The HTC Touch Diamond2 is one of the coolest, sleekest phones I’ve seen so far. Sometimes that means that the functionality and productivity aspects of the device are less than one might hope, but that certainly is not the case here. All of the basics are here, including Windows Mobile 6.1 and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, as well as some superb extras like a 5 MPx camera, a forward-facing camera for video calls, and a phenomenal touch interface.
Wireless carriers around the world are expected to pick up the Diamond 2 as the year goes along, but this device currently isn’t currently being offered by any U.S. carrier. Still, it is available online as an unlocked GSM phone from a variety of vendors; prices range from $550 to $600 at this time. My tests were conducted with an AT&T SIM card, and the device works just fine on this network.
DESIGN AND BUILD
The Touch Diamond 2 is much sleeker and thinner than the original model that came out last year; the most obvious change is the flat back, which is much easier and more comfortable to hold. The original Diamond had a faceted back evocative of its namesake, but I found it to be angular and bulky. This model will fit comfortably in any pocket or handbag, and won’t feel like it’s taking up too much space.
The exterior is metal in a deep finish like hematite on the front and sides, and black plastic on the back. The buttons on the front of the device are very small and understated, but functional. The power button on the top also serves as an unlock button, as the phone won’t come to life until you give that button a quick press — which prevents unintended phone calls. Small volume control keys are on the left side, and the sync/charge and headset port are on the bottom.
Overall the phone weighs just over four ounces and feels substantial and well made, with no creaking or flexing in the casing. The total look of the device is one of minimalistic beauty — just what you need to stay productive and entertained on the go, and nothing more.
The 3.2-inch TFT-LCD touchscreen has a 480 x 800 (WVGA) resolution and is truly spectacular — crisp, clear, and easy to read. Photos look simply stunning, with vivid color, and video playback looks great, without any ghosting.
Part of my delight with the display is also tied to the user interface, which is very clean and uncluttered, unlike the traditional Windows Mobile interface — more about this later.
The touchscreen is responsive to touch via finger or stylus, and works beautifully — there was no need to press very hard, and I didn’t have any difficulty hitting the wrong icon when trying to launch a program.
The display does fade out a bit in direct sunlight, but since that seems to be a problem with just about every device I test, the issue isn’t unexpected.
The Touch Diamond 2 doesn’t have a physical QWERTY keyboard, which makes sense considering the slim and elegant profile of the device. The virtual keyboard is pretty good, though it isn’t quite as good, in my opinion, as the implementation of the iPod Touch. I’m disappointed that it doesn’t seem to work in landscape mode, which would be a great convenience since it would allow even larger keys. It does however have “pop up” letters that show exactly what you’re typing, much like the iPod Touch, which is a great feature.
I had some trouble at first, mainly due to the word prediction software not guessing right a few times, but once I turned off the T9 predictive input things went much more smoothly. I also appreciate the fact that it takes just one tap to go to number/punctuation mode, which is much easier than trying to deal with a function key. I like the large, easy-to-read keys on the virtual keyboard.
Haptic feedback with each keypress ensures that with some practice you will be highly accurate, and that turns out to be true. You can also use the included stylus, but I found that my fingers worked well enough.