Review: HTC Touch Diamond
The front is dominated by a 2.8-inch, 480 by 640 pixel display, which shows off the attractive TouchFlo interface. Below the screen you'll find a circular navigation pad surrounded by four physical buttons (home, back, start call, and end call). The buttons are hidden behind a panel, so while they have some push like regular buttons, they maintain the elegant, smooth façade. Most other controls are on the touch screen itself. The Home screen, for example, offers two on-screen soft keys for calling up the phone and the programs menu.
The left side holds the volume controls and the right side the holds only the stylus. The top holds the power/wake button and the bottom contains the mini-USB port.
The Diamond comes with an extra stylus, a belt clip case, wired headphones, and a headphone adapter. The phone doesn't have a standard audio jack, so the included headphones plug into the mini-USB port. The adapter provides both 2.5mm and 3.5mm ports, but it's so large that we doubt many people will use it.
HTC has also improved the interface since we looked at the HTC Touch, and the TouchFlo controls are now more than touch-sensitive window dressing. The Home screen features a large time display, as well as the date, call history, and calendar buttons. Icons below that let you tap open a program.
The TouchFlo interface is both the phone's greatest asset and biggest weakness. It's boldly colored and attractive, and it goes beyond just directing you to a program. However, it's also irritatingly sluggish and unresponsive. The constant need to tap, tap, tap over again to get a program to open bothered us greatly during testing.
The Diamond has several surprising features inside, including GPS navigation (the first use is free), streaming subscription TV and radio (which loaded quickly and played smoothly over Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A network), the Opera browser, and an accelerometer (useful for viewing photos at the correct orientation or for playing the included game Teeter, which involves guiding a marble around hazards).
While we like the improvements HTC has delivered, we'd like to see a much more sensitive touch interface, and more finger-friendly controls so that the stylus is never needed. It's time to ditch the stylus, for good, HTC. We all know the finger is the future.
The HTC Touch Diamond is available from Sprint for $249 with a two year commitment.