HTC Touch Diamond review

HTC Touch Diamond, or HTC P3700 as it is officially called, is the top communicator phone of the company.

It is first and foremost a fashion phone; HTC Diamond is not for techies or gadget fans, but for those users who want the coolest looking, most feature-packed device.

It’s probably safe to say then that HTC’s flagship phone for 2008 will be competing not with other Windows Mobile handhelds, but with devices like iPhone and iPhone 3G.

HTC Diamond design

The smartphone comes in keyboard-less candybar form factor case made from glossy black plastic. The front is mostly taken up by the 2.8” touchscreen, while the back has faceted, diamond-like surface – a little similar to Nokia Prism.

The phone really looks quite stylish; all those glossy surfaces, however, are also extremely prone to getting smudges and prints on them. You will literally have to put up with cleaning it all the time if you want your gadget to look as shiny as new.

Although we have heard that the commercial version of HTC Diamond might have regular soft touch plastic used for its back panel (making it less prone to smudges and easier to grip) the image of the phone would suffer slightly as a result.

HTC Touch Diamond controls

The phone has a power button on the top edge and volume control buttons on the left side. Stylus is hidden on the right edge. At the bottom edge the phone is equipped with HTC’s universal port which looks a lot like miniUSB, and more, is compatible with it. Regrettably, there’s no standard 3.5 mm audio jack.

The front panel has four standard buttons that you will know from other Windows Mobile devices; they’re Home, Back, and Accept/Deny as well as the navigation wheel.

Interface of Touch Diamond

The interface is easily the most important part of the phone, and HTC has put in a lot of work here. While some Windows Mobile devices are infamous for being inconvenient to use (without a stylus, especially) that can’t be said about HTC Diamond, thanks to its TouchFLO 3D interface (an evolution of TouchFLO used in earlier Touch devices).

There are several tabs at the bottom of the desktop, such as Home, People, Messages, E-Mail, Internet, Photos & Videos, Music, Weather, Settings, and Programs. You can move between these by selecting a specific one or simply dragging your finger along the screen to switch between them one-by-one.

The Home tab contains some standard information like a stylish-looking clock, date, carrier logo and a link to recent call list. People tab contains your contact list; if available, photos are shown with a cool 3D effect for each person. The Messages are implemented in a way similar to iPhone: messages from the same sender are grouped into “conversations”. The text content of e-mails can be previewed in a 3D perspective, and double clicked for a more traditional view. 3D effects are also used when listing through photos or video clips.

Opening the Internet tab gives you a scrollable list of bookmarks and, of course, a shortcut to the browser. It is very user-friendly and functional Since HTC adapted Opera Mini for the Touch Diamond. You can view pages either in mobile or full view; when using the latter, the navigational wheel might be used for zooming in and out by moving your finger in a circular motion.

The music player interface is also very interesting and what’s more, easy to use. HTC Diamond has 4 GB of built-in memory, so using it as a music player is completely feasible. It comes with a stylish headset; the sound quality, while nothing incredible, is more than satisfactory.

The Weather tab will give you a scrollable list of cities and display weather forecasts for each, as well as an indication of last update.The Settings tab has all the basic settings and options of the phone that you might want to play with. Finally, the Programs tab is essentially a big list of shortcuts to various applications.

The TouchFLO 3D interface allows the user to access almost all functions of the phone without having to interact with Windows Mobile operating system directly. Everything from making phone calls to reading your text messages looks simply amazing on Diamond’s VGA display. While some people might say that HTC ripped the concept off iPhone, even they won’t be able to deny that the graphical interface of this phone is awesome.

The downside is that the device sometimes becomes unresponsive for a short time and there are occasional delays when moving between tabs or items. Simply put, the interface is sluggish, which ruins the overall impression a little. Hopefully HTC will fix this problem in their future products.

Conclusions

HTC Touch Diamond is a communicator phone with an astonishing design and a graphical interface that both looks gorgeous and is very user-friendly.

At the beginning of the review, we already mentioned that the phone is not targeted at people who normally buy communicators, but for those who want the best feature-packed phone available.

HTC Diamond might lose to Apple’s iPhone in usability department – mainly due to its often sluggish interface, and inferior implementation of finger-based control – but it’s still well worth the price if you’re looking for a device like this, and fills its niche perfectly. HTC Diamond has more features and technological capabilities than the iPhone, and you can safely say there’s no equal to it among Windows Mobile or Symbian devices.

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