The HTC Touch Diamond 2 is a good-looking Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional handset that's now available with the updated Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional OS.
The HTC Touch Diamond 2's 3.2in screen is narrower but just as tall as the iPhone's and has a resolution of 480x800-pixels. The background (if you buy it contract-free) is a muted grey-brown, allowing the white icons on the touch-sensitive display to stand out. Four hardware buttons: Call, Windows/Home, Back and End call sit below this.
Should you accidentally wade too deep into the HTC Touch Diamond 2's Windows menus, press the Windows/Home button to escape.
You'll then see a thumbnail list of items you can select. You can add more to the scrollable list, giving more prominence to apps you use frequently and deleting those you don't. The HTC Touch Diamond 2's home screen displays an old-style flip-over clock and yet to be acknowledged calls, text messages or emails. At the bottom is a People (contacts) list, web browser, calendar and a stock ticker (an optional subscription widget). Further scrolling takes you to the media player, photos, weather and settings.
The HTC Touch Diamond 2's camera is a 5Mp version that pre-focuses before taking a snap. It's no cop in low light but reasonable in good light. As with an iPhone you trigger the photo by pressing an onscreen icon. Not user friendly. However, you can then MMS or email them to a contact or view them in the album browser.
Contact management is good. View messages in your inbox and associated ones appear as linked emails in a sort of 3D stack. A firm press on the screen allows you to flick through these while a lingering one brings up the original message for you to read in full and reply to if required. The onscreen keyboard requires a very definite push for each character to be recognised, but you do at least have basic punctuation as well as the letters and alt numbers on the main screen. The BlackBerry Bold and the Samsung H1 both require you switch to a separate screen to enter commas and full stops.
Although offering haptic (feedback), the HTC Touch Diamond 2's screen isn't as sensitive as some and we found ourselves swiping across it and either not selecting a thing or initiating the wrong thing. This was an issue we had too with the Toshiba TG01. Both are well-specified handsets - the HTC has a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and 512MB ROM - but the capacitive touchscreen isn't up to snuff.
More useful are the 3.5G connectivity, the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth. The browser is no match for the best zoomable offerings of the latest smartphones, but if there are pages you return to time and again you can easily add them as Push pages that appear immediately below the URL entry field. YouTube can preloaded as one such option as on our review handset.
As its core the HTC Touch Diamond 2 is a very good phone, but it also has plenty of shortcomings - that cluttered, disorderly interface and the poor touchscreen among them.
HTC has done extremely well with the Windows Mobile line-up by overlaying a non Office-like interface over a competent but unexciting business handset that in itself grew out of the PDA (personal digital assistant).
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