HTC Touch Diamond

It's hard to hate the beautifully designed and feature-rich HTC Touch Diamond, though its frequently laggy interface did test our patience, and its battery life is a concern.


7.0
CNET Rating
6.5
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design
Ordinarily we begin to review the design of a handset once we've removed it from its box, however, the packaging for HTC's Touch Diamond rates a mention. Keeping in line with the angled theme of "diamond", the stiff, black plastic box sits like an inverted pyramid on a flat bottom, like a diamond standing up out of a wedding ring.

Our initial impression of the handset is that it's smaller than we'd originally suspected. Compared to the iPhone 3G, the Diamond seems positively petite. Necessarily, the Diamond's screen is also smaller than its competitor from Apple — 2.8 inches compared to the iPhone's 3.5 inches — but features VGA resolution which is outstanding.

Very few buttons or ports adorn the edge of the Diamond; there is a power key, a volume rocker, and the combined USB charging/headphones port at the bottom. The warning sign here is no microSD card slot as is commonly found on smartphones, but more on this later.

With the power on, the magic of the Touch Diamond and HTC's new TouchFlo 3D interface comes to life. While the use of 3D is a misnomer — it's really faux 3D in a 2D space — the illusion is fittingly futuristic and stunning to look at. Instead of a point-and-stab grid layout for the main menu screens, as we find on almost all touchscreen phones, the TouchFlo interface operates horizontally. Almost all phone functions, particularly the ones you will use daily, are accessible from this menu system, meaning that for the most part the Windows Mobile operating system lives in the background.

Features
For such a small handset, the HTC Touch Diamond leaves almost no common feature by the wayside. HSDPA (7.2Mbps) data speeds, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, A2DP Bluetooth, an accelerometer and a 3.2-megapixel camera plus a VGA quality front-facing camera for video calling.

When it's released the HTC Touch Diamond will be available exclusively through Telstra and will include access to Telstra's range of online content services. We've had a chance to test Foxtel mobile TV on the Diamond, but strangely have only been able to watch the stream in a tiny postage stamp size, not even entering fullscreen mode has helped.

Disappointingly there is no dedicated mapping software to accompany the Diamond's built-in GPS chipset. Similar to the iPhone 3G, Diamond owners can access Web-based mapping services, but without a dedicated navigation solution there seems to be little point in having A-GPS at all.

Also similar to the iPhone, the Touch Diamond is quite a handy portable media player. Making use of Windows Media Player, the Diamond is capable of playing MP4 and WMV video files, and plays a range of unprotected audio formats. The Diamond features 4GB of internal memory for storing media and applications, but as we mentioned above, it doesn't include an SD card reader for expanding this memory.

Performance
With a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and 192MB RAM the HTC Touch Diamond is very nearly powerful enough to operate efficiently. Navigating the TouchFlo 3D menu is, for the most part, a pleasing experience, if you're prepared to move your finger patiently over the icons. That said, we did experience frequent lag spikes executing and closing applications, and the review unit we've been using reset itself more than once during testing.

Web browsing using a combination of Telstra's Next G network speeds and the modified Opera Mobile Web browser is fantastic, and on par with browsing using the iPhone's Safari browser. Combining touchscreen finger gestures and the Diamond's jogwheel makes for accurate and fast page scanning, and the Opera browser renders pages excellently at any magnification.

Watching video files or listening to music is great, though the bundled speaker set could stand to be louder. It's also a shame that the bundle headset connects with a non-standard mini-USB connection so you can't use your favourite headphones.

Far worse than any of the issues in our previous criticisms is our concerns over the Touch Diamond's below average battery performance. Unlike recent release smartphones with 1500mAh batteries — BlackBerry Bold and Nokia's E71 — the Diamond only uses a 900mAh unit and the difference is noticeable as by the end of each day of testing the Diamond ran out of juice. Even with light to moderate use of Web browsing and media, the Diamond would struggle to get us to the end of the day.

Overall
It's very hard to hate the Diamond, though the frequent lag spikes did test our patience and the touch interface still has a few areas which are difficult to navigate with fingers. In a world obsessed with Apple's iPhone, the Touch Diamond gives us a valiant competitor to consider. The TouchFlo 3D interface is fantastic and with a bit more power under the hood, and a bigger battery, this smartphone would be a winner. It certainly has us looking forward to HTC's next handset.

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Chloe posted a comment   

The Good:It looks pretty amazing, espically on the back.

The Bad:EVERYTHING.

I'm fourteen and as most teenagers they use there phones alot, I don't suggest buying this phone. I text alot and after writing a message that is long than about four words... You get very sick of it. It last's me about six hours and when people call I can't hear anything. Do not buy this phone ! Looks are not all that matter's! It's terrible and drives me INSANE.

ASH
10
Rating
 

ASH posted a review   

The Good:Very nice Phone

The Bad:Nothing is bad.

Very nice slim phone with all features...............

 

bong posted a comment   

The Good:Everything except battery

The Bad:battery life when using wifi, 3g

You must upgrade to the latest firmwware to solve your problems with the UI laggardness.
You dont have to get it from the HTC site there are other sites that do host the latest official firmware from HTC. Just google it.
Ive never encountered the slow UI problem that others have mentioned.
Now for bettery life in standby it does last 3 days provided i dont use it.
When i text a lot it goes down 2 and a half days.
Its when making calls that i noticed that a 20minute call can eat up 20 percent of the battery.
Restarting alone though can eat up 5 percent of the battery.
I also went into the settings to make sure that when i close an app it's really closed and not running in the background.
This phone should be used by people who have already used windows smartphones in the past.
The screen is small but very crisp with its 640 by 480 resoulution.
Camera is well average.
But i got this phone for only 180 usd.
Im not complaining.
The only other windows mobile phone i would consider at THE SAME or slightly more price range would be the omnia II by samsung with its better processor, xvid/dix playback without conversion, and lovely amoled screen at 800 by 640.
Its screen though is 3.7 and its body slightly larger than the iphone.
However even the iphone i consider a little too large for my jean pockets.
I carry two phones one for cellualr and the other is my wireless landline.
So the touch diamond does fulfill what i intended the phone to be in my life.

Henry
6
Rating
 

Henry posted a review   

The Good:Design

The Bad:Almost everything

Using it for 1 year, here's what I found:

The Good: Sleek Design, nice to hold in hand

The Bad:
1)SMS system (display 25 sms only)
2)Camera performing very poor during less present of light
3)Speaker's sound too low
4)When using earfree the phone doesn't ring
5)Get heat easily
6)Very poor battery life
7)Slow responsive
8)Low memory space (4G & non-expendable)

Not recommended phone for any field.

If you are focus on business/email, get Blackberry, if you are focus on entertainment (camera, music, video, surfing) get Nokia / Sony Ericsson.

 

secaman posted a comment   

The Good:desighn

The Bad:not bad

i have this phone since a week [ts very good

 

AussieBabee posted a comment   

The Good:Design, entertainment, looks, functionALITY

The Bad:battery, complicatedness

complicated at first but great when adjusted, games are fab, design is amazingly spiffy and the extra features are great.

battery life is not long.

 

plmor posted a comment   

Has 2 swaps to try & fix. Keeps freezing up. 3rd time lucky. Will keep you posted. Just bewrned still a few bugs in this one. Could be good though once these are ironed out. As stated battery life bad.Wouldn't buy again

 

timdoll posted a comment   

The Good:size

The Bad:touchscreen & bugs

Not recomended: great phone except touchscreen wares out after 8 months and the opperating system is buggy.

 

brideofninespiders posted a comment   

The Good:yes

The Bad:no

I have been using this phone for over a year now, at first it was an issue to do almost anything on it but once you customize it is a great phone, very happy with it.

 

Sree posted a comment   

The Good:look

The Bad:efficiency

Its a very bad experience buying this phone.
It stopped working after 3 months, nothing comes up in display.. no option works ..neither the service center has equipment to fix this issue. All my money is put in waste now.
DON'T BUY THIS PHONE.


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User Reviews / Comments  HTC Touch Diamond

  • Chloe

    Chloe

    "I'm fourteen and as most teenagers they use there phones alot, I don't suggest buying this phone. I text alot and after writing a message that is long than about four words... You get very sick of ..."

  • ASH

    ASH

    Rating10

    "Very nice slim phone with all features..............."

  • bong

    bong

    "You must upgrade to the latest firmwware to solve your problems with the UI laggardness.
    You dont have to get it from the HTC site there are other sites that do host the latest official firm..."

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