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Thursday, 17 September 2009 13:12

HTC Touch Diamond2 dissected

Written by Muamer Odobasic

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Review:
Much faster than its predecessor


We’ve recently tested a few mobile phones from HTC’s workshop, among which was the HTC Touch Diamond. It’s interesting to note that Touch Diamond was the best selling Windows Mobile based phone of all time, and despite its great design, its performance disappointed us a bit. Today however, we’re going to test its successor – the HTC Touch Diamond 2. 

First impressions and description

Diamond2 is made of metal and plastic, and its looks remind us more of the Touch HD than Touch Diamond. The design is great and we’d go as far as to say that it beats all HTC’s Windows Mobile devices we’ve had a chance to lay our eyes on.

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The front is almost identical to the Touch HD although the HD is noticeably wider. The entire face is actually a large touch sensitive screen.

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Also on the front is the speaker, status indicator lamp and the lighting sensor, which regulates the screen’s brightness. This feature was previously implemented on the Touch Cruise we've recently tested.

The upper right corner houses the VGA camera for video calls.

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On the front you’ll also find the zoom bar which is of course used to zoom in and out of pictures. We’ve noticed that this function runs nicely in Opera browser, photo album and Google maps, but not in IE and the rest of the programs.

Below the zoom bar you’ll find four hardware keys – accept call, Windows key, back key  and end-call key, which acts as Home key at the same time.

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The left side of the phone is pretty empty and the only thing you’ll find is the volume control. This key is almost identical to the one on the  Touch HD.

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The right side of the phone houses the system speaker and a stylus. Placing the speaker on the right side of the phone is a great idea, as the speaker won’t be covered when you leave your phone on the desk.

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The stylus is somewhat different from the rest of the series. Namely, the stylus on Diamond2 phone is not magnetized so you’ll have to push it all the way in, similar to Touch Cruise.

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The upper side of the phone houses only the off/standby key.

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On the bottom of the phone you’ll find the microphone and ExtUSB port. ExtUSB is HTC’s standard and stands for Extended USB. This is actually a miniUSB port with additional few pins for audio out, and a couple more for video out.

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The back of the phone is designed with simplicity in mind. It’s made of shiny black plastic, but unfortunately it gets dirty easily and it’s literally a fingerprint-magnet.

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The 5MP camera with autofocus is surrounded by a nice piece of brushed metal. All the HTC’s models we’ve had a chance to test so far didn’t come with flash, which is the case with this phone as well. We tried to find out the reason behind this, but the answer was unfortunately never given.

User Interface and Specs

Just like all the phones from Touch series, the Diamond 2 runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 platform except that this phone comes with a free upgrade option to Windows Mobile 6.5. This phone is optimized to run with the new Windows, which is scheduled for fall this year.

The Diamond2 comes with the latest version of TouchFLO 3D user interface. We were positively surprised with the HTC’s interface which did an excellent job in hiding most windows functions, so you won’t have a feeling you’re using a Windows Mobile based device.

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The new TouchFlo 3D interface brings some changes to the looks of certain menus and they look much more stylish and are often more functional.

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HTC Diamond2 runs on Qualcomm’s 528MHz processor and comes with 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM – identical to other Touch-series phones.



Touch Diamond 2 specs:

Platform: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Processor: Qualcomm® MSM7200A™, 528 MHz
Memory: 288 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM
Display: 3,2 -inch touchscreen with 480 X 800 WVGA resolution
GPS: YES
Connectivity:
Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
HSDPA (900/2100 MHz)
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g),
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
Camera:
Main: 5 megapixel camera with auto focus,
Secondary:VGA videoconferencing camera
FM radio
Size:  107.85 X 53.1 X 13.7 mm
Weight: 117,5 g
Battery: 1100 mAh


Touch Diamond specs:

Platform: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm processor
Memory: 192 MB SDRAM, 256 MB ROM, 4 GB internal storage
Display: 2.8-inch touchscreen with VGA resolution
GPS: YES
Connectivity:
Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (900/1800/1900 MHz)
HSDPA (900/2100 MHz)
Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 b/g),
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
Camera:
Main: 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus,
Secondary:VGA videoconferencing camera
FM radio
Size: 3.9 in x 2.0 in x 0.42 in (99mm x 51mm × 10.7mm)
Weight: 110 g
Battery: 900 mAh



As you can see, the models aren’t much different in terms of hardware. The secret of the new Diamond’s better performance lies in more ram RAM, but we can’t forget the now much more sensitive screen. The latter definitely makes the screen easier to operate with fingers, so in most cases you won’t even need the stylus. 

The Screen


Diamond2 comes with a large 3.2-inch WVGA touchsensitive screen. 

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Screen resolution is 800x480 pixels, which is at the same time the highest resolution supported by Windows Mobile. Such a resolution allows for great display quality, and we couldn’t help but notice the screen more responsive than in the previous models, and you’ll no longer need to push as hard in order for the phone to comply. We noticed that although the screen surface is great to work with fingers, it easily smudges and is a fingerprint magnet.

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Diamond2 has an accelerometer which allows it to adapt the picture to the screen position. Unfortunately this sensor works only in Opera and while writing SMS and e-mails.


Camera

This model comes with a 5MP digital camera with autofocus and touch focus. Touch focus means that a simple touch will focus on any detail you touch on the screen.

Picture quality is excellent, but only in good lighting conditions.

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HTC still refuses to use flash on their cameras, and while we don’t know the reason, it seems like HTC plans to insist on this “dark” concept.

Connectivity

Diamond2 runs on Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE frequencies of 850/900/1800/1900 MHz and HSDPA/WCDMA frequencies of 900/2100 MHz. It’s capable of 2Mbps uplink and 7.2Mbps downlink. Furthermore, this phone comes with Bluetooth 2.0 and WiFi adapters and the connection ran like a charm as we didn’t lose it in confined spaces nor did it affect sound quality. 

The Battery

The battery we’ve had the chance to test was a Li-ion 11oo mAh unit. HTC’s specs say it can hold out for 340 minutes of GSM usage or 300 minutes of UMTS networks usage. We were more than satisfied with battery quality in everyday usage (a few SMS, 30 minutes of talk, and about 1.5 hours of music daily) the phone can go up to four days without charging.

Of course, if you’re using an internet browser or YouTube app, the time to the next charging will noticeably shorten.



Conclusion

HTC Touch Diamond 2 is the best looking HTC Windows Mobile device we’ve seen so far. Note that design wise it looks much more like the Touch HD than Touch Diamond.

Hardware-wise, it seems like HTC decided to bring all the Touch series phones to the same level, and this gave the Diamond2 much better performance compared to Touch Diamond. It comes with a 3.2 inch WVGA touch-sensitive screen which is more responsive than on any of previous models. This makes the stylus almost obsolete. We noticed however that the phone is still running Windows Mobile 6.1 platform, which is quite laggy. With an update to 6.5 we can expect better performance.

Diamond2 got a new TouchFLO 3D interface which brought some changes on the way some menus look – some are now much more stylish and functional at the same time. We also noticed a couple of details we didn’t like such as the material used for the back of the phone, as this material gets really dirty and shows fingerprints. The same goes for the screen as well.

The second detail is the accelerometer or the screen rotation sensor. This sensor runs only in Opera browser, SMS, email and calculator. The third detail is the zoom bar which runs only in Opera, photo album and Google maps, but not in Internet Explorer and other apps. We found the lowest price in Great Britain, where it sells at €376, whereas in EU it sells for about €420. As of recently Diamond2 and Pro2 models can be purchased with a preinstalled navigation system, of course at a €70 premium.

Diamond2 has a lot of functions the Touch HD has and it’s priced almost €100 less. Add to this the free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5 and this phone is surely a great deal.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 September 2009 12:21
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