Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 10, 2008
I was not at all impressed with the HTC Touch Diamond when I took a look at it in September. The main difference between it an its big brother, the Touch Pro. is a slide-out keyboard, but boy what a difference it makes.
I have no problem with the idea of on-screen keyboards; the one in the iPhone is satisfactory and the version in the upcoming BlackBerry Storm (corrected from Bold) is terrific. But the implementation in the Sprint version of the Touch Diamond is awful if for no other reason than the on-screen keyboard’s tendency to cover critical parts of the display at the worst possible time.
In exchange for a little extra thickness and weight, and a $300 price tag (after rebates, with a two-year Sprint contract), $50 more than the Touch Diamond, you get a keyboard that actually works and a phone that’s about as good as Windows Mobile 6.1 gets. HTC has done a decent job with Touch-Flo, an iPhone-like grid homepage layered on top of the normal WinMo start screen, but the changes are skin-deep. Do something requiring any depth and you’re back in the familiar Windows Mobile screens and applications (and when, oh when, will the hardware get smart enough to known that when the physical keyboard is open, you don’t need that little icon to bring up the on-screen version?)
The phone runs on Sprint’s fast EV-DO network and has all the features expected of a contemporary smartphone: A 3.2 megapixel camera, network-assisted GPS, and access to Sprint’s varied multimedia offerings. A 1340 milliamp-hour battery should ensure good life, depending on how much Web browsing and video-watching you do, and a micro-SD card slot ensures plenty of storage.