HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

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I’ve been looking forward to the arrival of the Touch Diamond for quite some time. Windows Mobile used to be my mobile platform of choice, but since using the Nokia N95 and N95 8GB, I have been swayed over to the Series 60 OS. The N95 8GB has been my main phone for about 6mths now, and it’s been great. It was faster, more stable, had much better signal and camera than any Windows Mobile device I had used. My hope with the Diamond was that Windows Mobile had caught up to provide the easy and speedy experience that other phones provide these days.

HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

Straight out of the box the Touch Diamond feels special. It’s not only small for a Windows Mobile device, it is small full stop! It is absolutely tiny, yet still packs in HSDPA, WiFi, BT, GPS and FM radios, underneath a VGA display! It is a fanastic achievement, and shows that a Windows Mobile device can be good looking, thin and capable at the same time.

HTC Touch Diamond First ImpressionsNokia N95 8GB, HTC Touch Diamond, iPod Touch

The front of the unit is completely flat, with a flush screen and buttons. A flush mounted screen is sooooo much better than the quarter inch high frame around the screens on previous HTC devices, especially when it’s going to get dirty from being poked every few seconds.

I can’t help wishing the four buttons and the d-pad at the bottom were touch-sensitive as opposed to physical buttons. That was it would have been one contiunous slab of glass from top to bottom, instead of getting cut short to continue with plastic. Still the buttons have a solid feel, and the d-pad button is rather clever. In the Camera application, a light touch (not a press) on the centre button will focus the camera!

HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

The VGA display is absolutely stunning, undoubtedly the best I’ve seen on a Windows Mobile device. Compared to my iPod Touch it is not quite as bright, but it is so very close. Where it does one-up the iPod Touch (and more importantly the iPhone) is on resolution, a fabulous 640×480 pixels squeezed into 2.8″. My N95 8GB has a 2.8″ screen, which up until now looked pretty good. In comparison to the pin-sharp display on the Diamond it is just left for dead.

HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

To be honest though, I’m finding the beauty to be only skin deep. The TouchFlo 3D interface looks quite nice, but I’m not sure how functional it is. Anything that can be done in TouchFlo 3D can be done elsewhere, and often without the lag that is constantly hurting the experience. Obviously it’s been designed to go up against the interface on the iPhone, but the performance makes it more of a hassle to use than a help.

HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

The Opera browser suffers from similar performance issues. Opening the browser is sluggish, and results in long pauses. The zooming isn’t particularly smooth either, and has a weird bug that chops of the top and/or bottom of some pages (like Gmail).

Signal strength isn’t great either. Compared to my N95 8GB is quite poor actually. I run my phones locked onto 3G, because when I drop back to GPRS/EDGE I am roaming (hence data is very expensive). I don’t have very good signal in the house, but it was never an issue for the N95 8GB. With the Diamond, I am forever seeing the “searching for network” icon, which obviously means emails, messages and calls don’t come through.

HTC Touch Diamond First Impressions

I’m posting this in the afternoon, so I can speak about the battery life, and the news is “ok”. I disconnected the Diamond from it’s charger at 6:30am, and by 12pm (as you can see in these photos) I had the low battery warning indicator showing in the menu bar. I was at work so it hardly got thrashed. The unit I have is absolutely brand new, so the battery may take a few charges to wear in. I will reserve judgement for now.

On the whole I’m a bit disappointed at this point. It just feels too slow, and the signal issues are driving me crazy. Perhaps a ROM update will come out soon to fix these things, it has happened before. I will report back when I have used the Diamond for a bit longer.

EDIT: This device was given to Judie at Mobius, who sent it on to me because it’s a Euro/Asian model that is less compatible with the US 3G networks. For those interested the ROM version on my Diamond is 1.37.707.1WWE

EDIT 2: Photos taken on my new Canon EOS 400D DSLR. Thoughts?

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About the Author

Mitchell Oke
Mitchell is a video producer and director working with Australia's leading motoring news sites and car companies. He's always on the go with a camera in hand. With a Bachelor of Creative Technology (Digital Video Production), Mitchell's worked for News Limited, CarAdvice.com and as a freelancer for many years.