The HTC Touch Diamond2 has a 5 megapixel auto focus camera producing photos with a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. The camera offers an intuitive user interface and shoots in landscape mode.
It lacks a dedicated camera key AGAIN so, in order to pre-focus before you snap a picture with the Diamond, you simply touch the screen. Once focus is locked, you can take the picture by pressing the virtual capture button. OR you can just touch the virtual key, the camera focuses on the frame center and takes the shot automatically.
The Diamond camera also lacks a LED flash, but our team is not super keen on LED flashes anyway so we don't count this as a serious flaw.
Interface and features
The Diamond viewfinder is free of any overlaying controls by default but you can display those by touching the dedicated key under the "capture" button.
In terms of camera features, the HTC Touch Diamond has the usual and offers the standard self-timer, white balance presets, ISO settings (up to ISO800), color effects and a viewfinder gridline. You can shoot images with the front-facing video-call camera too and there's some nice custom resolution settings for contacts' images.
Probably the biggest letdown with the camera is the lack of geotagging, and it's beyond us why they left that out much like with the HTC Touch HD.
With the Touch Diamond2 you can shoot macro images easily without needing to change modes. However focusing in close-up is rather hard and is somewhat hit-or-miss - sometimes the Touch Diamond focuses correctly, while other times it's way off.
There is also a panorama mode that offers on-screen framing guidance. After all the individual shots for the panorama are taken, the Diamond2 stitches the images together automatically.
The downside here is that in Panorama mode each individual image is shot at roughly 480 x 480 pixels and the images are quite badly stitched together. Obviously the Panorama mode is only ok if you intend to show your images on the handset display exclusively (which is exactly 480 pixels wide) with no further zooming.
In the past, if there was a camera on an HTC phone, the chances were that it was mediocre. There was always something - the lens, the plastic cover, the noise reduction, poor detail or unpleasant colors. But for the first time, an exception comes along - in this case it's called the HTC Touch Diamond2.
The picture quality is surprisingly good with excellent detail, natural colors and little over-sharpening. Even foliage came out well and didn't suffer any loss of detail. In fact, everything is just fine and subjectively, the camera on the Diamond2 fares even a notch above the one on the LG KM900 Arena.
You can see how good the camera is from the samples below.
Poor video recording
The Touch Diamond2 video capturing capabilities are not impressive at all - VGA recording at 15 fps. Given the video capabilities of many modern phones and bearing in mind the powerful Diamond2 CPU, we really expected more. The video quality is almost decent though the colors are dull, the detail levels seem normal, but they really should be better. The biggest problem of course is the low frame rate, and it's really not what we've come to expect in such a high-end device.
The interface of the camcorder resembles the one of the still camera. You can only adjust the white balance, the resolution, brightness and finally add some color effects.
Finally, the MPEG4 recording in VGA resolution at 15fps - the maximum that the device offers - can be changed to CIF@15fps on all three types of encoding - H.263, H.264, MPEG4. Yes, the frame rate is fixed to 15 on all types of video recording and that's a great shame.
Here is a sample VGA video (1MB) captured by the Touch Diamond2.
When it comes to connectivity the HTC Diamond2 has it all - HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 2Mbps, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth + EDR. It hasn't added 802.11n but that is still in the drafting stages.
The Diamond2 has quad-band GSM support and dual-band 3G - 900 and 2100 MHz bands are supported (that is Europe and the like). You can check out our Worldwide Network Bands distribution database.
USB 2.0 is supported as well through a miniUSB adaptor. Actually it's extUSB, but miniUSB cables fit just fine, and the port also serves audio input and output. When connected to a computer, the Diamond2 prompts you to select among ActiveSync, Mass Storage or Modem modes.
In Mass Storage mode, the memory card is handled as a removable drive on the computer for faster file transfers. The only downside is in this mode you have no access to the memory card from the handset itself - the card is simply invisible to the file manager.
We always say that a card slot is often the fastest way to transfer huge amounts of data to and from your handset. Here's how the Diamond2 stacks up against the first Diamond and the Touch HD in terms of USB data transfers.
The handset was connected to a Windows XP computer through the USB cable in Mass Storage mode.
It managed to outperform the first Diamond but the HD's PC to handset speed was unreachable. The Diamond2 gave a well-balanced performance overall.
HTC Diamond2 copy/paste performance:
HTC Touch HD copy/paste performance:
HTC Touch Diamond copy/paste performance:
With a card reader we got about 12.8 MB/s from the card to the computer and 9.7 MB/s the other way round. As we said - that's the fastest way to transfer stuff to the phone.
The HTC Diamond2 comes with the Opera v9.5 browser. There's IE Mobile if you really want it, but the default browser launched from the homescreen is Opera. And with good reason, since it puts IE Mobile to shame.
The Opera browser is extensively touch-optimized and draws inspiration from the iPhone's Safari. The browser has matured since its inclusion in the Touch HD and now exhibits no rendering bugs.
The browser is heavily optimized towards vertical scrolling - it zooms through complex pages without missing a beat. Panning sideways is a little slower - a checkerboard pattern appears for a moment before the content is drawn, but this lasts for no more than a second so it's no big issue.
Zooming in and out is also very fast. Here the Zoom bar can be used or you could opt for the regular double-tap zoom. Double tapping is more accurate as it zooms in to where you tapped, eliminating the need for much panning. On the other hand, the Zoom bar gives you finer control over the zoom level.
The WVGA resolution of the display helps navigation a great deal - at the minimum zoom level text is readable enough for you to find the section of the text you're interested in and double tapping takes you straight there.
In landscape mode, the minimum zoom fits most pages, while strangely in portrait mode you can zoom out even more, but then the text becomes unreadable. The orientation is changed automatically of course, thanks to the built-in accelerometer.
And a few words about the Opera 9.5 interface. By default web pages are opened fullscreen free of any overlaying controls. A tap on the bottom right corner, however, brings up the available controls. When entering a URL there's a special '.com' button on the keypad, saving a few presses.
First, you've got the address bar at the very top. At the bottom of the screen there is a row of icons that can take you back, take you to bookmarks, bring up the tab switcher (you can open up to two tabs), the home page or the browser settings.
Opera 9.5 has a handy download manager which tracks the progress of the files you're downloading.