HTC Touch Diamond CDMA Review
Verizon’s HTC Touch Diamond features a 3.2MP camera with autofocus, which appears to be the same as the GSM and Sprint models. Images taken outside were excellent, with good color representation and sharp detail. There was a bit of blurring at times for indoor shots, but that is due to the shower shutter that is used. Still missing is a Flash, like the one on the Touch Pro.
Touching you finger on the d-pad’s capacitive center button triggers the autofocus, and pressing the button all the way in snaps the shot. There are 5 resolution steps, a two and ten second self-timer, and the user can choose from predefined white balance settings and adjust the brightness. The camera can shoot with grayscale, sepia or negative effects, and there are user preference options such as where to save the files, review duration, etc.
and can be shot in Small, Medium, Large, or CIF resolutions. The documentation doesn’t specify what those resolutions are, but it appears Large is actually 352x288. The camcorder utilizes the autofocus features as well, but as expected the overall quality was not on par with the camera. For a cell phone it was above average, there was some pixilation which got worse as you pan around, but it was plenty good for YouTube and general web use. The user can again change white balance settings, adjust the brightness, change the effect and set a few preferences, but overall the settings are minimal.
HTC offers a custom music player and album viewer that is integrated within TF3D, but when media files are opened through the File Explorer, Microsoft Picture Viewer and Windows Media Player serve as the default players. HTC Album (the picture/video player) is very good, but the music player has some shortcomings.
HTC Album allows users to view pictures and video full screen. Turn the Touch Diamond horizontally and the picture follows suit, and you can scroll through your media with the flick of your thumb. The video player is very similar to the iPhone. Videos play in full-screen landscape mode and tapping the video brings up transparent controls. Even YouTube videos look amazing on the crisp, VGA screen. We were able to playback H.264 videos ranging from 220x96 resolution at 128Kbps to 720x306 resolution at 1500Kbps, but you will get some occasional dropped frames at higher resolutions and bit rates. Unfortunately, DivX and Xvid is not supported, unlike the Omnia.
The music player looks nice enough, but isn’t the simplest program to use. From the Music tab on the home screen you can control your music, with out the need to launch Windows Media Player. The interface is still a bit awkward, though HTC has made some improvements. In the past art for each track was queued behind the playing track, but if it were from the same album obviously it would be the same art. Now only different art is queued, but it’s more confusing than it should be. For example, if there are four songs from Sgt. Pepper’s followed by two tracks from Abbey Road followed by a track from Revolver the user will see one instance of art from Sgt. Pepper’s, one from Abbey Road and one from Revolver, but when playing the first Sgt. Pepper’s track the same art will be displayed for the next three songs, with no indication that there are three other songs before you get to Abbey Road. In our opinion HTC needs to just ditch this queued wannabe Cover Flow altogether and just display larger art of the current track.
The library works like TF3D, with tabs along the bottom. In the library you can sort by artist, album, song, genre and composer. You can create playlists, but otherwise you can either play all the songs at once or a single album at a time. When you play all songs they are sorted alphabetically regardless of album. In this case, we prefer Windows Media Player and its library, which allow you to play all albums in alphabetical order while staying true to the original track lists.
Supported audio codecs include MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, WAV, and AMR-NB. There isn’t an on-board audio jack, but there is a miniUSB to 2.5mm/3.5mm adapter. Even though were not a fan of adapters (since there easy to lose or forget), it is nice that it has ports for both sizes.
One very nice feature of the Diamond is the YouTube player, as it is a stand-alone program nearly identical to the one found on the iPhone. There are four tabs: All Videos, Bookmarks, History, and Search. All Videos is further broken down into Most Viewed, Top Rated and Featured. Videos launch in full-screen mode, and like the iPhone, tapping the screen brings up transparent controls. The scroll wheel around the d-pad is active here as well, though it’s not as smooth as we’d like. The video quality was surprisingly excellent and better than most other phones, due to the VGA screen, and audio was always in-sync. We still wish there was an option to play embedded YouTube files directly in web pages, but this program is a good substitute.
Teeter is our favorite, and really shows off the accelerometer. It is a Labyrinth-style game, where you have a ball that you need to tilt through a maze and avoid the holes to get to the green end. Not only is it a fun game, it really showcases the phone’s software capabilities. For instance, when you hit a wall there is a dull thud you feel that truly seems as if you’re hitting the wall with a metal ball. We imagine it’s done though haptic feedback, but it sure feels like a solid thump and not a vibration. Eventually you begin to play not on a flat surface, but on a 3D rendering of the Diamond’s faceted battery cover!
Just like the GSM model, the Verizon HTC Touch Diamond has 192MB RAM and 256MB ROM, but instead of having 4GB of internal storage, it adds a microSDHC card slot that can accept up to 16GB memory cards. We like having a memory card slot, as it’s easier to transfer pictures, music, and files, but the Samsung Omnia has this plus an amazing 8GB of internal storage! As we noted earlier, navigating TF3D is smooth but the Windows Mobile environment is decidedly cumbersome at times. One thing we did notice is that out of the box 53% of the memory was in use, compared to around 65% on the GSM model and 35% on the Sprint Diamond. So it appears that HTC has got some of the memory problems resolved, since both the GSM and Verizon units have the same amount of RAM. The reason the Sprint model is only using 35% is because it has 288MB of RAM.
Additional preloaded programs include Adobe Reader and the Office Mobile suite, among others. We were able to open Adobe PDF files, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files without problem. There are loads of other programs available for Windows Mobile, though many of them will not work with the Diamond due to its VGA display. It is usually a simple fix by the writer, but lots of programs (such as the aforementioned and beloved One Touch Organizer) are not supported anymore. The Diamond is not the first WM VGA device however, and as VGA becomes increasingly popular you will see more and more programs pop up. No Java emulator is included, but of course users can load a third-party offering.
The Diamond uses VZ Navigator for GPS guided directions, which of course is $10 per month if you choose to install it. It allows you to plan your trip and even will re-route you if there are traffic congestions while on the road. Other features include the ability to find local movie theaters and show times, restaurants, gas stations, ATMs, hotels, hospitals, travel (airports, bus, car rental), parking lot/garage, and Verizon stores. The quality is quite good, as maps properly rendered for the VGA display. Unfortunately, the GPS is locked, meaning you can’t use it with other (free) programs, such as Google Maps.
VZAppZone, wherein you can access news and weather, and download a variety of other programs (entertainment, productivity, utilities, ringtones, games, security, and wallpaper). The ringtones and wallpapers are only a few dollars each, but games and utilities can cost $20-40 to download. This is supposed to be a Windows Mobile version of VCast Downloads, but it is poorly implemented, and doesn’t offer a lot of content. Naturally, you can use a microSDHC memory card and transfer pictures, videos, ringtones, wallpapers, and applications directly.
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.