If you are fan of Windows Mobile devices, you'll certainly be familiar with the HTC's TouchFLO interface. There are some slightly different implementations of it in all current HTC WinMo smartphones, but in essence it's the same.
The original HTC Touch Diamond was first to offer the TouchFLO 3D. It was fluid and modern. Of course the resistive screen was a slight drawback, but that hasn't prevented the phone from selling very well.
The absence of a capacitive touchscreen on the HTC Touch Diamond2 is barely noticeable. The new TouchFLO is so touch-optimized that even the slightest presses are detected and respond appropriately. Of course, when you eventually hit the underlying Windows Mobile, you'll meet the same distinctly touch-unfriendly interface. Only this time, you'll have to dig deeper
The TouchFLO 3D Home screen offers a choice of full screen tabs, decked out with some impressive graphics. You can move through the tabs with a single finger sweep, or by scrolling the tab thumbnails at the bottom of the screen until you hit the one you need. It's the familiar list from before but with a few new additions and includes the home screen (with a large clock), favorite contacts, text messages, email, Internet, calendar, stock, photos and video, music, weather, and settings.
Now, let's have a closer look at those tabs. A nice thing is that each tab comes with its own set of context keys, but the downside is that those are not customizable to suit your needs. With the TouchFLO 3D at hand however, you rarely have to resort to using the Windows built-in interface.
Other than showing the clock, the Home tab gives you access to the HTC Call log, the revamped calendar, world clock and alarm. The context keys give you access to the dialpad and the camera.
Later on in the review, we'll take a look at the call log and the new calendar.
The second TouchFLO tab is called People and it's also an old one. There you can set favorite contacts with an assigned image or, in the absence of that, a generic one provided by the software.
Scrolling between them is done with a finger sweep and is more fluid than ever. As it was on the original Diamond, a tap on the photo will give you the contact's details, while a tap on the number below the image will automatically dial it.
There is a thumbnail bar on the right side where you can scroll faster between your favorite contacts. The context keys give you access to an upgraded contact list with a new eye-catching interface or several settings for managing favorite contacts, such as removing or changing picture.
The Messages tab shows your latest SMS/MMS, and a single finger sweep will take you to your next message. A small shortcut in the top right corner will automatically start a new SMS/MMS with the default Windows message editor. The context keys will give you access to the Windows Mobile SMS/MMS inbox.
The Email tab shows your emails as a rather pleasing letter poking out of an envelope and, again, you can flip through them one by one.
The number of unread emails appears on the right and there is a dedicated shortcut to start a new email. Under it you can find other shortcuts for previously configured email boxes.
The context keys give you access to the Windows Mobile Email inbox, as well as several commands such as Send/Receive or Email Account management.
The Internet tab launches the Opera 9.5 web browser or the slick preinstalled YouTube video client. You can also scroll your bookmarks and launch a webpage directly from there.
The first context key displays all of your bookmarks but this time within the browser, while the second one gives you access to some data settings. It would have been nice if in this tab we could find a shortcut to the preinstalled RSS reader and streaming media player, but HTC didn't seem to hear this request back in our Diamond review.
Similarly, there's no option for changing the default Opera browser. In the previous Diamond we complained that there was no way to type a URL directly on the Home screen and open it in the browser. It seems that HTC took some of that on board and have put in a quick search bar which opens Google when you type something. This is definitely some progress, but it would have been much nicer to have a quick address bar. Perhaps next time HTC will take these comments to heart and implement a full address bar on the home screen.
The next tab is a new one and takes you to the completely updated calendar. It's nicely touch-optimized and packed with new functionality. You can change the month by sweeping your finger up or down, while selecting a particular day will open the appointment view.
If your choice is a day from the next five upcoming days then you'll also get the weather forecast for it (of course that's available only if you set and updated the weather in the Weather tab).
The two context keys allow quick access to today's appointment view and adding a new task.
The Stock tab is a well known tab from the HTC Touch HD. It allows you to add stocks and track their changes. There is only one context button and it's for adding/editing/removing stocks.
The Photos and Video tab is the same as before. It gives you access to your images and video files, which you can scroll with finger sweeps. Two additional shortcuts allow you to start the camera or camcorder directly from here. The context keys give you access to the Album application, which is used for viewing all your images and video.
The Music tab has no changes too. It displays albums with their covers and you can flip through them much like you would on the iPhone with its famous Cover Flow. The context keys let you access the music player options and the music player library where you can sort your music based on other filters besides album.