The HTC Touch Diamond, which hit U.S. stores this fall, is expected to be “sleeper candidate” to watch in the smart phone market. The latest phone from HTC Corp., a Taiwanese manufacturer of computer, phone, and other devices, should attract the attention of those keen on using Windows mobile applications and who may have been immune, so far at least, to Apple Inc.’s iPhone.
Weighing approximately 110 grams, the sophisticated steel-inspired design of the Diamond represents a sleek upgrade to the minimalist character of the first generation HTC Touch, which Sprint began carrying late last fall. The back cover features accented facets resembling a diamond, hince the name. Unlike the iPhone, which has a touch screen, or the BlackBerry, which uses a trackball, the Diamond comes with a stylus that secures in a magnetized slot on one side of the device.
Not only does the phone feature a good-looking handset, but it also boasts a range of components that help to drive the Diamond into Touch 2.0 territory. The touch-friendly user interface comes equipped with 3D TouchFlo technology, enabling richly animated presentations of graphics and text on a 2.8-inch, VGA resolution, LCD screen.
It has a generous 4 gigabytes of internal storage. The device also comes with a 528 megahertz Qualcomm processor, has a 3-gigabyte data capability, and features a Windows Mobile 6.1 professional platform, which includes the Microsoft Office mobile suite and Exchange e-mail support. The device is also GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0 enabled.
Aside from the Internet Explorer (IE) browser, the Diamond scores major points for supporting Opera’s 9.5 mobile browser. Opera 9.5 allows a user to not only zoom in on specific portions of Web pages, a user can cut and paste pages and send links via e-mail, or SMS and MMS text messaging. Browsing on the Diamond simply becomes much more dynamic. A special treat came via Diamond’s FM radio, which has an exceptionally strong signal. (It even managed to pick up reception underground on the subway.) Under moderate lighting conditions, the phone managed to snap some exceptional pictures with a 3.2 megapixel color camera. It comes equipped with a second camera in the top right corner for video call conferencing capability, which might make calling an impromptu meeting from afar quite convenient.
Even with a stronger chip, the device has a lag time of about a second or so navigating between screens. Also, this time around, users are prevented from swapping out portable Micro-SD cards.
The battery drained much faster when the device was used both as a phone and as a music player. And when it comes to sound, with such a muscular arsenal, the Diamond’s speaker phone feature came off a bit wimpy.
Sprint is the official carrier of the HTC Touch Diamond in the U.S. The phone retails for $549.99, but with a two-year Sprint contract, it can be purchased for $249.99, after a $100.00 mail in rebate.