The HTC Diamond as it’s name implies, it is designed to make you feel special, just like a real Diamond. Don’t be swayed away by it’s breath-taking design. Underneath lies powerful array of communication radios like WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Quad-Band, 3G and FM. It proves the world that the Windows Mobile devices can be beautiful, sleek and still pack a lot of horsepower.
Every year, HTC launches a phone that is different from the rest of the crowd. In 2006, they launched HTC Hermes. In 2007, they came out with not one but with two great models: HTC Touch and HTC TYTN II. Touch was made for the consumer class, who yearned for a small, sleek device while the TYTN II was made for the businessman.
In the year 2008, the expectations rose. The people were waiting for a device that could compete with the so called Jesus phone AKA The iPhone. HTC answered our prayers by endowing us with the HTC Touch Diamond. It is sleek, powerful, sexy and has all the modern communication blings.
From the outside:
The HTC Diamond has elegant and really breath-taking design. It is very slim and lighter than any Windows Mobile device that I’ve ever used so far. In fact, I upgraded to Diamond from HTC P4350(Dopod C800). So, it was like a big upgrade to me in terms of power and strength. The P4350 was the most slim QWERTY keyboard phone of it’s time and the Diamond is even more slim.
The Diamond feels very nice and comfortable in the hand due to it’s slim profile. The Diamond weighs at just 110g making it almost impossible to feel where it is there in your shirt pocket or not. Even when it is in it’s case, it still holds a slim profile.
Screen and Display
The screen resolution is 640 x 480. Yes, it is a VGA screen squeezed into a 2.8″ display size. The fonts, pictures and animations all pop-out literally on the beautiful display of the HTC Diamond. The display is flat bed meaning that the display is flushed with the body. I’ve never personally seen such a nice display on a mobile device. The following screenshot looks huge as it is 640 x 480. Further screenshots have been resized to 320 x 240
In the sunlight, the display does gets a little hard to see, but the Diamond copes up as it has light-sensor which adjusts it’s brightness according to it’s surroundings. Great stuff HTC!
The Diamond is powered by Qualcomm® MSM7201A™ 528 MHz which according to me was very much required to power such a device which promises to do so many things. It comes with 192mb of RAM. Out of this 192mb of RAM, 64mb is reserved for the GPU. So, you are left with still quite magnanimous 128mb of RAM(~60mb usable) which is enough to run many applications concurrently.
Overall, the speed of the device is great. It just takes 1-3 seconds(depending on the application) to start the application which is speedy by windows mobile standards. Given the amount of free RAM, you can leave the applications running and they will restart in almost no time at all.
HTC has bundled the very popular Opera Browser for the HTC Diamond. As mentioned before in this review, the Diamond is equipped with a VGA display and it does a great job in rendering Web Pages. You can read the text even without zooming in sometimes.
You can zoom in/out by tapping into the area you want to read. The best part of the special version of Opera is that the text is actually re flowed once you have zoomed in to that area. You can also use the D-Pad to zoom in and zoom out. Great stuff HTC and Opera! Finally the browsing experience is on par with the Safari browser of iPhone. Fortunately, HTC has not removed the IE mobile which still does a decent job of rendering mobile web pages. By the way, you can read the review of the ASUS EEE 1000H shown in the screenshot here
Officially, for the most parts of the world, it is just a Tri-Band device (900/1800/1900 MHz), but a little Google-ing will help you to make it a Quad Band device. All the Telephony functions work great. Voice was clear on the both sides. My friend to whom I did a sample call, actually pointed out that voice was most crisp he has ever heard! So, no problems in the phone department.
In the Contacts application, searching has been made more easier. HTC’s random access plugin enables the user to get to a particular contact quickly. The user can drag his finger up and down until the first letter of the contact appears in the middle of the screen. Nifty.
In the phone application, you can find the contact by pressing the key which contains the first few letters of your contact. It searches both numbers and names and it does this pretty quickly thanks to the fast processor.
HTC has created custom screens for both incoming and outgoing calls. The newer interface is much more finger friendly.
The front navigation buttons are flushed with the unit. They are a little hard to press, but get the job done. The answer and end keys are big enough to do their respective functions. The Home key takes you back to the Home Screen, while the Back key takes you back to the previous window. It pretty much does “ok button” function.
On the left side, you will find just the volume buttons. On the top, you will find the power button. There is nothing on the right side. On the bottom of the unit, you will find the ext-USB port which is used for syncing, charging and as an earphone jack.
This deserves a special mention in the review. HTC has really worked hard in this department. They have bundled 3 types of soft input keyboard to enable the user to enter the text without taking the stylus out of it’s silo.
Even changing between the different input panels has been made easier.
Back of the unit
The back of the Diamond depends regionally. If you buy it from the US via Sprint, you will get a flat back
If you get it directly from HTC, you will get a Diamond back
And finally, the O2 Ignito back
Last year, the HTC Touch came up with a TouchFlo 2D. It was an attempt of making the windows mobile more finger friendly. It was ok-ay but not great. TouchFlo 3D is a big improvement over the old TouchFlo 2D interface. It has some very nice gestures like swiping your finger up to see the next SMS or email message. Overall all the kinetic scrolling and animations worked great. Here are some screenshots of the new TouchFlo 3D interface:
I’ve included some more TouchFlo 3D screenshots at the end of the review
Some of great enhancements of brought by the HTC Diamond:
- take the stylus out, the unit will switch itself on by itself!
- super slim profile
- 4GB internal storage
- Built-in Disk drive mode (mounts the internal storage)
- Breath-taking VGA screen
- Built-in GPS
- and much more!
The HTC Diamond, just like any other Windows Mobile devices comes with mobile version of Windows Media Player. It does a decent job of playing back the media files. It also comes with a YouTube application, which is quite similar to the iPhone’s youtube application. It does the job fairly well. The videos looked great on the VGA screen.
Please note that YouTube application actually runs full desktop version of the youtube videos and not the mobile version. So, make sure that you are on a unlimited data plan unless you want huge monthly cellphone bills. ;)
HTC has also bundled a great game called Teeter, which uses the Diamond’s built-in accelerometer.
The HTC Diamond is powered by 900maH battery. This is not a huge battery by Windows Mobile standards. Given the slew of communication radios and other bells and whistles, you are not going to get 4 day or 5 day battery life with this device. I charge my device daily, so battery life is not a problem with me. You will surely be able to get a full day with moderate use. Few days back, I wrote an article on how to improve the battery life of HTC Diamond. You can check that here.
The stylus is non-telescopic and magnetic in nature. It is neither big nor small. But, I love the fact that it non-telescopic. Taking the stylus out from it’s silo turns the unit on, which was pretty cool.
What I didn’t like
The ringer volume is little on the low side. This is not a problem for me as I’m not a fan of phones who have high ringer volume. For a business man like me, who receives 80-100 calls in a day won’t like to be terrified due to the high speaker volume. Even with my previous phones I used to keep the volume low.
The camera is has no flash. The quality of the camera is quite usable for emailing and MMS-ing. But, wherever there are low light conditions, you are bound to get (very) grainy pictures.
Also, the reset hole is hidden in the stylus silo. As a result, you need to take off the battery cover, if you want to reset the unit.
There is no micro-SD slot. So, you have to make yourself satisfied with the 4GB of memory. For me, it is more than enough as I don’t plan to watch DVDs on this little thing even though I’m sure that it is capable of doing that.
According to me, it is the best and the most elegant looking gadget, I’ve ever owned. It definitely has the WOW factor. It is powerful enough to carry out all the tasks I threw at it. It has all the bells and whistles that you would want in a modern day communicator. So, does it overshadow iPhone? If you are a business user, then yes. With the plethora of windows mobile applications and corporate support, the HTC Diamond is best deal you can strike between power and style.
If you are a casual user, I would like you to give a chance to Diamond. I am sure, you won’t be disappointed. It is a very powerful device. Personally, I find it better looking too than the Apple iPhone.
Some more HTC TouchFlo 3D screenshots