Sprint HTC Touch Diamond Review

Article Index

Functions and Software

Web browsing on the Touch Diamond is much better than on some Windows Mobile devices because HTC integrated Opera Mobile 9.5 into the device. Internet Explorer is still available should you wish to use it, but Opera Mobile 9.5 does a much better job at providing a desktop-like browsing experience on a mobile’s small screen. As a result, we hardly found a need to use Internet Explorer during our tests. If you rotate the device while browsing in Opera, the phone’s screen will change orientation to match. You can also zoom in and out of pages by sliding your finger clockwise and counterclockwise around the scroll wheel.

There were a couple instances in which we had to restart the Touch Diamond because we either locked up the phone or it appeared sluggish. Although this was rare, a soft reset generally resolved the issue. The reset button on the Touch Diamond isn’t nearly as accessible as it is on some other phones: We had to remove the battery cover and pull out the stylus in order to reset the phone. A hard reset (which will erase the phone and restore it to factory defaults) using hardware keys is a bit more difficult to perform than a soft reset, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since one shouldn’t need to hard reset the device much, if at all.

When entering a phone number on the Phone screen, the Touch Diamond matches the number you type both numerically and alphabetically. In other words, if you type 266, it will match all numbers with 266 in it, along with anyone who has a form of Ann in their name.

HTC created custom screens for incoming and outgoing calls. The incoming screen shows your contact’s photo, name, and phone number at the top with a green Answer button next to a red Ignore button near the bottom. The outgoing screen shows the person’s photo (or the default silhouette photo if none is available) at the left with their name and phone number to the right. Below this information, there is Hold, Add Call, Note, Mute, Speaker, and Contacts buttons. A large, red End Call button is at the very bottom of the outgoing call screen.
 

         


Outlook with Microsoft Direct Push Technology and HTML support can provide access to both personal and corporate email accounts, including popular POP3 and IMAP accounts such as AOL, Gmail, Earthlink, and Yahoo! mail. Thanks to support for Microsoft Direct Push, your contact information, email, and other important data synchronizes nicely with Outlook over the air. Of course, people without an Exchange server can synchronize via ActiveSync as well.

When connected to a computer, the phone gives you the option to use ActiveSync or DiskDrive. ActiveSync synchronizes the device with the computer according to your chosen settings. DiskDrive enables a mass storage mode and essentially treats the device like an external USB hard drive.

Cyberon’s Voice commander handles all voice dialing capabilities along with other voice controls which let you access various functions of the phone. This speaker-independent voice recognition software doesn’t require any training on your part. It can dial contacts, tell you the time, open applications, and much more via simple voice commands.

The PIM functionality of the Touch Diamond is largely controlled by Windows Mobile, so you’ll see the same Calendar, Notes, voice recording, and Tasks screens as what you’d see on other Windows Mobile 6.1 devices. These functions have all worked well for us in the past, so we’re OK with the fact that HTC didn’t change them.

The Touch Diamond supports both SMS and MMS messaging, so you can send text, pictures, and video messages to friends and family. You can initiate new messages from the TouchFLO 3D interface, but the actual typing of the message will occur within the standard Windows Mobile environment.

When tapping out a message or entering other text, you can choose from one of three custom keyboards (Phone Keypad, Compact QWERTY, and Full QWERTY). The Phone Keypad is a 12-key, T9 keypad, while the Compact QWERTY keyboard resembles a SureType keyboard with only two letters per key. The Compact QWERTY supports T9 input as well for faster data entry. All of these keyboards require a fair amount of screen real estate, but this is fairly common with many phones that use on-screen, finger-controlled keyboards. Other input methods include the Block Recognizer, the standard Windows Mobile small QWERTY on-screen keyboard, Letter Recognizer, and Transcriber.


             


Windows Live Search is preloaded on the Touch Diamond for easy access to maps, directions, traffic information, movie listings, gas prices, weather updates, and more. Live Search can even interact with the phone’s GPS receiver to provide location-based information. With the phone’s support for Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store, you’ll have easy access to live TV, video on demand, and downloadable stereo-quality soundtracks. You can even use the Sprint Music Store to listen to music while you’re sending text messages or browsing the Web.

In addition to Bubble Breaker and Solitaire, you’ll find an amusing (and addicting) game called Teeter. In this puzzle game, you must maneuver a marble around various “holes” and obstacles in order to get it in the green slot. To do this, you use the phone’s accelerometer and tilt the phone up, down, left, and right.

Because the Touch Diamond runs on Windows Mobile 6.1, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of applications that are already available for you to purchase and install. By installing additional applications that fit your needs, you will get even more value from this smartphone.

Business users in particular will appreciate that Office Mobile is preinstalled on the Touch Diamond, giving you the ability to work with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. A built-in RSS reader, MP3 ring tone creator, and other software is also included. Sprint also included a download link for OZ Instant Messaging software, which supports Yahoo!, AIM, and Windows Live Messaging.

Related content

Comments

Show comments blog comments powered by Disqus