HTC Touch Diamond measures only 102 x 51 x 11.5 mm, while Samsung i900 Omnia stands at 112 x 56.9 x 12.5 mm. The extra centimeter of height and the 5 millimeters of width do make a difference, even if that's not so obvious in the photos. The Diamond feels really better in hand, while the Samsung is on the hefty side. Still both devices are slim enough and easily pocketable, so there probably won't be a great number of people to be put off by size either way.
The weight of the Omnia is 127 grams, which is a good 17 grams more than the HTC Touch Diamond. Heavy as it sounds for a regular phone, in the world of PocketPC those numbers are actually quite an achievement. There is only a handful of Windows Mobile Pro powered devices out there to weigh significantly less than the Omnia and only the LG KS20 is more lightweight than the Diamond.
Our preferences definitely go with the HTC Touch Diamond when design is in question. Now don't get us wrong - the Samsung i900 Omnia is by no means ugly or something but it is simply not as chic as the gem-inspired HTC device. In fact, the all-around metallic frame gives the i900 a very sophisticated and stylish look. Here is a bunch of photos of the two handsets, so you can make up your mind.
Both devices have similar front panel layout. The earpieces are placed dead center at the top, with the video-call cams to the right. The Samsung i900 Omnia ambient light sensor is next to the secondary camera, while the one on HTC Touch Diamond is integrated in the earpiece grill.
Next in line are the displays - a 3.2" QVGA unit is the Samsung way, while the Diamond features a 2.8" VGA screen. Both will get their due coverage a little later in the article.
Talking about hardware controls on the front panel, the HTC Touch Diamond definitely has an advantage over its South Korean competitor. It has four keys and a D-pad with a touch-enabled scroll wheel around it. The back key and the home screen shortcut might be a welcome perk for many and a serious advantage - in terms of handling - for the Diamond.
The back key is a novelty among Windows Mobile devices, and a welcome novelty we might add. It is really taking user-friendliness a level up. After all, almost all other phones have it and it was about time WinMo gadgets caught up.
The Diamond's scroll wheel also deserves some attention. It is really nice to use and adds a bit of fun to some of the applications. Unfortunately, its use is limited to picture and web browsing (zooming in and out), emails and messaging (font enlarging) and Music player (fast- forwarding and rewinding).
All the Omnia can offer in return is an optical joystick, which can also be used for thumbing around a virtual mouse cursor in a way similar to Samsung i780.
The nice thing about the Omnia's optical joystick is that its speed is configurable. You can also disable the virtual mouse and use the joystick as a thumb pad. In this mode a sweep in any direction moves your active selection accordingly but only one row or an item a time. So in order to get to the bottom of your Start menu for example, you have to make a lot of sweeps.
The HTC Touch Diamond volume rocker is on the left side along with the USB slot at the bottom. There is no dedicated camera key and the D-pad is used instead. It has nice two-way action, whereby a touch counts as a half-press and the actual press is a…well... full press. A smart move it is by HTC, preserving the dual-press functionality with no need for a dedicated shutter key. In all fairness however, a dedicated camera key is still the more convenient solution, scoring a point for the Omnia imaging department.
What we don't really like about the Omnia is the non-standard USB slot it utilizes. After all, the miniUSB on the Diamond is much more popular and chances are a spare data cable is just lying around.
The power keys on both the HTC Touch Diamond and the Samsung i900 Omnia are placed at the top. The one on the Diamond is large enough and quite tactile, so we have no issues there. The Omnia power key however is too tiny and recessed and did get on our nerves now and then.
The cameras are rearside on either of the gadgets. Samsung i900 Omnia has a 5 megapixel snapper which, as we managed to confirm, is quite a decent performer. It also features a LED flash, which should supposedly get you covered for some of those night party shots. In reality, it does a job not so impressive with the effective range being down to a meter. It can also be used as a flashlight with the built-in application in the Omnia.
HTC Touch Diamond has a 3 megapixel camera with no flash. The lens is better protected here than in the Omnia, as it's recessed deeper. That however brings a disadvantage: the lens is harder to clean once it gets dirty. The small aperture is rather hard to reach down to the bottom.
A noteworthy element of the HTC Touch Diamond is its really cool stylus.When you're putting it back in, you don't need to push all the way down. The compartment is magnetic and it literally pulls the stylus in. The stylus is active, so when you take it out, the phone automatically resumes from standby. In addition, taking out the stylus during a call automatically starts the Notes application, which might be convenient for putting down a phone number or an address for example. And there's even a spare stylus in the Diamond retail package.
In fact, a stylus is expected to ship in the Samsung i900 Omnia box too. For all we know, that means the stylus will probably be doomed to staying in the box forever, as carrying a stylus in your pocket is a sure way to lose it. This means that the mouse cursor (controlled by the optical joystick) is your only hope in menus where your fingers are just too large to reach.
Both phones are powered by Li-Ion batteries. The Omnia boasts a 1440 mAh battery, while the Diamond has the rather modest sounding 900 mAh. Topped with the better power management of the Intel CPU and the smaller resolution display, it's no wonder the Omnia keeps going almost twice as long as the HTC.
In our dedicated GPS battery test the HTC Touch Diamond pulled off the modest 2 hours and 20 minutes, while the Omnia managed the impressive 4 hours and 20 minutes. Just for comparison the HTC TyTN II went about 4 hours.
The memory card slot of the Omnia is under the battery cover and sadly isn't hot-swappable. No hot-swap is a real downer. It's still better than the Diamond, where there isn't a slot whatsoever.
There are two major issues regarding the construction of HTC Touch Diamond. The first is the high-gloss plastic and the resulting fingerprint crisis. The phone gets all covered in smudges in no time and that ruins the looks of the device.
The second problem is the uneven angular back of the Diamond. While it's got those chick looks, it renders the phone quite hard to work with when laid on a desk because it wobbles heavily thanks to the uneven back. In addition we saw the points of the edges get quickly worn out and that is something that ruins it for us.
We have no major complains with the construction of the Omnia. It does look the sleek and expensive device that it is and the high-quality materials used do benefit handling and durability.
The specs tell the whole story here - the HTC Touch Diamond VGA screen has more than three times the pixel count of the Samsung i900 Omnia wide QVGA unit. What can we say - seeing is believing: the Diamond pulls off a much finer image in some applications.
The problem is that a 2.8" screen is a bit too small for VGA to show its full potential. Still, there are plenty of applications where the difference is as tangible as it gets - navigation apps, the web browser, and the gallery just to name a few.
Of course, size does matter when it comes to displays, so the 3.2" screen of the Omnia earns a different kind of pat on the back. If only the Diamond had a similar-sized display, it would've made much more of that VGA resolution.
Sunlight legibility issues have been plaguing PocketPC displays forever and sadly they remain unsolved in both the Diamond and the Omnia. In all fairness, the HTC performs somewhat better in the sun but still doesn't come even close to Nokia screen standards for example (let alone Apple iPhone).