The design on the HTC Touch Diamond is really impressive. The diamond-inspired back panel looks really sleek and so does the glossy front panel. The first thing that you notice is the Touch Diamond is not pitch black as shown on HTC ads. When exposed to direct light the front panel is actually grey resembling a bit the HTC Touch Cruise display frame. You can clearly see that on some of the photos.
As always, the problem with glossy panels is that they are really prone to fingerprints. It takes only a short time of working with the HTC Touch Diamond to cover it with smudges and ruin the otherwise pleasant looks.
The front panel is dominated by the 2.8-inch screen of the exiting VGA resolution. While not a novelty among PocketPCs the VGA screen is really one of the highlights of the HTC Touch Diamond. The incredibly high pixel-to-area ratio greatly improves the picture quality and earns a point for the newest member of the HTC family.
The rest of the front panel is taken by the four hardware soft keys and the special scroll wheel/D-pad combo. In all fairness we have to admit that the regular keys feel somewhat cheap as they don't provide enough tactile feedback.
The D-pad is an entirely different story. It combines hardware key functionality in the regular 5 directions plus a touch sensitive overlay forming a scroll wheell.
This touch-sensitive scroll wheel can be used for zooming images, web pages, messages, and doubles as music controls. It is basically the same as the HTC Touch Cruise, except for the touch-sensitivity thingy.
On the top of HTC Touch Diamond there is only the power key, which is also used for waking up the phone when in sleep mode.
The right side of the handset is completely deprived of any functional elements and is only diversified by the "4GB internal memory" label. A dedicated camera shutter key would have come in handy.
On the left side of the Diamond we find the volume rocker, which is large enough and comfortable to use.
The bottom features the miniUSB slot which is used for connecting the data cable and the headphones. The charger also plugs in here. The other noteworthy element is the stylus which scores another point for the Diamond.
When you start putting the stylus in, you don't need to push it all the way down. The stylus slot is magnetic and it literally attracts the stylus in. The stylus is also active so when you take it out the phone automatically wakes up.
The backside of the phone is where the designers seem to have put the most effort when developing the HTC Touch Diamond. However in terms of functional elements it only hosts the 3 megapixel camera lens. There is no flash of any kind but LED flash units are usually not usable so it's not a big loss.
Opera Mobile in action
Windows Mobile devices have never been good in taking photos so we were also wondering how the Touch Diamond would fare in this respect. Here are several camera samples for you to enjoy.
You can see for yourselves that the HTC Touch Diamond doesn't really shine in the camera department just as expected. It's good for a Windows Mobile device, but the contrast levels are too low (maybe because a too small lens was used) and the color balance is not always correct.
Well, this certainly was a quick preview but we had a really limited timeframe. We are really excited about the HTC Touch Diamond and we are already actively working on a full-blown review for your (and our) enjoyment.
So far the prospects are good - it's compact, it seems capable (save for a few interface lockups that we experienced) and it surely does look the part. The HTC Touch Diamond is among the most feature-loaded handsets to date and represents the most evolved Windows Mobile product when it comes to touch input (nope, we won't let the iPhone impose on our conclusion too). So overall, we really hope that the Touch Diamond will meet our expectations (which are already going through the ceiling.) Nice weekend to you all!