HTC Touch Diamond2 review
HTC’s commitment to Windows Mobile and its own TouchFLO 3D enhancements has been dogged to say the least. After its disastrous debut with the first Touch Diamond phone, when the software clearly wasn’t ready, we’d have forgiven it for throwing in the towel and dumping Microsoft’s tottering phone OS altogether.
Bravely, however, it has kept on banging away, with the result a well-deserved PC Pro Labs win for its Touch HD at the back end of 2008. The Touch Diamond2 heralds yet another significant step forward for TouchFLO 3D – and even in the preproduction implementation we had on our test phone, it marks a significant improvement on all that has gone before it.
First, though, we’ll focus on the hardware, for though the Touch Diamond2 hasn’t seen much of an overhaul from a platform point of view – it still relies on the same 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A chip as its predecessor, still boasts A-GPS, Bluetooth 2 (with A2DP), an FM radio tuner and a front facing VGA video call camera – there has been plenty of change elsewhere.
Most noticeably, the faceted back that gave the original Diamond its name has been dropped and replaced by a large expanse of flat, glossy black plastic. Apparently owners didn’t like the fact that it wobbled on a flat service when they tapped away at the screen.
Also obvious at first glance is the increase in size. The Diamond2 is a more bulky phone, and thus less pocketable, than its forebear at 53 x 108 x 14mm and it’s 8g heavier too. No longer does it come with as much storage built in: the original boasted 4GB where this model has an eighth as much. And we were disappointed to see that, unlike the Touch HD, this phone retains HTC’s annoying proprietary audio output arrangement – unless you’re okay with using the bundled stereo hands-free headset, you’ll have to buy an adapter to connect your own via the phone’s mini-USB socket.
Fortunately, the Diamond2 is, in every other respect, a far superior product. A larger 3.2in screen more than makes up for the extra bulk, and that extra size has also allowed HTC to squeeze in more pixels.
The screen boasts a 480 x 800 (WVGA) resolution, which is the same as the much larger Touch HD. Its extra real estate benefits web browsing no end, with headlines and sometimes even smaller text viewable when zoomed out.
We’re also much happier with the overall design of the Diamond2; it feels more expensive with the main button panel beneath the screen finished in expensive-looking brushed aluminium rather than tacky plastic. In conjunction with the touch sensitive “Zoom Bar” between it and the screen above, it makes this phone much less of a faff and fiddle to use. (Incidentally, if you do need to do a hardware reset, this is how to go about it.)
And there’s more: the camera has seen a boost to five megapixels, there’s now memory expansion via a micro-SD slot, and the battery itself is also much larger. Where the Diamond’s was a wimpy 900mAh lithium ion unit, the Diamond2’s is 1,100mAh.
That may not sound like much, but in our real world tests the Diamond2 was able to offer a far more useful lifetime of 169 hours compared to the 52 hours of the Diamond.
HTC’s changes to TouchFLO 3D are the icing on an already-tasty cake. It feels snappier than the version installed on the Touch HD or Touch Pro did, with noticeably fewer pauses, and it responded to screen taps in what felt like much more of a “real time” fashion.
|Dimensions||53 x 108 x 14mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0MP|
|Resolution||480 x 800|
Other wireless standards
|OS family||Windows Mobile|