By June 6, 2008

HTC Touch Diamond review (Part 2)

HTC Touch Diamond review (Part 2) – “Getting Started”

Last night I started setting up the Touch Diamond. First things first it’s a case of removing the back cover, which slides off upwards, removing the battery and then slipping the SIM card in to place.

HTC Touch Diamond SIM Slot

HTC Touch Diamond SIM Slot

At first boot the device sets itself up in much the same way as any other Windows Mobile device. However, after the first reboot you’ll notice something different as once the phone starts up, having played a little startup tune, you are presented with a virtually blank screen. This plain black screen lasts for about 30 seconds (long enough for you to consider that there maybe something wrong) before you are told to “tap here to launch touch-flo 3D” and then “Starting touch-flo 3D”.

I’ll cover the new touch-flo 3D interface in more detail in a later post but suffice to say that this is a nice extension of the original touch-flo as seen on the HTC Touch but it’s a lot prettier and has additional tabs. It’s also more deeply integrated than the original.

Setting up an Exchange email account is a breeze just as with most WM devices at the moment. There is a nice wizard included in WM 6.1 that takes you though the entire process the first time you boot up. Within just a few minutes that account is set up. The next thing for me to set up is my other email account that requires imap 4. This is again quite straight forward barring a slight problem with the larger Diamond soft keyboards. There are times when the larger keyboard gets in the way and where they seem not to obey certain rules like making the screen scroll when not everything fits on. This could be down to WM or the SIP It’s not a huge problem but can be quite frustrating when you are filling in forms with lots of text fields.

I’ve only been using the Diamond for a short period of time but I’ve noticed that the signal or reception seems weaker than on my TyTN II. I live in a village and coverage isn’t great but I always have a signal. However with the Diamond sitting next to me now it still searching for coverage. It finds a single bar on EDGE now and then but mostly has no service. Again I should point out that this is a demo unit but I just hope the retail version is better in this respect.

Driving home from work this evening I realised that the battery in the Diamond was running a little low so I thought I’d stick it on charge. I plugged in the car charger, the screen turned on, but then the battery wouldn’t charge. The charge icon appears briefly on the display but disappears. I’ve had this with some other devices recently where they seem to be fussy about the type of charger you use. I tried a few different car chargers but the Diamond didn’t seem to like any of them. It seems ok with mains chargers and USB Sync/Charge cables though so perhaps you need a special car charger?

In my post yesterday I mentioned the touch screen and how this is made from toughened glass rather than plastic. I had been told that this made the screen ver scratch resistant. However, what I failed to notice yesterday is that despite this being a new review unit there are already a few nasty marks on the screen. I’ve also since found out that a screen protector is included with the retail Diamond so I guess there is a reason for that!

The touch screen on the Touch Diamond is definitely more sensitive than other HTC devices such as the TyTN II. Most of the time it will respond quite well to being pressed or swiped with the tip of your finger rather than having to rely upon using a fingernail. I say most of the time as there have been some times when I’ve found myself wanting to either press the screen quite hard or else resort to using a fingernail or stylus. There are going to be inevitable comparisons between the Touch Diamond and the iPhone – in the touchscreen sensitivity department the iPhone wins hands down.

I’ve briefly used the built in GPS with Google maps. Having installed the app. I took the phone outside and enabled GPS tracking. It initially took a few minutes to get a GPS position fix but subsequent uses have been much quicker. The GPS doesn’t seem to work at all indoors (although why you would need GPS in your own home I don’t know!) even next to a window where the TyTN II would pick up a signal. This isn’t a very scientific test though but GPS testing is tricky at the best of times. It works very well and accurately when used in the car though.

The angular or faceted design of the back of the Diamond means that it sits comfortably in the palm of your hand as the corners have been chiseled off. As I said before it also looks quite cool and it’s something that other people in the office that have had a look at the device today have commented on. There is a slight negative to this design though: When the device is placed on a table it’s not 100% stable so if you were to press the buttons at the bottom of the screen it rocks from side to side. This is particularly noticeable with the end-call key which you may well press to reject a call. The other problem is that there are three distinct high spots on the back that even after 24hrs of use are showing signs of wear. I wonder what this would be link in a month, three months or a year?! This may also be quite annoying if you are typing on the HTC Touch Pro if that is to have the same back plate.

I know that I have only used the HTC Touch Diamond for one day so far but I have to say that I am really enjoying it. There are lots of cool things that I keep discovering, like the Email message preview in Touch-Flo 3D that I’ll show you later and that when you turn the device face-down on the table it’ll mute an incomming call.

The VGA screen is glorious, extremely clear and easy to read. The backlight can also be set extremely bright, much brighter than any other device that I have used in the past. This means that despite the screen being quite shiny it can remain quite clear even when used outside in bright conditions. The backlight even has an automatic setting so that the backlight dims when the ambient lighting is dim or brightens when you are outside. Genius!

There are some nice bits of software installed on the Diamond from YouTube and Opera to MP3 trimmer and audio booster. I’ll cover more of this later but now I’m off to play Teeter – the marble game on the Diamond!

Review by: Matt

See Part 1 of the review.

See Part 3 of the review.

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Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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