HTC Touch Diamond Review
Videos can be recorded in MPEG4 or H.263 formats and can be shot in Small, Medium, Large and CIF (352x288) resolutions. The documentation doesn’t actually specify what Small, Medium and Large resolutions are, but it appears Large is actually 352x288 as well. 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 with 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.
The music player looks nice enough, but isn’t the simplest program to use. From the Music tab on the homescreen you can control your music. Album art is displayed for the songs, and when you flick the art up or down you move forward and back between tracks. However, this is not like Cover Flow where you can scroll through the albums by their art, then bring up the album’s track list and play from there.
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. 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. There is an tab for purchased music, but there is no store available.
One issue many users are bound to run into is album art. Anyone who has used Cover Flow without properly tagged songs know there are a bunch of ?’s on the screen, and the same is true with HTC’s music player. Making the matter worse is its seeming inability to read embedded art. Even though the .mp3s we loaded were tagged with art the player didn’t recognize it and we had to actually add the image file to the folder and rename the file folder.*. Even still, this didn’t work for a handful of albums and we were stuck with the dreaded ?. The homescreen integration is nice, but HTC has some work to do on the music player.
The MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, WAV, and AMR-NB audio codecs are supported. There is no 3.5mm jack so the user is restricted to miniUSB headphones, a set of which is included in the package. The quality isn’t bad, on par with included iPod headphones, but they will most likely be uncomfortable to those with medium and smaller ears.
There is an FM tuner as well, though the included stereo headphones must be used as they contain an integrated FM antenna. The interface is clean and displays station and song information. The reception is weak, but it’s still a nice feature to have.
One very nice feature of the Diamond is the YouTube player. 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, though we were running over Wi-Fi. Still, the videos looked superb on the VGA screen and audio was good and in-sync.
Teeter is maybe our favorite feature of the phone, 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 end. Not only is it a fun game, but it really showcases the phones abilities. 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. (Yes we are aware there is a version of this for Jailbroken iPhones, but Teeter is better. ) Eventually you begin to play not on a flat surface, but on a 3D rendering of the Diamond’s faceted battery cover!
The Diamond offers 192MB DDR SDRAM and 256MB ROM, with 4GB of internal storage in lieu of a microSD slot. As we noted earlier, navigating TF3D is smooth but the Windows Mobile environment is decidedly less so at times. One thing we did notice is that out of the box 65% of the memory was in use, compared to around 25-30% when we reviewed the CDMA Touch. This certainly plays a factor in the sluggishness. By disabling TF3D we were able to get down to around 40% memory use after a restart, and navigating through Windows Mobile was noticeably snappier, though still not perfect. Interestingly enough, after disabling and restarting, when we reinitiated TF3D there was only about 50% of memory in use. While there does not appear to be any major memory leakage, HTC seems to have some memory tomfoolery on their hands. The good news is that issues like this can be addressed with software optimization, let’s hope that HTC does just that in future updates.
There are loads of 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.
Out of the box there are some notable programs, such as Office Mobile, Adobe Reader and Flash Lite. Office Mobile allows users to edit Word and Excel files (including Office 2007 documents,) while Power Point is for viewing only. JBlend Java is also included, allowing the user to install Java midlets such as Mobile Gmail.
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.
Too bad it doesn't have a Micro SD slot....
31. SamOakley (unregistered)
I agree with anonamous (34.) incidentally does anyone know how the cpu performs? I have a Tytn and after about 3 months it has slowed down markedly. Probably because it's clogged up with old photos etc... still, that and the occasional bug are my only gripes with the tytn. This looks much better though would be interested to do a side by side comparison.
32. Don Hawkins (unregistered)
so,....is the diamond and the iphone way ahead of the touch? My touch is slow, locks up, is hard to hear rings, and callers, runs out of juice way before the 4 hour rating or are these super phones more of a gimmicky thing than truly hi tech functional tools? I need a power phone first and internet second as i practically live on my cell phone or would the best advise be to stick o a simple phone and skip the razzle dazzle
That's my question....Do I wait for the diamond to come out (It's supposed to be soon) or do I go with a Blackberry? I don't think the Iphone is really an option for me, as I don't know how or where to get it, or how to attach it to my company (I'm with telus and they don't offer the Iphone). When I went to Telus, the rep told me that the Touch was garbage (the first one) he said so many people had problems with it freezing, and then they'd have to shut it down, and he really didn't recommend it. He told me to get the Blackberry curve. I want a phone mainly for web. Checking my e-mail, Facebook, and IM....And to use as a phone...Music, camera, text, not all that important. I'm not that technical, so something easy to use is best! Please help!!!
just get a blackberry fellas
Does this phone operate as a wireless modem? I have a PPC 6700 and although my phone connects to my laptop via bluetooth, the webpages do not load into IE, Flock, etc. Will Opera improve the situation, or do I need a custom tweak to my web browser or OS to make it work? Thanks.
37. Taxidermista (unregistered)
I don't understand, where the hell is the GPS module review?? It's the main feature of this phone!
38. Paul (unregistered)
Hi, are you going to post an updated review for the Sprint version of the Touch Diamond?.. given there's added features and upgraded hardware? Thanks.
can you talk and browse on the internet?
I must be unlucky, this phone is a peice of junk - constantly crashing, otherwise tediously slow. It has so many problems and glitches that I would never touch HTC again!
42. johnconnor2811 (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Jul 2009)
Watch the comparison between the HTC touch Diamond,Apple iPhone 3G and new Nokia 5800 XpressMusic....and pick your choicehttp://www.techgodown.com/htc-diamond-vs-iphone-vs-nokia-5800/
43. Colorado real estate (unregistered)
HTC is more of smaller and thinner type than of iPhone. I think both phone companies are great. By the way, awesome post! Thanks for sharing this article. Colorado real estate
45. natalie (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)
i had this phone for 3 yrs and loved it. when it first came out it was $900!!! i had the money and really wanted it, so i got it. then about 5 days later i dropped it in a lake while fishing. i jumped in a found it. i took the whole thing apart and let it dry for 3weks. it was fine there was nothing wrong with it at all. this is the first phone i have ever paid that much for and it was the longest ive ever owned a phone and it was my favorate. it did everything i needed. the only complaint is that it could b slow at times. but then a kid stole it along with my money and he did the same to my bestfriend and stole her iphone, and money that was hidden in her bra, while she was sleeping he took it and she put it there to hide it from him. i hope the kid who took it will get what he has diserves! and i hope we get out items back but i would love to buy another htc just cant afford it right now:(