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HTC Touch Diamond2 - HTC Touch Diamond2

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

User Score

Review Price £461.99

Another area where this model scores highly over its predecessor is the screen. As we've already seen, the Diamond2's 3.2in display fills pretty much the whole of the front face of the phone. Colours look excellent and the screen is nice and bright so it's easy to read outdoors. The resolution is 480 x 800 pixels - the same as on the Touch HD's 3.8in screen - and text and graphics look just as sharp. However, the screen is resistive rather than the capacitive type used by the HTC Magic and iPhone and as such is less accurate and responsive when registering finger presses - something which is especially noticeable in the Opera web browser where it can sometimes take three or four presses on smaller links for the handset to respond correctly.

Despite this, the Diamond2's onscreen keyboard works surprisingly well. In part this is because HTC has redesigned the keyboard so now when you press a key a pop-up graphic of the letter or number appears above it (just as on the iPhone's virtual keyboard). The phone also vibrates slightly when a key is pressed to give you a little bit more feedback. These additions, along with the XT9 predictive text system helps speed up text entry.

The list of smartphones with pretty ho-hum cameras is surprisingly long, but thankfully HTC has just managed to keep the Diamond2 off that list. While its not right up there with the very best snappers from say Sony Ericsson's Cybershot range, it is significantly better than most you see on today's smartphones. For starters, it has a decent 5-megapixel resolution and also packs in autofocus. As a result, shots taken outdoors look reasonably sharp and detailed. There are also some neat features in the cameraphone app such as the ability to stitch together shots to create quick panoramas. However, the snapper is let down somewhat by its longish shutter lag and lack of a flash.

One of the key features that this handset boasts over previous HTC models is the touch-sensitive zoom bar that sits under the screen. It works in most of the key applications including the picture viewer, Google Maps app and the Opera web browser. It's not quite as good as having the iPhone's multi-touch pinch to zoom feature, but it's probably the nearest thing to it in terms of usability, and really does make a massive difference when using the browser. The usefulness of being able to quickly slide the zoom control to resize text and graphics on web pages really shouldn't be underestimated.

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rav

May 20, 2009, 5:09 am

haven't even read the review yet but i have to comment. never (again) did i think i'd see TR give a WinMo phone a recommended!!! and it's resistive!



Ohmz

May 20, 2009, 7:13 am

@ ravmania, I'm sure it was under duress. ;)

ilovethemonkeyhead

May 20, 2009, 11:16 am

don't worry. they'll get it perfect with the third iteration. mark my words, as soon as they out a captive screen and winmo 7 (or android, or hey - dual boot)

Oliver Levett

May 20, 2009, 2:10 pm

Why no pictures of a real device?





Also, the resistive screens on the latest generation of HTC devices are incredibly responsive. And sometimes the ability to use a stylus is quite useful, so I'd much prefer resistive.





You mention the zoom bar as a brand new feature... The capacitive panel on the original Diamond had a zoom feature if you rotated your thumb around the central button. Works really well and is far easier to use than having to use two hands to pinch-zoom.





Also, you complain about "fiddly menus". In all the ROMs I've seen for the Topaz, it has "HTC Menu Enhancement" which makes all the menus nice and finger friendly. And no, it's not a part of manila, Manila has a completely different implementation of a similar idea.





Did the device you had have people centric communication? (as in, HTCs new contact management system which is integrated with manila) It seems a fairly large omission of your review if it did...

Ed

May 20, 2009, 2:23 pm

@Oliver: There are no pictures of the real device because this review was written by a freelancer who isn't paid (nor has the equipment)to provide pictures of the device as well as a review. For this reason we've had to use stock shots and HTC in its infinite wisdom has only provided rendered images.





Rest assured, though, I should be getting one of these phones in today to shoot a video review of it. If so I'll pop up to our photography studio and grab a couple of snaps for you and replace some of the rendered ones.





I'll get to the rest of your questions when I've actually had a play with the device myself.

Keithe6e

May 20, 2009, 2:53 pm

@Oliver: nd sometimes the ability to use a stylus is quite useful, so I'd much prefer resistive.





You do realize you can use a stylus on a capacitive screen, yeah it's a special stylus but you can still use one.

Niall

May 20, 2009, 3:12 pm

Why no pictures of a real device?


>Ed has already answered this one.





Also, the resistive screens on the latest generation of HTC devices are incredibly responsive. And sometimes the ability to use a stylus is quite useful, so I'd much prefer resistive.


> They may be better, but ‘incredibly responsive’ is going too far. As the review points out they’re still not as responsive to finger presses as the capacitance screens on the likes of the iPhone and Magic.





You mention the zoom bar as a brand new feature... The capacitive panel on the original Diamond had a zoom feature if you rotated your thumb around the central button. Works really well and is far easier to use than having to use two hands to pinch-zoom.


> Easier to use than multi-touch? You mustn’t have used an iPhone, because if you had you’d know how ridiculous that statement is! Anyway, the zoom bar is much better than the old system.





Also, you complain about "fiddly menus". In all the ROMs I've seen for the Topaz, it has "HTC Menu Enhancement" which makes all the menus nice and finger friendly. And no, it's not a part of manila, Manila has a completely different implementation of a similar idea.


> The fiddly menus and buttons remain. Sure, some menus work with the HTC Menu Enhancement, but not all (folder trees etc). Plus buttons and icons within non-TouchFlo apps are still tiny so you have to use the stylus or a fingernail to press them accurately. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is being sold as ‘Touch’ phone!





Did the device you had have people centric communication? (as in, HTCs new contact management system which is integrated with manila) It seems a fairly large omission of your review if it did...


 Yes, but there was a lot to cover in the review and I didn’t think it was quite as ground breaking or useful a feature as you make out. Maybe Ed will cover it in the video review.





Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good handset, but I don’t want people to get the impression that it’s without its faults.

Oliver Levett

May 20, 2009, 3:43 pm

@Keith "You do realize you can use a stylus on a capacitive screen, yeah it's a special stylus but you can still use one."


Yes, but I'd rather not have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a stylus. I can just jab away with virtually anything and it works. And I can wear gloves to use my screen.





@Niall


Thanks for the clarification on pictures.





The stock screen settings may not be ideal, but you can very easily decrease the required finger pressure (a single registry tweak, which some ROMs have already) and then you need even less effort to do anything.





My statement about pinch-zooming was fairly specific. It was a criticism of having to use two hands to zoom, because the device is too large to hold in one hand and pinch-zoom with the same hand! With both the Diamond and the Topaz, you can zoom one handed which is far easier if you happen to be doing anything other than sitting at a table with nothing in your hands.





All the menus (context menus and the like) do have a menu enhancement. The checkboxes are not "menus" as I meant, they are controls. Although, with the extended settings in Comm Manager and a lot of other tweaks how many times do you ever see a check box?

AlmostDone

May 20, 2009, 4:01 pm

I would just like to add WinMob users are probably the most technical. Many users have been enjoying the features such as the new touchflo and now even zoom bar on their Touch HD and similar. XDA-developers have custom roms which is even better than ones supplied with HTC including the touch diamond 2.





So hopefully people at TR don't dismiss WM devices so quickly. For example the iPhone don't even have GPS turn by turn voice navigation which I use quite frequently.

Oliver Levett

May 20, 2009, 4:26 pm

Even though ROMs can't yet be flashed to the Diamond2, that hasn't stopped me from releasing some, with lots of tweaks under the hood to increase performance...





Turn by turn navigation is very useful, and we have Google street view as well, so we have the best of all worlds... :)

Ed

May 20, 2009, 4:36 pm

The iPhone has StreetView as well. There are also turn by turn navigation apps available.

Keithe6e

May 20, 2009, 4:55 pm

@Oliver: Yes, but I'd rather not have to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a stylus





Less than £2 for 2 delivered, you mean ridiculously low, you could spend more if you wish. Anyway like Niall pointed out it's meant to be a touch phone, and using resistive isn't the best tech for the job. Not sure why your even being so defensive, the review gives the Touch a recommended after all, and points out areas where things could be better. Maybe TR needs a HTC fanboy checkbox, where the review can be slightly altered to stop people getting upset.

Ed

May 20, 2009, 8:02 pm

I've now added those photos.

Andy0d2

May 20, 2009, 9:28 pm

love that idea keith - the one with a check box


when you create an account there should be boxes to tick microsoft or apple / xbox or playstation etc and then the guys just alter any words that may offend





alternatively we could just grow up and deal with the harsh reality :-)

Chris

May 20, 2009, 9:51 pm

Thanks for the snaps Ed, much appreciated.

Nicholas Pires

June 3, 2009, 3:40 am

I've had this phone since the beginning of April and have to say it is fantastic. It's my first window mobile phone and have to say I'm very impressed. Even used its GPS to help me navigate around Japan by downloading google maps and viewing them using a free app called Terracrosser so I didn't incur data roaming charges! 800x480 res screen also allows me to watch movies full size without the need to resize them and plus because it's specs are very similar to the Touch HD there's so many apps out there on xda-forums for you to try out. Great phone!

AlexRat

July 30, 2009, 12:16 am

In the video it's mentioned that you have to scroll through every screen. I've read/seen this mentioned about the original Diamond and it simply wasn't true.





If you scroll across in the middle of the screen, it goes per screen. If you scroll across on the icons at the bottom, you can go straight where you want to.





Have they removed this feature or did somebody not bother to read the instructions?

Donald

October 7, 2009, 3:37 am

Now if we can get HTC to get off their collective butts and pay Qualcomm for the video acceleration drivers it and the rest of the TP series would be truely a work of art. But till then they are just crippled hardware.

John 52

November 4, 2009, 9:27 pm

I bought my phone from Handtec in May. The screen is fantastic and I rarely have to reset it - a big improvement over older phones. Video streaming works a treat and the built in YouTube app is great. Sound quality is fine and it is handy to be able to pull the micro SD storage card in and out without resetting the phone. So far, I haven't had a problem with software running off the storage card locking up after the phone has been in standby mode - a big irritation with WM5.





A few gripes and 1 major ISSUE:


- Touch Flo looks great but irritates as it takes more steps to get to all the detail of a contact, diary, etc. I end up working around Touch Flo rather than using it much


- The HTC browser looks great but doesn't seem to work that well. Big delays and oversensitive zoom slider. I end up using Internet Explorer - much better than earlier versions but still nothing like as good as iphone browser


- Touchflo has a nice feature on contacts where commonly used contacts can be selected and listed on the top Contacts screen. Unfortunately the PC sync software regularly loses its mind and does a complete re-sync, overwriting these selections on the phone. Looks nice but I have lost patience reinstating them every couple of weeks and now just ignore it.


- Typing with the stylus is quite slow as you need quite a lot of pressure to get the phone to register your key presses


- The camera is very slow and the lack of flash makes it pretty useless indoors


- The headphone socket is combined with the mini USB sync/charge socket is a HTC variation of the mini USB plug. You need to use HTC headphones or buy an adapter - cheap on Ebay but a little annoying


- The casing and screen are very sensitive to finger prints – I end up wiping it constantly. The screen is pretty useless in sunlight.


- MAJOR WATCHOUT: The reset button is under the back cover. Right next to this is a recessed casing screw with an anti-tamper 'void' sticker. It is very easy to stick the stylus into the screw instead of the button by mistake. I found out the very expensive consequence (£70) when the touch screen developed a fault after only a few weeks. I then spend many more weeks arguing with Handtec and HTC to no avail - I had to pay up. HTC even emailed a photo of the damaged 'void' sticker which had pretty clearly never had a screwdriver in it. There is very little clearance inside the casing to put tape over the screw hole and if you block the hole with something you would again risk damaging the sticker in some way. All this would be avoided if the 'void' sticker were simply put on a different screw. If I were cynical I might think this was deliberate to avoid paying out for warranty claims!


- The phone Handtec provided is apparently an Eastern European model. I found this out when I tried to download the Win 6.5 upgrade and was refused. A support call to HTC clarified why. Apparently the E European version will be released later in Nov.

paulrutherford

March 31, 2010, 8:21 pm

It's a great product - until it goes wrong. I've had mine six months and the touch screen has completely frozen. No response at all. The best the 'help' line can advise is a hard reset, thus losing all data. As that doesn't fix the problem, the product now has to be returned (for up to 2 weeks). HTC won't do product replacement nor will they do refunds. So - by all means bill and coo over the product, but don't expect anything that looks remotely like service if you have a problem.

Amalia

December 3, 2010, 6:31 pm

AVOID HTC MOBILES!!!!


The worst customer service, the worst mobiles! burn pixels on new mobiles from the first day I opened the box, big delays in everything you want to do with the mobile, after 3 months the mobile stuck and it couldn't get the signal from my provider no one could call me and I couldn't call at the end after 8 months the whole screen stuck and I couldn't even see my calls and contacts or send a message! The service in Greece is not take over the responsibility the only thing they are doing is to fix the damage and send me back the same mobile after 2 times service, 1 hard reset and 2 soft resets! No one from the company could help me to solve the problem! I lost all my contacts and emails 3 times! I charge my account several times for hours trying to speak with their service and no one was able to help!!!! The only the can do again is to fix the damage and send me back the same device after 3 huge problems I faced with it in less than a year!


It is like I put 460 euros in the garbage!!! Do not hesitate to contact me for any further info! PLEASE DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY!


My mobile was the HTC DIAMOND 2.

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