What's hot: Responsive 800 x 480 touch screen, TouchFLO 3D.
What's not: No US 3G, display a bit small relative to resolution.
Editor's note, October 2009: AT&T offers their version of this phone as the HTC Pure.
Review posted July 6, 2009 by Lisa Gade, Editor
HTC's Touch Diamond made big waves when it came out just over a year ago. It was slim, artistic in its esthetic and had a sexy interface on top of Windows Mobile, called TouchFLO 3D. Fast forward to today and HTC has evolved TouchFLO 3D remarkably quickly: it's now fast, responsive and easy to use with fingers. Not only that, but HTC has gone much deeper to skin Windows Mobile with not just a home screen but replacement user interfaces for many core programs and the programs window group itself. In short, HTC has given Windows Mobile Pro touch screen phones an extended lease on life in a world now seemingly dominated by the iPhone, Palm Pre and Google Android-based phones like the HTC G1.
The Touch Diamond2 is an unlocked GSM quad band world phone with Euro 3G that won't work in the US. Instead you'll get EDGE speeds on AT&T and T-Mobile (the 2 largest US GSM carriers). It sells for around $550 from online importers and requires no contract. Hopefully we'll see US Carrier versions that do have 3G and subsidized prices with a contract. The phone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and HTC has stated that it will be upgradable to Windows Mobile 6.5.
Though not as unique and attractive as the first Diamond, the Diamond2 has clean modern lines and looks less plasticky than its predecessor. The d-pad is gone (sorry gamers), but thankfully the phone retains hardware call send and end buttons along with a back button and Windows Start Menu button. The call end button does double duty to return the phone to the home screen when in an application. Screen resolution has jumped to an impressive 480 x 800 (like the HTC Touch Pro2) and the screen is 3.2" while the first gen VGA Diamond's measured 2.8". While 3.2" sounds fairly large, we found that the Touch Pro2's 3.5" display really hits the sweet spot for optimal finger control. The Diamond2 works well, but it's just not as easy to control given the smaller on-screen targets. Both the Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 have resistive touch screens since Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 don't support capacitive displays. That means there's no multi-touch (pinch to zoom) and you must press just a bit harder compared to the iPhone 3GS, but you can use a stylus for tiny web page links and handwriting recognition.
Here's our full 9 minute video review of the HTC Diamond2:
Specs at a Glance
The HTC Diamond2 runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional with HTC's TouchFLO 3D UI. It has a 528MHz Qualcomm CPU, 512 megs of flash storage with an SDHC microSD card slot under the back cover to beef up storage, 288 megs of RAM, WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR with a complete set of profiles including support for tethering (not that you'd want to tether on EDGE) and A2DP Bluetooth stereo. It weighs only 4.15 ounces and measures 4.25 x 2.09 x 0.54 inches making it a mid-sized smartphone.
Web and Talk
The Diamond2's Opera Mobile web browser is excellent. It's one of the few mobile web browsers that doesn't have us pining for the iPhone and Safari. It manages faithful desktop rendering on most full HTML sites and is considerably more quick and stable on the Diamond2 than the original Diamond (the browser could slow the original Diamond to a crawl). You can scroll by dragging a web page with your fingers and it has kinetic scrolling (fast swipe=more page scrolled). Given the display's small size relative to its high resolution, you'll generally have to zoom in if you wish to tap a link. To zoom, tap the display or use the hardware zoom bar which works quite well. Since this is a resistive touch screen that lacks multi-touch, there's no pinch-zoom with two fingers.
The hardware zoom bar, just above the 4 buttons.
Email is the usual Outlook mobile with HTC's attractive skin on top. It's much the same as last generation TouchFLO 3D: the home screen email tab shows envelopes with letters poking out, and these represent your email messages. It supports Exchange, POP3 and IMAP email plus attachments, SSL and advanced server configurations. While not the prettiest email client among mobile platforms, it is one of the most robust and powerful.
Voice quality on GSM/EDGE is very good and volume is a bit above average. If and when a US 3G version hits the market, we'd expect even better voice quality since 3G uses higher quality voice codecs. Reception is average and a tad better than the original Diamond on EDGE. Alas, there's no voice dialing, so you'll have to purchase a 3rd party application for voice dial and command but speed dial is a standard feature of the OS.
GPS and Camera
HTC's unlocked phones haven't impressed us when it comes to GPS performance. The Diamond2, like the Touch Pro2 shows great improvements and we got fairly quick cold fixes outdoors and had no problem getting a warm fix indoors. Forget a cold fix indoors though. The GPS can use aGPS data to improve fix times and the Diamond2 has HTC's usual QuickGPS application that downloads GPS data once per week. The phone comes with Google Maps, but no commercial software with spoken turn-by-turn directions. You can use the Windows Mobile navigation application of your choosing, and since the phone has a microSD card slot, it's not a pain to use Garmin Mobile like it was with the original Diamond.
The 5 megapixel camera is a big step up for an HTC Windows Mobile phone. The Touch HD sported a 5 MP camera as well, but US HTC models have topped out at 3.2 MP. The autofocus lens is small and can't compete with the Carl Zeiss lens used on Nokia N Series smartphones like the N97 and N85. It does take sharper pictures than the 3.2 MP Touch Pro 2 and much better shots than the US Touch Pro first gen (aka Fuze on AT&T). The Diamond2 can capture VGA video with audio, but fps top out at 15, again falling behind Nokia's 5MP cameras.
The back is shiny and smooth. Sorry photographers: there's no flash or self-portrait mirror.
If you're a Windows Mobile or more so, an HTC TouchFLO 3D fan who doesn't want a hardware keyboard, the Touch Diamond2 is well worth a look, especially if a US 3G version hits the market. We're impressed and pleased with the high resolution 480 x 800 pixel touch screen, but at 3.2" it doesn't hit the sweet spot as does the Touch Pro2 and the even larger Touch HD. Text is small in the web browser and finger control isn't as smooth since the targets are smaller. On the upside, the Diamond2 is quick and responsive, and the graphical user interface doesn't bog down despite all the TouchFLO 3D high res graphics and animations. The phone is stable and has enough power to play QVGA to VGA video if you keep the bit rate under 650 to 750kbps. Voice quality is very good and data speeds over EDGE aren't all that slow. We'd have given the Diamond2 a 3.5 star rating if it weren't for the lack of US 3G.
TFT color touch screen with haptic feedback and accelerometer. Screen size diagonally: 3.2". Resolution:
800 x 480, portrait mode with support for landscape mode. Supports TV out with optional cable.
Battery:1100 mAh Lithium
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
Size:4.25 X 2.09 X 0.54 inches. 4.15 ounces (117.5g).
Phone:Unlocked GSM quad band world phone 850/900/1800/1900MHz bands with EDGE. HSDPA 3G on the Euro 900/2100MHz bands (not compatible with US 3G).
Camera:5 megapixel with autofocus lens. LED flash. Up to VGA resolution at 15fps for video.
in speaker, mic and HTC ExtUSB stereo headphone
jack (stereo headset included). Voice Recorder and Windows Mobile Media Player 10 included. Supported audio formats: AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A. Straight Talk speaker phone.
WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR with headset, handsfree, serial port, FTP, PAN, phone book access, A2DP and AVRC profiles.
GPS:GPS with aGPS. Google Maps included.
Mobile 6.1 Professional. TouchFLO 3D user interface. Opera 9.x mobile web browser, HTC's photo viewer, YouTube player, RRS Hub, Adobe Reader, Comm Manager, JBlend Java VM, Jetcet Presenter 5, Streaming Media player, Windows Media Player Mobile, WorldCard Mobile, Teeter, Zip manager, Streaming Media Player. Standard MS mobile software suite: Office Mobile (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Mobile), Internet Explorer Mobile, Email (POP3/IMAP/MS Exchange), File Manager, PIM suite (contacts, calendar, notes and tasks), SMS/MMS client, Remote Desktop client, BubbleBreaker and Solitaire.
Expansion slot:SDHC microSD card slot.
In the box:World charger, USB cable, stereo headset, software CD and carrying case.