparences and kinetic scrolling all work flawlessly. We still feel that TF3D is our favorite user interface, even though it’s really a skin rather than a proper UI. We still encourage HTC to expand it and take as much Windows out of Windows Mobile as possible.
Outside of the My Favorites tab, the phonebook on the HTC Touch Diamond is standard Windows Mobile fare. From that tab the user can launch the full phonebook, which is identical to what we have seen on past HTC WM devices, such as the Touch Pro. The contacts are listed alphabetically by last name, though the list can be sorted by company as well. We’re not sure why, but HTC’s Random Access plug-in is missing, though it is on the GSM and Sprint Diamond. From the phone screen, as you begin to type a number, it will match it with your contacts both numerically and alphabetically. For instance, if you type in 866 it will match any 866 numbers, but also bring up anybody with a form of Tom in their name.
Contact storage is limited only by system memory, so for all intents and purposes it is limitless. Each contact can store a wealth of information, such as company, job title, picture ID, several different numbers and addresses, multiple emails and IM names, assistant and manager information, customer ID and account numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, spouse and children. And if that’s not enough, you can always add notes. In fact, if you’re on a call with a contact and you pull the stylus out, the Touch Diamond will automatically launch the notepad and associate the note taken with that contact.
HTC has created custom screens for incoming and outgoing calls. The outgoing screen displays the contact name and phone number at the top, and to the left of that is the Picture ID (if one is not assigned a default silhouette is used.) There is a grouping of six buttons in the middle (two rows of three), which includes Call History, Calendar, Note, Mute, Speaker and Contacts. At the bottom is a large red End Call button. The incoming screen is a bit plainer; the Picture ID is centered at the top, and below is the contact name and number. A large green Answer and red Ignore button sit below that, and finally is a Mute Call option along the bottom. The Picture ID is not quite as small as a standard Windows Mobile ID is, but it’s still not large. It is larger on the incoming than outgoing screen, and with the VGA resolution the size isn’t really an issue.
Of course this all syncs neatly with Outlook, making contact management that much easier. If the user is connected to an Exchange server, two-way Outlook sync can be done over the air.
Voice dialing is handled by Cyberon voice commander. It is very similar to VoiceSignal, but adds some advanced features such as controlling music playback, checking upcoming appointments and launching applications. Unfortunately, most of our commands were not recognize and it asked us to repeat several times.
Again, the PIM functionality of the HTC Touch Diamond is the same as other Windows Mobile devices. The calendar is launched from the Home tab, and can be viewed in several ways: Agenda, Day, Week, Month and Year. Adding an appointment is simple, though not exactly finger friendly. Since we’re dealing with the standard Windows Mobile interface here, it is best to pull out the stylus to add events.
The Diamond offers other essential PIM elements such as Tasks, Notes, Voice Recorder and a Calculator. These programs are more basic and work as you would expect them to. There are a few options available for Tasks, for instance setting priorities, reminders, recurrences and categories. Notes can be handwritten or entered via the various keypads.
We love TF3D, and wish HTC had paid more attention to the core PIM elements of the Touch Diamond as well. Finger-friendly programs like One Touch Organizer and PocketCM Contacts have made life much easier on WM devices in the past, but with the Diamond’s VGA resolution they do not work properly. Hopefully the WM developer community will again rise up and offer some solutions to this problem.
1. LGVX1993 (Posts: 260; Member since: 27 Jan 2009)
Wow I wasnt expecting such a good review. If only the Diamond 2 wasnt coming out...
2. acdaazn (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Apr 2009)
i have noticed that in the specs, it has the same size as the VZW TP, but is it really? could you guys do an actual measurement for the thickness? or if anyone has this phone, could you measure and post it up?
3. Charlie (unregistered)
I was thinking the same thing. The GSM Diamond was like, 11mm thick. Sprint's was like 14mm. There's no way that Verizon's Diamond is 18mm thick, like the Touch Pro's.
4. mwinger (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Apr 2009)
The Verizon Touch Pro is the same thicknes as the Sprint verison. .55" or 14mm. [:http://www.verizonwireless.com
/b2c/store/controller?item=phoPhoneId=4486 neFirst&action=viewPhoneDetail &selected
5. sinfulta (Posts: 266; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
VZW People: The Diamond for VZW is .55", the Touch Pro for VZW is .71", for comparison sake the Omnia is .52" Thick. Sprint People: the Diamond for Sprint is .60", the Touch Pro for Sprint is.71" for comparison sake the TreoPRO is .50" Thick. Geez. lol
8. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 237; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Thank you for your comment. We have measured the thickness of the Verizon Touch Diamond and it is approximately 0.55" to 0.60". The Verizon Touch Pro is slightly thicker at 0.71".
6. htsee (Posts: 86; Member since: 15 Mar 2009)
why are there no specs listed for the phone? and all cdma phones in the touch series currently use the 1340mah battery... to be honest, im surprised there was a review done on a device that already had a reviewm (cdma diamond) without mention of any real differences (outside of the microsd card, which is a definite plus)...
7. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)
if you notice this review is pretty much a rehash of the first, with updates for the differences between the two
9. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
why do windows phones keep getting such high reviews? what do you guys smoke? innovative? its the pro w/otu a keyboard. its also too small to effectively type on for long periods of time. windows phones are boomerangs and bricks. at least HTC made this one look like the non selling brick its going to be. quit giving windows phones such high marks.