Here’s our special report on the HTC Touch Diamond. We managed to get a demo unit for over a week and, in addition to the report below, we filmed a daily video diary of it in action. However, since writing the report below and filming these vids, we’ve received the final UK unit with an newer more stable version of the TouchFLO 3D system. The box it comes in is gorgeous, with the CD’s hidden away in the lid and the manuals tucked away at the bottom.
The power pack now has a glowing “HTC” logo on it too (oh, this is the European adaptor I’m using here, but you’ll get the right one for your country)
Here’s the CD’s tucked away in the top compartment. The whole thing is like a fancy chocolate box. I must give a big “woo” to whoever designed the box too!
We’ve done a quick film of the final boxed unit. This was the first time I’d opened the package, and this is what you’ll be getting if you buy it!
We were one of the first websites in the planet to get the phone and we filmed a special “week with the HTC Touch Diamond” series. These videos are perhaps the best way to see what you’ll be getting from the handset, so check them out with the links below. These were incredibly popular and we received questions on them daily, with answers given through the daily updates….
The HTC Touch Diamond is a thin,
sleek handset with some wonderful design touches. This is a definite design
shift from previous handsets – nothing but the miniUSB port is the same.
I’ve literally had the phone for an hour as I type this, so I’m
going to do a very speedy overview of the phone below..
The back of the handset, as you can see above, is a black
reflective surface with more angles than you can imagine. Each shape is, of
course, a Diamond. The edges of the phone have almost been chiseled off. It’s a
fantastic looking thing.
The 3.2 megapixel camera somehow points directly at you, even
though that itself is on a diamond – a silver coloured one with text showing the
auto-focus capabilities of the camera.
At the bottom our old friend the miniUSB port sits next to the
microphone. The USB port allows charging, syncing and you can plug your
headphones / headset in too.
The front navigation area shows the touch-sensitive controls and
nav-pad. This acts like your normal navigation pad, so you can hit up / down /
left / right and spin things round with it too. The big-ass back / home and call
/ drop buttons mean that even the fattest of fat-fingered people can use the
The two buttons up on the left side of the phone control the
volume. This has a funky new HTC interface which shows the volume level on the
screen when pressed.
On the right, as you can see above, there’s nothing but some
wording saying "4Gb Internal Storage" and the stylus, which pulls itself back in
magnetically and turns the screen on automatically when you pull it out.
On the top is a big flat power button. This is easy to press and
easy to locate.
At the top of the screen you can find the earpiece and one LED
for network activity etc etc. There’s also the face-pointing camera for calling
your loved ones and wishing them a happy birthday over the 3G video calling.
I put the HTC Touch Diamond next to the HTC TyTN II and the HTC Touch Dual.
It really shows how thin this phone is..
It’s very easy to forget that the Touch Diamond is a fully
fledged Pocket PC (ok, Windows Mobile Professional) handset with 3G / HSDPA /
HSUPA / WiFi / GPS and a 3 megapixel camera – all packed into a very thin
"regular sized" phone. No-one will look at you and say "that’s a Pocket PC".
Here it’s fairly obvious how differently the HTC designers have
been thinking. No rounded corners here!
So that’s it for our quick external view of the Diamond.
Although it looks sexy and sleek, there’s a lot more to the handset than just
looks alone – this is a phone with a totally new GUI and navigation system. More
on this to come!
Here’s some shots from the rear camera. Due to the lack of camera button there’s no “half pressing” like you may get on the TyTN II – it’ll focus quickly and then shoot. In the dark things did seem to take a few extra milliseconds, and we’ll have more shots coming up. Here’s a few I took today, as usual you can click on the thumbnail for the larger unedited version.
A lot of you asked for some more inside shots. As usual the HTC camera didn’t do too well inside, here’s some examples. The shot of the garden towards the bottom was taken just before it went dark…
I’ve now added
this second MP4 format video, filmed in the Bull Ring, Birmingham. This was
also filmed on the HTC Touch Diamond.
The screen shots we’ve taken from the HTC Touch Diamond are in 480×640 format. Yep, VGA baby. The quality on the screen is brilliant, so I’ve included a couple of images below at the full resolution – the rest have had to be reduced to 50% so they don’t take up too much space 🙂
First of all, the main home tab…
See, I told you it was high resolution didn’t I ? 🙂 You can change the backdrop should you wish (through the settings tab).
Next up is your favourite contacts, arranged in a rolodex style. You can also drag your finger over the icons / pictures to the right to spin through your contacts even quicker..
The messaging tab, which shows text messages and MMS messages (albeit without pictures) lets you start conversations with people. Each text conversation is grouped together so you can continue where you left off or start afresh with the “new text” button on the top right. When you click an MMS it’ll also group it this way and will have a little thumbnail showing the picture that’s been sent to you. It was a little tricky to hit this tiny thumbnail if I’m honest.
When you’re in this first screen you can swipe up and down to go through your texts.
Next is the mail tab. You get your POP or Exchange mail showing here in little envelopes. You can tap one to open the email, swipe up or down to move through them or create a new message.
The web browser, Opera 9.5, is a huge leap forward when compared to Internet Explorer on mobiles. Most people wouldn’t dream of viewing a “full” web page on Pocket Internet Explorer – but with Opera it’s a smooth a sexy experience.
Below I’ve included the full resolution shots from the browser itself so that you can see how the text appears to the naked eye. Here, whilst viewing coolsmartphone.com, you can see how the page actually looks as it should – you can even rotate the handset to have it in a “widescreen” mode. Double-tapping anywhere on the screen zooms in on that section, whilst holding and dragging will move around that section.
Below you can see the “reflow” system in action – I’ve zoomed in on a piece of text. Traditionally it would have been zoomed in enough for you to read, but too wide for the display. The end result meant a helluva lot of “right / left” navigation on your phone to read the paragraph. With reflow it’ll detect the block of text and wrap it on the screen instantly. Brilliant stuff.
The bookmarks system is equally finger-friendly..
The music tab shows album art and plays tracks straight from the TouchFLO 3D system – no jumping into different apps to change tracks. Again, a lovely touch that’ll mean a lot less fiddling about when you simply want to play your favourite tune on the way to work or school. Flick up and down to choose an album (or use the arrows on the right), then play or skip through the track with the status bar at the bottom.
Here’s the pictures and videos tab – this will show preview images from your videos too – notice below how there’s a “film” effect on the video clip on the right. You can use the small arrows to flick through the images quickly or swipe up and down. If you click a picture it’ll open in HTC’s Album software (which is excellent by the way) and you then simply rotate your phone to see the shot in it’s natural widescreen format. Videos fire up in Windows Media Player.
The weather tab lets you know what’s happening in lots of different countries, towns and cities. I found it a little tiring when choosing “UK” or “USA” when adding a new city because you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list – this takes a lot of finger flicking (no puns please) 🙂 You can add several places, which means you can see what the weather is like before you get to a destination, or you can add your friends locations. The graphics here are delicious, plus there’s a windscreen wiper that pops onto the screen if it’s raining 🙂
The YouTube player, for me, was a bit hit-and-miss. It didn’t seem to play all YouTube content – if I searched for a video and chose it the player would simply say “Connection Error”. This could be because (perhaps) the handset won’t be out for a few more weeks yet and YouTube haven’t completed stuff their side, but at the moment it only seems to play selected “Mobile” content from the YouTube mobile website from what I can make out. When it does work it’s great though.
The settings tab will let you manually sync your data (if you’ve not set it to automatically do that), change the sounds, wallpaper, turn communication components (Wifi / Bluetooth / etc etc) on and off or grab the latest weather information (again you can set this to automatic). The “About” tab at the bottom reveals the code name for TouchFLO 3D – Manila. It also tells you what version of TouchFLO
3D your using – for me it’s 1.0.1630.3, so I’m guessing that the interface is
easily updateable over the air.
Within the “Ringtones” tab you can alter the volume, change the ring type (vibrate, ring etc), alter the ringtone and change event sounds volume. There’s no “HTC way” of altering text message or email sounds, which would have been good. Instead you have to drop into the Microsoft settings as normal, although this is done through the “Advanced” tab within the same panel.
The programs tab is where you can add your own favourite apps, games and tools. Here’s I’ve added a few extra bits – it’s simple to do by just pressing the “Plus” and then choosing the application or program you want. You can also go into “All Programs” and see everything you have should you wish. Don’t worry if you fill this grid though – you can flick your finger up and down to add or choose more programs.