Written on 8/30/2009 02:04:00 AM by poison_ivy
HTC has been making a lot of progress since their first Touch Mobile phone and their TouchFlo interface has matured over the years. That's why I decided that as a replacement for my year old Samsung Omnia, I'm going with the HTC Diamond2. So, did I make the right decision? Read on.
The HTC Diamond2 has almost the same screen area as the Samsung Omnia mobile phone. There are four buttons on the bottom, the call and end buttons, the start button and the back button. The volume rocker is on the left side and on the bottom right side is where you can find the stylus. There's a brushed metal effect lining the mobile phone which makes the phone look sleek and sexy. A dedicated zoom bar is below the screen but its use is limited to the browser and the Album application.
There's no doubt that the HTC Diamond2 is a very sleek looking mobile phone but what I didn't like is that everything about it is a fingerprint magnet from the screen to the battery cover, even the brush metal lining is fingerprint prone. Another gripe I have about the construction of this mobile phone is that the battery cover seems loose. When you're handling the Touch Diamond2 with one hand, and whenever you have to reach your thumb to the other side of the screen, you can feel that the battery cover is somewhat loose. It's not something that you have to deal with constantly, I just noticed it once in a while.
I would also have preferred that the HTC Diamond2 sports a D-pad. I mean, what is HTC thinking removing the D-pad on their touchscreen phones especially when it's a WinMo phone? They have included some arrow buttons on their onscreen keyboard but when I'm trying to navigate an Excel document (the thin scrollbar is just too thin for my thumb)—well, it's a pain and I sorely miss the Directional buttons on this occasion.
Now comes my favorite part: TouchFlo 3D. I have slammed the first Touch Diamond because of its lags and unresponsiveness the first time I saw it but after a lot of tries with TouchFlo, HTC finally got it right with their TouchFlo 3D on the Diamond2. Navigating my mobile phone is a joy and you just can't help but like TouchFLo 3D. The graphics animation is amazing and I especially love the Weather tab, Contacts Tab and Music Tab. Having had the first generation i900 which isn't really that responsive compared with the newer Omnias in the market, I'm used to pressing really hard on my screen, the HTC Diamond2 is very responsive and I only have to press lightly on the screen. I have to get used to this because I always bring up a pop up window whenever I press the display. HTC made sure that you never have to make use of the old WinMo interface, even the Windows logo button which usually brings up the Start Menu is gone and in its stead is HTC's favorite programs menu.
Now I've already established that I really like TouchFlo 3D but not everything is perfect. What I really hate about TouchFlo 3D is that its lack of customization when it comes to your homescreen. Yes, you can customize your programs by adding your favorite applications but there's nothing you can do on the homescreen but remove some tabs that you hardly use (like the Stock Tab in my case), you can't add new tabs. The Samsung i900 and Omnia II offers better homescreen customization as it lets you add and remove your favorite widgets, of course, its also limited with the number of widgets available.
I also didn't like the way HTC made use of the accelerometer on their applications. First of all, the accelerometer is limited to the browser and messaging application and HTC didn't even do a lot with the accelerometer rotation animation unlike Samsung. There's also a very noticeable lag when you rotate to landscape mode.
The Messaging application on the HTC Diamond2 on TouchFlo 3D is REALLY nice. You can choose to browse your messages using TouchFLo 3D or the standard WinMo messaging application. What I like about HTC is they have put in an option under their Settings Menu wherein you can turn off the threaded messaging application. HTC's QWERTY keypad is nice although like the i900, the screen size limits the spacing between keys so if you have overly large fingers like mine, you'll occasionally press two keys at a time. However, I like the fact that HTC assigned secondary numbers/symbols on the QWERTY keypad so you don't have to constantly switch between the symbols/alphabet keys, you can just long press on a letter and the corresponding number/symbol will instantly be typed.
Phonebook, Calendar, Applications
Now as I've previously mentioned in one of my posts, I never made use of any photos for my contacts but HTC's contacts menu on TouchFlo 3D is really nice that I HAD to add photos to my favorite contacts. As usual, navigating the favorite contacts is fun because of TouchFlo 3D. HTC's contacts or People application lets you view not just the person's phone number and other details but it also keeps track of all you communications with that person like SMS, Email, and the recent call history of that person. This is really more useful than the Standard WinMo contacts application.
The Calendar application on TouchFlo 3D also offers a visually attractive interface. Aside from telling you what are your appointments for the day, it also tells you the weather for the day, complete with animation. I think it's linked with their Weather application tab. The weather Tab is uber cool. I usually don't mind the weather but HTC made the application so visually stimulating that I find myself updating the weather data everyday!
HTC's Teeter game is also very addictive. The accelerometer may not be as responsive on other applications but on the Teeter game, it's very responsive.
Multimedia, Audio, Video
HTC's album application is very simple. You can view all the pictures on your mobile phone. It doesn't offer much animation and you can make use of the dedicated zoom bar below the screen.
I like HTC's music player because it offers a really nice album art browsing, plus it can play WMA files so you don't have to resort to the included media player. I love the Music Player graphics and animation but it doesn't offer you any audio optimization except when you plug in the included headset in which case, you can make use of Audio booster. However, you really won't be making use of the included headset especially if you already have Bluetooth stereo headphones at your disposal, in which case, you won't have anything to optimize the sound. Don't worry though, it's not like the HTC Diamond2 needs optimizing in the sound department as it has a really good audio quality. As for the speakers, well, it's a different thing altogether as audio comes out tinny in the highest volume setting. It's also a bummer that there's no onboard 3.5mm headset jack or even an adapter included with the package (well, mine doesn't, I don't know with other Diamond2's from other countries/carrier).
The Screen on the Diamond2 is vibrant and it can probably display videos really good except that I don't have any videos to play on it because all of my video files are divx encoded. Yes, the Diamond2 doesn't support DiVx videos compared with the i900 and Omnia II. It's really a bummer since I don't think there's a free DiVx player for the Diamond2 (of course, I haven't really been looking hard enough), but still, I wish HTC would support DiVx videos in the future.
The HTC Diamond2 offers the latest Opera Mobile browser. Rendering web pages and scrolling through them is definitely faster but it still doesn't support Flash. It's a bummer that unlike the previous Opera Web Browsers, you don't have the option to select whether you want your mobile phone to be detected as a mobile device or a desktop PC, well, I don't know if that option is there or just hidden but I sure can't heck find it.
TouchFlo 3D also offers push web pages. This application/widget lets you add your favorite websites and the application will update it regularly. I actually don't like this feature that much since first, for those who don't have unlimited data, this would be expensive to use and second, that's what RSS feeds are for, right?
Now here's the real bummer. I've read in other reviews that the Diamond2's camera is really nice. Well, picture quality-wise and in well lit areas and daylight, the pictures come out okay but indoors, it's total crap. I know because I've been able to compare picture quality with my trusty i900. Pictures indoors with the i900 even without the flash comes out bright although a bit dull. With the HTC Diamond 2, it's overly dark. Plus, I like the camera interface on the i900 more as it offers smile detection, face detection, anti-shake, macro mode, etc.
Of course, it's not like the Diamond II's camera is completely useless. Yes, it's okay and probably better than the one on the Xperia X1 but it just doesn't cut it for me. For sample pics, you can visit my i900 vs. Samsung Omnia II vs. HTC Diamond2 comparison
So, did I make the right decision? Yes, I really love my HTC Diamond2, of course it's not overly perfect but it does deliver. Gone are the days when WinMo phones are bulky and “uncool”. The HTC Diamond2 offers stylish elegance, great user interface, and outstanding functionality under one mobile phone.