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Review: HTC Touch Diamond 2

HTC took center stage at the 2009 Mobile World Congress with the introduction of the HTC Touch Pro 2 and the HTC Touch Diamond 2. While we patiently wait for these two new devices to hit U.S. soil, they are finding their way into the European and Asian markets. When offered the chance to review the European version of the Touch Diamond 2, we didn't hesitate. There will may be differences between the European and U.S. versions of this phone, but there should be enough similarities to give us a good idea of what to expect when the Touch Diamond 2 hits U.S. shelves later this year.

Follow the break to see what type impression the European version of the Touch Diamond 2 made.

First Impressions

They say first impressions makes the greatest impact, and the Touch Diamond 2 makes one heck of an impact. Out of the box, the Touch Diamond 2 is very impressive with regards to feel and build quality. Measuring 4.25 inches long, 2.09 inches wide and .54 inches thick, the Touch Diamond 2 weighs in at only 4.15 ounces.

The front of the Touch Diamond is dominated by a 3.2-inch, 480x800 WVGA touchscreen. On the left side you'll find the volume keys (a one-piece toggle button) and on the right is the stylus slot and speaker. On the top is your power/sleep button and at the bottom of the phone is your microphone and mini-USB port (for charging/synchronization/headphones). It goes without saying but bears repeating: There's no 3.5mm headphone jack. Grrrrrrrrr.

At the bottom of the phone's face are five controls: the answer key, end key, Windows Mobile start key, back button and a zoom slider. The end key also serves as a "home" key. The zoom slider is a nice addition, but it took some time to get used to the lack of a five-way controller. The zoom slider enlarges web sites, emails, notes, etc. I like the slider design better than the spinning wheel design of the original Touch Diamond and Touch Pro. And it takes up way less space.

The only criticism I have on the design and build of the TD2 is the shiny black plastic used for the battery cover. It's nice that HTC opted out of the "diamond cut" pattern for the battery cover but it would have been nice to have seen a matte black finish (a.k.a. HTC Snap finish) on the TD2.

The Touch Diamond 2 felt really good in the hand. It's slightly longer than the original Touch Diamond and a smidgen heavy but the added weight is well balanced.

 
Diminsions (LxWxD)
Weight
Touch Diamond 2
4.25” x 2.09” x .54”
4.15 oz
Touch Diamond
4” x 2” x .53”
4.07 oz
Touch Pro
4” x 2” x .7”
5.8 oz
4.59” x 2.42” x .47”
4.23 oz

While the original Touch Pro/Fuze isn't a shabby phone by any stretch, the TD2 makes it feel like a small brick. I recently ran across an old Motorola StarTac cellphone that was "the portable phone" about 20 years ago. While the TD2 increased slightly in size from the original, it's puny compared to what used to be considered compact.

The Touch Diamond 2 was packaged with a charger, sync cable, stereo headset, screen protector, extra stylus and a soft case. There's no telling what the U.S. version will be packaged with, but the extra stylus and case were a nice touch.

Looks Ain't Everything

While the TD2 tops the charts in appearance, this won't add up to a hill of beans if it can't perform. Under the hood you will find a Qualcomm MSM7200A 528MHz processor supported by 512MB ROM and 288MB RAM. Where the original Touch Diamond only sported an internal 4GB of storage, the TD2 uses a microSD card for expansion. That's a welcome change for those of us who prefer the portability of memory cards and need more than 4GB of on-board memory.

The TD2 we tested is the European version and thus fitted with European radios. That means it's not compatible with U.S. 3G networks. The best reception in the States this TD2 can achieve is 2G. The TD2 has Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS radios and sports two cameras (a 5mp auto-focus on the back, and VGA CMOS camera on the front for video conferencing — something else not really popular in the U.S.).The GPS performed well. Much better than the AT&T Fuze's GPS, actually. Location acquisition was fast and accurate.

The TD2 is powered by a Lithium-Ion, 1100mAh battery. It seemed a tad on the weak side, but it surprisingly made it through the day with moderate use without needing a recharge. Still, one can hope that a 1500mAh battery finds its way into the U.S. version (hint, hint).

One change in the Touch Diamond's design that I'm not a big fan of is that the reset button was moved from the bottom of the phone to under the battery cover, similar to the Palm Treo Pro. Fortunately, the battery cover on the TD2 is easier to remove than the Treo Pro's cover but it's still a pain to have to take the back cover off to perform a soft reset. I do like that it's a big RED reset button, but it needs to be more conveniently located.

Software

The TD2 is currently running Windows Mobile 6.1 and from what we understand, does qualify for an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5. If the software on the European version makes its way onto the U.S. version of the TD2, you'll have plenty of changes to enjoy while you wait for WM 6.5.

You'll see the first change as soon as you power up the TD2 in that you no longer go through the screen calibration process. Once TouchFLO 3D is loaded you'll notice more tabs. Along with the addition of the Stock and Calendar tab, you also have the ability to hide tabs and re-arrange their order.

The Start Menu no longer is a drop-down menu. When you tap "Start" you pull up an application window that has customizable program icons, much like the TouchFLO's Program tab (which no longer exists). You can launch your favorite applications from here or tap "all programs" at the bottom to pull up a complete list of programs in a touch navigable listing. If you disable TouchFLO in the Today Screen settings, you revert back to the traditional drop down menu.

The Contact Screen has a few nice additions, including the ability to map a contact's addresses through Google Maps. You can still send SMS, e-mail and dial numbers from the contact screen, but to be able to pull up a map of the address can be really convenient.

 

The weather tab still has that "cool" factor and has been incorporated into the TD2's calendar display. If you choose a date within the four-day forecast, you'll see the forecast for that particular day as you enter or view the appointments.

The stocks tab is a nice addition if you want to track your favorite commodities. It doesn't look as if the camera, music player, messaging and email tabs have changed much. The Internet tab now has a search field as well as the ability to launch favorites directly.

TouchFLO now has "slide to answer," and the menu screen much like a third-party add-on we mentioned earlier this year.  It appears that HTC has kept a close eye on the home-grown customizations and incorporated some into the TD2. From the ability to re-organize the tabs to adding slide to answer functionality, TouchFLO looks a little like a "best of" collection from XDA developers.

I'm a big SPB Mobile Shell fan. But the changes the TD2 has made with TouchFLO 3D makes the choice a little more difficult to make. Admittedly, SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 does look very nice on the larger screen  and the receptive screen makes navigation around the SPB UI very smooth.

But the addition of the "Map Address" option on the Contact screen and including the four-day forecast on the calendar are both nice additions making the selection between these two all the more difficult. 

Phone Quality

The TD2's phone quality is very good and on par with any other phone on the market today. I was a little concerned about having the slim speaker to the side, but calls came in loud and clear. I was curious how the phone would perform without having access to AT&T's 3G network and, honestly, I didn't miss it. Download speeds were respectful with regards to e-mail and other text-only items. I did begin to miss 3G when checking Web sites and downloading larger e-mails, though.

The TD2's dialing screen is spacious and easy to navigate. When the dialing pad is pulled up, the last three calls on your Call Log appear and dropping the dialpad reveals the last seven calls on your log. With the front-facing camera, you have the option for video calls or voice calls. Of course, that depends on your carrier supporting it. Don't bet on it in the U.S.

Screen

The 480x800 touchscreen screen is a tremendous improvement over the original Touch Diamond's 480x640 screen. Colors are crisp and vibrant, contrast and sharpness levels are spot on and I had no problem reading the screen in daylight. It's one of the nicest screens I've used and probably a step better than the screen on the Touch Pro and Touch Diamond.

The screen was very receptive to the touch. There were a few blips where swipes were registered as taps, accidentally launching applications instead of movements. Touch navigation was noticeably better than the original Touch Pro and Diamond. The screen was a little temperamental towards the bottom of the screen. At times, I had to make a conscious effort to activate the bottom menu bar commands.

I consider the iPhone to have one of the best on-screen keyboards. It's very receptive to touch typing with large keys. If the iPhone's keyboard is a 10, the TD2's on-screen keyboard is somewhere between an 8 and a 9 (wouldn't that be an eight and a half?). I did have a few mis-keys, but nothing to loose sleep over. I think if HTC made the keys a bit larger, the TD2 would give the iPhone a run for its money in that regard

Overall Impression

Understanding that this was the European version of the phone, I was still very impressed with the Touch Diamond 2. If the U.S. version is a mirror image, with the addition of U.S. 3G compatibility, then U.S. consumers will be in for a treat. If HTC irons out some of the minor quirks with the European version, U.S. consumers will be jumping for joy.

The TD2 is a well-constructed phone that has a sleek, professional appearance. Simply put, it feels and looks good in the hand. The black casing with brushed metal controls are a nice mix. My only wish with regards to construction is that HTC would have gone with a less fingerprint-friendly finish and the reset button was at the bottom of the phone much like the original models (again, hint, hint).

The improvements to TouchFLO are a welcomed change.  Having the ability to rearrange the tab sections isn't new but is nice to have native to TouchFLO.  The change in the Start Menu surprised me a little, but it puts a "Program Tab" styled screen just a tap away.

With the HTC Touch HD not available in the U.S., the TD2's screen may be the benchmark for other phones to strive for and it will be interesting to see how it compares to the Touch Pro 2's screen. The screen was very receptive to the touch and while the TD2 lacks a physical keyboard, the on-screen keyboard surprised me.

The lack of a physical keyboard may very well be the only drawback to the Touch Diamond 2. While I haven't gotten my hands on a Touch Pro 2 yet, if I can convince myself that a physical keyboard isn't a "must-have" item, the Touch Diamond will be my next phone.

If the Touch Diamond 2 is any indication as to the quality of the Snap and Touch Pro 2, this will be a very good year for HTC.  The trio may give HTC the perfect Windows lineup with phones appealing to the WM Standard crowd, the "I have to have a keyboard" crowd and the "Keyboard, we don't need no stinkin' keyboard" crowd.

Regardless of how the other HTC phones measure up, if you are looking for a slim, lightweight, power house of a Windows Mobile phone and don't mind the lack of a physical keyboard the HTC Touch Diamond 2 will be a tough phone to beat. The European version was very impressive and I can only expect that the U.S. version will be equally impressive.

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Comments

There are 43 comments. Sign in to comment

Nice review. How about the performance of the accelorometer from portrait/landscape/portrait?

Transition from vertical to landscape is almost instant.

says:

Can you please test the GPS? My current phone is the Nokia 5800 and it seems to have a very sensitive GPS receiver.

It so annoying that this doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack!

theefman says:

The ability to map from a contact is nothing new, install Live Search and you get the option in Contacts.

Edit: actually on my 6.5 rom you get 2 options, one says Navigate and gives an error when you tap it and the Live Search enabled one says Show on Map. Maybe a hint to some future integration with a standalone GPS app in the future.

GPS works fine. From a cold start, it took under a minute to get a Satellite fix.

says:

George,

Great review! I was nodding in agreement with nearly all of your assessment for I, too, have purchased the Diamond2 and live in the US.

My Blackjack II "died" recently and I wanted to wait for the TP 2 but wasn't sure when that would come out in the States. Not knowing if I really need the external keyboard, I purchased the Diamond2.

Like you said. The build is excellent. Screen is great. I use Wi-Fi so I'm not missing 3G. It is weird that the acceleronometer only works on certain applications and not all.

I'm happy with it but the typing on the virtual keyboard is hard getting use to....

says:

How was it getting around that puppy without a directional pad? I have looked at the omnia and after seven seconds I was convinced Winmo was not ready for finger manipulation to be the primary interface. The touch pro was better but I was glad to have the directional pad as well.

says:

I rarely use the d-pad on my Diamond. The only times are a few old school gui's that are easier with a stylus or d-pad. It really helps if you use 3rd party apps/homescreens that are more finger friendly. But all in all I don't think it's going to be any different, it's still WinMo after all. 6.5 is a bit better with kinetic scrolling and enlarged context menus but you still get stuck with tiny scroll menus in old apps or system menus.

says:

I haven't purchased the Spb Mobil 3.0 for the Diamond2, yet, since this is my first touchscreen phone but with the great reviews its receiving...i'm tempted.

says:

FTA: ..."including the four-day forecast on the calendar". When you select a day from the calendar does it give you the weather for that day or a four-day forecast?

says:

When you select a day from the calendar, it does show you the weather forecast for THAT day, it does not show you that day's forecast AND 4 days out from there.....

It shows you the forecasted weather for that date.

says:

It is a weather tab on the phone and showing today's weather. You have the options of showing 5 days forecast for the city. You can also predefine multiple cities for weather.

says:

Nice phone... still a no buy for me though... as long as it lacks any kind of dpad i dont want it :p if it had one iwould probably already own one though :p

says:

Pretty good review.

I have one disagreement though... I don't think the iPhone's keyboard is a 10. I'd give it like a 7 or eight. I love the Diamond QWERTY and its nearly perfect, and I don't doubt that the new keyboard is better.

says:

Phone is nice but wouldn't get it, display drivers have not been fixed and that is same with the Htc Touch HD, they still haven't released the drivers! That means instead of getting frames at 30 per second you would probably get around 10 to 15!

says:

no headphone jack = no buy

HTC new phones are really rather crappy, they manage to stick all that good stuff, yet top it off by not having some of the most basic features

says:

Yeah, a lot of people have commented about the lack of the jack, however to me, that wasn't that crucial. I've never had the need for one in the past.....

says:

It doesn't seem to allow you to paste text from a SMS to a SMS. Does anyone else have this problem?

says:

I purchased one around a month ago.
LOVE IT!
It is very fast and responsive.
I can use most of the mods for the Blackstone as well, since the screens are the same resolution.
The TF3D is a little excessive on the eye candy, but it keeps the phone from being boring. And that's what modding is for.... :o)
I would never need a D-Pad and a keyboard makes for a clunky phone, that becomes "loose" feeling over time.
I chose between this and the touch pro2.
The topaz(diamond2) won.
Great PPC IMHO!

says:

I think 5800 is a great but what about this phone?
What is the company made it?



Top 10 VPS

says:

what version of tomtom does the htc touch diamond 2 need in order for it to run and do you need to alter any settings?

says:

fantastic review!!
I just bought my Diamond 2...the only thing I miss is the old calender aplication - how can I have a week preview or the copy/paste option of appointmennts?
Could you advice me a better software aplication to manage my calendar.
Thanks.
Nuno

says:

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says:

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says:

I think 5800 is a great but what about this phone?

says:

me interesa comprar el HTC Pure con 6.5 windows desbloqueado.

says:

i want to record the call. is it possible

says:

i hope to owen td2 (htc)

says:

Great! It has all the characteristics I need for a cell of good and delivery was very fast (no problem). Over the phone, I Will have all the programs they need someone that is compatible with many programs.

says:

George,

Great review! I was nodding in agreement with nearly all of your assessment for I, too, have purchased the Diamond2 and live in the US.

My Blackjack II "died" recently and I wanted to wait for the TP 2 but wasn't sure when that would come out in the States. Not knowing if I really need the external keyboard, I purchased the Diamond2.

Like you said. The build is excellent. Screen is great. I use Wi-Fi so I'm not missing 3G. It is weird that the acceleronometer only works on certain applications and not all.

I'm happy with it but the typing on the virtual keyboard is hard getting use to....

says:

The only times are a few old school gui's that are easier with a stylus or d-pad. It really helps if you use 3rd party apps/homescreens that are more finger friendly.

says:

The build is excellent. Screen is great. I use Wi-Fi so I'm not missing 3G. It is weird that the accelerometer only works on certain applications and not all.

says:

That's an awesome looking phone..the only thing missing is the old calender aplication - how can I have a week preview or the copy/paste option of appointments.

says:

I don't think it's going to be any different, it's still WinMo after all. 6.5 is a bit better with kinetic scrolling and enlarged context menus but you still get stuck with tiny scroll menus in old apps or system menus.

says:

It really helps if you use 3rd party apps/homescreens that are more finger friendly. But overall its a great phone.

says:

we patiently wait for these two new devices to hit U.S.

says:

The build is excellent. Screen is great.I use Wi-Fi so I'm not missing 3G. It is weird that the acceleronometer only works on certain applications and not all.

says:

I love htc mobile and its features.......

says:

Great review...the screen was very receptive to the touch its really goods....

says:

HTC new phones are really rather crappy, they manage to stick all that good stuff, yet top it off by not having some of the most basic features......

says:

Thank you for your sharing! I like this htc mobile and its features i very much!!!!

says:

Thanks for sharing this it was really nice!I fully understood..... It was pretty good. Effective,amazing!!!Nice Review....