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Jul 20, 2008

HTC Touch Diamond Review - by 'Y'

This post was contributed by the mysterious 'Y':



Finally.

It’s here.

The long awaited HTC Touch Diamond, HTC’s newest device, has been in my grasp for the past weekend.

Here’s my impression of it so far:

Hardware
I still can’t figure out how HTC managed to incorporate so much in such a small device: VGA display of incredible quality, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, 4 GB of internal storage, and a good 3.2 Megapixels autofocus camera. This is a truly amazing achievement setting a new standard for smart phones.
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Look and feel
The Diamond is indeed a gem. It’s small, slim, light and beautifully crafted. It makes other smart phones (including other HTC phones) seem bulky and old.
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TouchFLO 3D
It’s no secret that Windows Mobile has a rather obsolete and unimaginative UI. Version 6.1, which is the one used in the Diamond, is no different. Therefore, HTC decided to do what had to be done – cover it up and hide it under a customized UI of their own, named TouchFLO 3D. After playing with this amazing skin for some time, I can honestly say that under the circumstances, they did a good job. As long as you keep to the basic functions of the phone, you probably won’t see any traces of the Microsoft OS UI at all.The skin itself is fun to use and very aesthetically pleasing with many cool features such as flipping music album covers, 3D envelope stuffed with emails, animated weather forecasts and more.
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Internet
Another painful aspect of Windows Mobile is its terrible Internet Explorer. HTC must have thought the Diamond deserved something better for internet browsing and so they incorporated the latest mobile Opera browser (version 9.5). This browser delivers a much better browsing experience with smart zooming and scrolling capabilities and supports multiple windows, most dHTML, Javascript, cookies and more.
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Phone
The Diamond is a tri-band GSM phone supporting the 900/1800/1900MHz bands but not the US 850MHz band. However, with a little bit of hacking, there is a way to enable the US band. See link à http://www.mobiletechreview.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Number=30860Overall call quality is good on both ends of the line. However, speaker volume could have been better.
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Battery
Heaving read many concerns about the Diamond’s 900 mAH battery, I was eager to see how long the battery would last. I’m happy to report the battery lasts a good full working day with normal usage of the device (bear in mind, heavy WiFi or GPS use will drain the juice pretty fast). --
Performance
This is the part where the party is over. Though the Diamond boasts a powerful Qualcomm 528 MHz processor, the overall performance of the device and especially of the TouchFLO 3D is somewhat sluggish. Even after applying the latest ROM update addressing several issues, including performance, there’s no significant change. I hope HTC will devote some more effort to completely resolve this issue.
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Allow me to address some points raised by Gil in his initial Diamond review (http://mobilespoon.blogspot.com/2008/06/truth-about-diamond.html):

1. Screen Sensitivity:
I found screen sensitivity to be fairly reasonable. No extra pressure was needed to press a button than other devices I’ve used. Moreover, the sensitivity can be increased by changing a registry key (more details in the Diamond tweaks link below).
2. No Keyboard:
Indeed, the lack of a physical keyboard makes it harder on SMSing and emailing. HTC thought so too and the answer is HTC Touch Pro – a Diamond with a keyboard.
3. Screen Orientation:
For some reason, HTC decided not to enable automatic landscape mode in all features. However, using the GSEN tool (http://www.theunwired.net/?item=utility-free-the-htc-touch-diamond-s-accelerometer-with-skkv-gsen) solves the issue.
4. Image Viewer:
There’s actually quite a few things you can do with an image in the Image Viewer: zoom in/out using the cursor wheel, move in all directions, send it as an MMS message, start a slideshow and more.
5. Missing OK hardware button:
It is indeed annoying.

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Conclusion
The HTC Touch Diamond is definitely the best looking and most innovative Windows Mobile based smart phone to date. It’s great to look at and fun to use. However, its performance issues make it far from perfect. Hopefully, HTC will resolve this issue, making it a truly amazing smart phone.

‘Y’



Useful links
1. The ultimate Diamond Tweaks tool à http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=409540
2. List of Diamond tweaks (including performance enhancements) à http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=398265

1 comments:

Gil Bouhnick said...

Thanks for this great review!

Make sure to update us with new toughts and tweaks!

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