And there are other, more serious problems here. The main issue is performance. In adding all these extra whiz-bang features to Windows Mobile, it seems that HTC has seriously compromised the Diamond’s responsiveness. I expected the 528MHz processor to absolutely fly, especially with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional at the helm and a whopping 192MB of RAM, but I was all-too-often left twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to respond. Battery life is impressive from a pretty low-capacity 900mAh lithium-ion unit, but one-and-a-half to two days with light use is still a long way from being completely acceptable. And the phone also runs amazingly hot – after a brief five minute session browsing the web at HSDPA speeds, the rear panel was starting to make my fingers sweat.
Further disappointment comes in the shape of HTC’s proprietary ExtUSB headset/headphone connection – you’ll have to buy yourself a converter if you want to use anything but the rather rubbishy wired stereo headset included in the over-engineered pyramid-shaped box. In a phone that wants to challenge Apple’s finest, this is a major oversight.
Most unusual of all, however, is that there’s absolutely no way to expand the memory in this device. While 4GB may be a generous inclusion, surely you’d want to give owners the option to quickly transfer large files and install memory hungry applications, such as sat-nav software, without compromising the phone’s media storage capacity. But there’s no microSD slot anywhere to be seen.
The Touch Diamond packs in a lot of features and is a good effort by HTC to rival the iPhone’s touchscreen usability while retaining the power and extensibility of Windows Mobile. But despite the hype, the Diamond is distinctly half-baked.
Granted, the Touchflo 3D works better than ever to turn Windows Mobile into a genuine phone interface. It hides the ugly-duckling Windows interface away successfully, and browsing the web on HTC’s version of Opera Mobile is fantastic. But as a complete package, the Touch Diamond just doesn’t convince. Not only does the build not reach the standard set by the iPhone or even the previous generation of HTC Touch phones (this is especially disappointing given the £400+ price tag), but the performance is laboured and the software not entirely stable.
Score in detail