I received my HTC Touch Diamond from Opera earlier this week. It’s an interesting phone – and despite what people seem to say about Windows Mobile, it doesn’t seem to have any problems.
I’m sure you can find lots of proper reviews of the device, so I’ll just mention a few things I found nice and things that haven’t been brought up in anywhere else.
Starting from the packaging, the design looks quite impressive – Shiny surfaces and all. What was surprising is that you get a USB cable, an extra stylus and headphones bundled with the phone – I’ve never seen for example a Nokia phone come with any “unnecessary” extras.
The user interface
The first thing you see from the phone is of course the UI. HTC has done a great job with the TouchFlo 3D interface that’s used in many of the common functionality: Today screen, messages (sms/email), internet, weather, some settings screens and applications screen.
I’ve heard some people complain that it’s not very responsive, but that’s simply not true. I’ve used some Nokia phones with Symbian S60 which are less responsive than the Touch Diamond – and they had much less impressive graphics and all.
A lot of the phone uses Windows Mobile 6.1’s own interface, which may initially be a bit problematic to use with fingers, as some elements such as scrollbars can be quite small. After getting used to it, it’s better, but the TouchFlo UI is definitely more suited for fingers – You can always pull out the stylus (which can be conveniently stored inside the device) to operate it if you find hitting things with your fingers difficult.
Some have also said that the onscreen QWERTY keyboard is way too small. I don’t know where my hands rank in the size-scale, but I’ve found it perfectly usable with my thumbs. There’s also an incredibly tiny Windows Mobile qwerty keyboard which is way too small for typing quickly.
As I mentioned above, the TouchFlo software is excellent. The phone also comes with many useful applications: office mobile, messenger, Opera mobile, Google Maps… oh, and solitaire! Can’t have Windows without solitaire.
Windows Mobile itself seems solid enough and has the necessary features to work in a phone. This is my first Windows Mobile based phone, so I don’t have that much to say about it yet.
Many 3rd party Windows Mobile applications are commercial and not free, but there’s free stuff available as well. I haven’t really delved into it very much yet, but some things I’ve installed are MobilePuTTY, a free SSH client and some emulators such as ScummVM which can be used to play old LucasArts games like Monkey Island.
So far I’m liking it. It’s got more features than I even need, it looks nice and I’ve always liked touch based UIs.
It seems HTC has spent a lot of time thinking about small details in this phone. For example, if you plug in the USB cable and it starts charging the battery, you get a pulsating light going from bottom to upwards indicating that it’s charging. When fully charged, the light stays on. When you receive a new SMS, it flashes lights around the navigation key in clockwise order.
Also, when you check weather and it says raining, it does this small animation which looks like you have drops of water on the screen and then a windscreen wiper appears and wipes them off. Yeah, they’re really small things but I find them nice.
I’m also looking forward to checking out .NET Compact Framework, which can be used to write apps for Windows Mobile based phones.