Review by Sunetra Chakravati,
12/12/2011 3:54:42 PM
Excellent internet experience, easy syncing and a new communication history that aggregates texts, emails and calls from a single contact.
Music player is a token add-on.
Upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5 when the operating system (OS) is released later in 2009, the Diamond2 features deeper integration of HTC’s TouchFLO user interface (UI) with the Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional OS, making the phone far more finger friendly.
The two most noteworthy additions are the ‘push internet’ feature, which works in a similar way to an RSS feed, and HTC’s new ‘people-centric communication’, where texts, emails and calls from your favourite contacts are aggregated into three tabs on a single menu.
The Diamond2 is a little chunkier than the original, but still compact and solid. Four hardware buttons on its front – call, hang up, back, and a new ‘start’ button that calls up the programs menu – are a new feature. The hi-res WQVGA display is bigger and brighter at 3.2 inches, with the useful addition of a touch zoom bar that works in the photo gallery and the browser.
The original Diamond’s bevelled back, which made it difficult to place it flat on a surface, has been replaced with a smooth version. The battery life has been increased by 50%, and the three-megapixel camera has been upgraded to five. A microSD slot has been added to expand the phone’s internal memory of 512MB by up to 16GB; unfortunately the slot is beneath the battery so you have to shut down the phone to remove it.
The deeper integration between HTC’s own UI and the WinMo OS means that the new start button on the front of the phone brings up a programs menu that is much more modern, with bright, clear icons optimised for touch-screen use.The TouchFLO UI has messaging, email, photos, music and weather in the top level user menu, and there are larger touch-focus areas for a more accurate touch-screen.
Top-end business features are still a major selling point. The ActiveSync software quickly and automatically syncs with Outlook when you connect the phone to your PC, and calendar appointments over the next two days pop up on the home screen. There’s a secondary camera for video-calling and a Stock tab where you can track favourite stocks. One useful feature is a pop-up memo widget when you pull out the stylus during a phone call, so you can scribble down notes mid call.
Each contact now has its own profile page detailing your full history of texts, calls and emails – a feature we found at once hugely useful, yet simple, and one we would love to see more of.
Then there’s ‘push internet’ – choose up to four favourite webpages to update at specified intervals. The pages are then saved so you can view them even when your phone is out of service range, say when on the Tube. It works like an RSS feed, so you get a good idea of news headlines before deciding if you want to click through to the page. Of course, if you’re out of range, any links on the page won’t work, but even then, it does work really well for pages such as sports results, or pages that aren’t as link-rich, such as blogs. However, we’re not convinced it’s a must-have for all future phones.
To set up the feature, head to the browser tab where there will be four spaces to fill – you can manually type in a URL, or choose from your bookmarks list, but we’d also like to see the ability to add a webpage to your ‘push’ list directly from the page itself.
Internet is top notch. Pages load quickly and look brilliant – even text and link-rich sites like BBC News render fast. The phone is pre-loaded with the excellent Opera Mini, which handles embedded links well, and the touch-screen plus touch zoom bar makes for an intuitive web experience.
The five-megapixel camera on the Diamond2 is one of the better that we’ve seen on a business-meets-consumer phone. There’s no night mode or flash, so low-light shots aren’t great, but you can adjust the white balance, ISO and light exposure for a good range of daylight shots. However, in dim light, even adjusting the ISO to the highest setting of 800 produced pictures that, though clear, had too much yellow.
An excellent touch is being able to tap on any part of the screen for the camera to auto-focus on that area, and on the whole, our pictures looked great on the phone’s display, and almost as good when uploaded.
The music player provides only average sound quality with audio that lacked fullness. This was compounded by the fact that not only is there no 3.5mm audio jack to plug your own headphones into, there’s no adaptor, so you’re limited to the bundled headphones that have an awkward fit.
The ‘people-centric’ communication feature is an effective way of organising, but we’re less sold on the ‘push’ internet, as its function is derailed by the fact that many regularly updated sites depend on readers being able to click on links. But on the whole, you’ll get an impressive range of business and entertainment features.