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.