HTC Touch Diamond ReviewHTC Touch Diamond 9
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 TF3D are several tabs. Here you will find Home, People, Messages, Mail, Internet, Photos and Videos, Music, Weather, Settings and Program. 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 glide across through the tab bar. It is very intuitive and slick, and works as advertised. The dedicated Home key on the pad will return you to the main tab whenever you wish.
On the Home tab the user will see a large clock, as well as any missed calls and upcoming calendar appointments. The People tab lets the user set visual speed dials for their contact list. The contact’s assigned picture shows up and the user can flip through them with a swipe down or up on the screen. Messages displays SMS and MMS messages, while Mail displays email accounts. 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. Internet launches the browser, but also displays the YouTube application and any user-defined favorites for quick, one touch access.
Pictures 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. When in full-screen the user can rotate the device and pictures will change orientation. From this tab the camera and camcorder can also be launched. Music again puts the media on the homescreen; the user can flip through their album art and play music, as well as access their music library. The album art of upcoming tracks is displayed behind the current one, and flicking up and down again cycles through these tracks.
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 on it before a windshield wipercleans them off. Flicking up and down through the cities plays different animations related to the current conditions. You can also pull the five day forecast for the location. If you want even more information it will launch the browser and take you to AccuWeather’s homepage.
The settings tab is in essence a skinned, watered down version of the standard WM settings screen. Settings available are 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 WM settings menu with all the options. The last tab, Programs, is a simple launcher that allows the user to set up to 18 shortcuts to programs. It shows 9 per screen, 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.
We really, really like TF3D. The interface is silky smooth, animations are modern and slick and it is a very practical interface. The design is simple and intuitive, and the user can forget they are using WM most of the time. In fact, we were so impressed with the interface that we didn’t even notice/remember the Start Menu until well after we were using the phone for a bit. Our only real complaint with it is that when you turn on the Diamond you have to tap the screen to launch TF3D, which takes fifteen seconds or so. We’re perplexed as to why this isn’t an automated process and hopefully HTC will address this in future updates. Windows Mobile is a powerful but clunky platform, so we applaud anything that serves to simplify and hide it. TF3D does a wonderful job of not only hiding WM, but also offering a power and intuitive tool to the Diamond.
While in the TF3D environment everything runs smoothly; animations and transparences and kinetic scrolling all work flawlessly. Now and again the Music or Picture tabs might exhibit lag for a second or so while loading the media, but nothing that took away from the experience. Outside of TF3D, however, we noticed lag while moving through the Windows interface. Given the Diamond’s increased processor, memory and improved video drivers we have almost resigned ourselves to the fact that WM 6.x itself will always run somewhat slow, though we’ll dive deeper into that later. What we’ve seen of Windows Mobile 7 looks promising, but we really hope Microsoft focuses on fluidity which is a major factor in the iPhone’s success.
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 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 Hold, Add Call, 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.
Again, the PIM functionality of the Diamond is the same as other Windows Mobile devices. The calendar is launched from the Home tab. It 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.
It is a very advanced calendar, offering everything a user would need and expect including recurrences, reminders, category grouping, sensitivity settings and much more. Notes can also be added to an event, for instance the user can set an appointment for a meeting, then take notes for that meeting within the appointment. That way, the user can simply go back to that calendar event to find the corresponding notes.
The Diamond offers other essential PIM elements such as Tasks, Notes, Voice Recorder and a calculator. These programs are more basic and all 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. Other than that it and the rest are barebones, which is just how simple programs should be.
We love TF3D, and wish HTC had paid some more attention to the core PIM elements of the 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. numetheus (unregistered)
AWESOME! At least they put in a browser by default that is not the standard IE. Pocket IE is great for tiny pages, but is woefully slow and renders complex pages well. Heavy browsing on Pocket IE was painful and cumbersome. Browsing on the iPhone by comparison was a dream, and that is one reason why iPhone is so popular. Give it a good browser, and it will be a good iPhone competitor ... not until then. I absolutely hate WM just because of the browser, and the alternatives for it render better, but still a clunky experience when compared to iPhone. The new opera may change that. Also, why resistive touchscreen? Capacitive is much better suited for finger use.
2. zephxiii (unregistered)
The poor performance on AT&T is most likely due to the devices lack of 850mhz. I would imagine you were in a 850 area for AT&T, and often any 1900mhz isn't built out for solid coverage.
wow, how is average joe rating so high, usually would be complaining about the price and it so glossy and fingerprintable. and usually for corporate you would complain highlty about no qwerty keyborad, very biased opinions ah
how do you get biased out of that, and why would average joe be any different than other categories for fingerprints? sounds like youre biased
iPhone is also an expensive one, but everybody is getting one and even jailbrakes it! Its the same for the Diamond: with that design and interface it is targeted to both highend/business users and to the Joe who wants iPhone-like touch-thing.
6. VZWGuy1 (unregistered)
how do I get this UI on my touch?
the touch doesnt have the power to run it
What about GPS? Is it any good?
It is both
do you need to be connected to the internet for the weather updates to work?
To answer #12 comment. Yes, how else are you gonna get updates.
11. Genious (unregistered)
Built-in weather station, duh!
Quiksilver meter and worker ants in the phone. That's how they did it in the AAAWWWLD days.
Yep, that's how it wurked on my good ol' iPhone Classic -_-
Err... your first paragraph put me off this review. The original Htc Touch came out 4 months before the iPhone, so it was hardly trying to capitalise on the popularity of that phone!
because the iphone was announce before the touch so the touch was based on what apple was to release maybe?
anyone ever realize that apple wasnt the original creator of touch screen phones. why do you people always have to push the fact that every touch type phone is to compete with the iphone. i know some phones look way too much like the iphone, but that doesnt always mean that every new touch screen phone was made to compete.
that doess not look like the best internet on a phone at all. I did want to mention this but when I used my brother's ipod touch, the internet browsing was a lot smoother. When moving through a page, everything seems to flow with hyour touch.But everything seems so slow to me in the touch. When he flips through albums and pictures, the touch seems so unresponsive. Maybe its just that the guy doesn't really know how to use the phone that well. But what I like is how the very bottom bar looks very smooth and slides with ease wehn sliding through the menu. That's the only smooth and responsive thign that I've seen on the phone so far.
17. Barry (unregistered)
Probably a dumb question, but I read the review and didn't seem to see this answered. Does Diamond have 3G connectivity? If not, how would the internet speeds compare with the 3G connectivity coming out for the iPhone 3G? Also kind of off topic, but the ability to sync with Exchange, use Word and Excel are big sticking points for me - are all 3 of these options available on the iPhone 3G or will I have to get a phone like the Diamond with Windows Mobile? Thanks again. I'm torn between the iPhone 3G, the Diamond and the Touch Pro so I'm not sure which way to go yet.
HSDPA means actually 3.5G, so the answer is yes. Actually iPhone 3G seems to support only lower speed 3.6 Mbps HSDPA while Touch Diamond offers 7.2 Mbps. However, probably this is not very relevant since in mobile phones, CPU/graphical processing power is becoming nowadays more critical than download speed. In terms of Word/Excel, the big differentiator between iPhone and Touch Diamond is the editing capability. Exchange should work on both platforms, still iPhone 3G functionality needs to be assessed. My advice would be: if you want a small/compact device go with Touch Diamond, if you absolutely need a keyboard wait for the Touch Pro, or go for the iPhone 3G if you like the iPhone interface,prefer more storage space for music and don't care about camera and size.
19. VAPCMD (unregistered)
If reception was as poor as indicated below...how did this phone get a 10 for connectivity ?? The reception, on the other hand, wasn’t so hot. We tried both an AT&T and T-Mobile but had issues with in-building reception. With AT&T we could barely, and often couldn’t, hold a signal even outdoors in places where we know AT&T works well. Furthermore, some users may not be able to get EDGE data with AT&T. T-Mobile was a decidedly better experience, though still not great in areas such as office buildings or malls. For now we are forced to use the 1900Mhz band, which does not penetrate buildings as well as 850. This could have played a factor in our reception issues so we will reserve our final judgment for when the US version comes out. For now, however, importers beware!
cnet uk gave this phone4 5.9 for unresponsive screen and really slow interface
If verizon got this phone, it would be hilarious if they put their own interface on it.
no it wouldn't, so the interface wouldn't be so damn slow
I like the phone overall. The iphone just doesnt cut it for business purposes. Major gripe: After less than 3 weeks my usb cord shorted and does not connect to activesych. USB is NOT covered under warranty, so I would have to buy another (after spending $600 + on the phone)
25. SprintDude (unregistered)
Honestly i think Sprint should of focused more attention on HTC products much more than on the Garbage INSTINCT You cant even customize anything on the phone, but all i can say is the Diamond and the Rafael is going to be some Awesome phones!!!
36. treybezy (unregistered)
how is the instinct garbage? i have had it for 3 weeks and yes you cant really custimize it at all, but its still very great
26. Ben Cain (unregistered)
I have had the Touch for 5 weeks and what a nightmare of a phone. The lag is almost so slow that I can mak e acup of tea and come back to it before it has moved from one page to the next. The connectivity is slow and haphazard that it makes it impossible to have any confidence in the phone. Also, the screen isn't even straight in my phone. Rubbish- 0 stars
28. Ratman (unregistered)
Yeh Did you update the device firmware HTC released an update to improve useability
29. benko (unregistered)
i plan to buy this touch diamond. is ti really that slow? and gps can trust that gps if i go somwhere and whose maps it is using? how long baterry can handle in stand by mode? how much is it costs right now? a lot of questions i hope somebody will answer.
|Display||2.8 inches, 480 x 640 pixels (286 ppi) TFT|
Qualcomm MSM7201, Single core, 528 MHz
0.1875 GB RAM
|Size||4.01 x 2.00 x 0.45 inches|
(102 x 51 x 11.5 mm)
3.88 oz (110 g)
|Battery||900 mAh, 5.5 hours talk time|