An improvement over the first Touch but still short of rivals. (August 24th, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: HTC (Telus as carrier)
Price: $150 (3 yr. contract)
- Exceptional 640x480 screen; more responsive than the original Touch.
- Much better media player and overall TouchFLO interface.
- Opera Mobile a clear edge over other Windows Mobile phones.
- Above average battery and call quality in its category.
- EVDO Rev A and Wi-Fi support.
- Better 3.2MP camera; 4GB of built-in storage.
- Still a "confused" UI: requires switches between d-pad, finger, and stylus input.
- Removable storage dropped from previous design.
- Just one expansion port with no 3.5mm earphone jack.
- Camera is just a resolution upgrade, still has mediocre image quality.
call quality and battery life
CDMA-based phones often receive a poor review for call quality on this site compared to GSM phones, which are often (though not always) clearer and have the benefit of using 3G for the calls themselves. The Touch Diamond bucks this trend to a slight degree: while not outstanding, there's no immediate evidence of the muffled sound that has affected several of the CDMA devices tried here. Calls came through clear on both ends and didn't require excessively high volume to be understood, although the microphone is sensitive enough to pick up a moderate amount of wind noise; that's more than with some other phones.
Battery life is also just above average and is mainly impressive for what's managed given the unusually bright and sharp display. While calls and heavy data use will quickly wear down the Touch Diamond, it was realistic to have about two days of light-to-moderate mixed use with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched off. That's better than both the iPhone and N95, though in fairness those latter devices also use their 3G networks for calls and take a hit in battery life as a result.
For all of HTC's interest in reworking its Touch series into true media devices, the company has unfortunately fallen a few steps short when it comes to expansion. The Diamond has just the company's proprietary connector on the bottom and doesn't include an adapter for 3.5mm earphones; without looking for an accessory, users are stuck with HTC's strictly basic earbuds and have to use an included splitter if they want to handle more than one task at a time, such as charging the phone while listening to music.
The absence of a microSD slot for storage is equally a problem. That's no different than with the iPhone or N95, but those two competitors have at least 8GB of flash memory to use. The Touch Diamond has just 4GB and is likely to fill up fast, especially for users who have media sync utilities, such as Mark/Space's Missing Sync for Windows Mobile. Moreover, it's a regression from the original Touch that feels arbitrary, even if there may well be a technical reason for the move. HTC is often known as the go-to phone maker for users who want the features the iPhone lacks; when those features go away on HTC's phones as well, customers are likely to turn somewhere else.