HTC’s Diamond iPhone rival unwrapped
But does it shine?
A glitzy London hotel was this morning's setting for the launch of HTC’s new handset, Diamond, the latest phone in a long line of would-be iPhone killers.
The Diamond is roughly the same size as Apple’s iPhone, although the HTC device has a smaller, 2.8in touchscreen - the display's resolution is a much larger 480 x 640, though - and a zig-zag backing 'borrowed from Nokia’s similarly styled 7900 Prism – reviewed here.
HTC's Diamond: 2.8in VGA touchscreen and a 3D menu system
Users are guided around the Diamond by TouchFlo 3D, the latest incarnation of the Windows Mobile skin launched by HTC a year ago. TouchFlo 3D is also freakishly similar to the iPhone’s interface, with the music folder, for example, allowing users to rummage through tracks by viewing an album’s front cover.
Sadly, a “proprietary headphone connection” is built into diamond instead of a standard 3.5mm headphone socket. HTC claimed such an option would have made the phone bulkier. The smartphone has 4GB of internal storage, and there’s a Micro SD card slot for further expansion.
The phone's rear hides a 3.2Mp camera
If you’re more into snapping images than listening to music, then there’s a 3.2-megapixel camera on board and the phone’s internal accelerometer allows images to be viewed either horizontally or vertically with a flick of the wrist - again much like the iPhone.
An iPod-style control wheel is the phone’s main control dial for, say, flicking though piles of images or your list of contacts - which are displayed like an old fashioned Rolodex. The wheel’s also used for zooming in on webpages - all downloaded quickly thanks to the phone’s 7.2Mbp/s HSDPA connection.
Diamond is 11.3mm thick - but you can thicken it with an extended-life battery
Although the handset runs on Windows Mobile 6.1, Opera is the chosen web browser. Microsoft’s senior vice president of mobile business communications, Andy Lees, said this is because “Microsoft is in the middle of updating IE, so the timing of the device’s launch meant it wasn’t suitable for IE 6”.
In addition to 3G, the Diamond supports tri-band GSM/GPRS/Edge links. It'll also guide users around at street level, because both GPS and Assisted GPS feature - though you'll have to buy navigation software separately.
HTC said that Diamond will be available in the UK next month, but a price hasn’t been decided yet. The manufacturer did confirm though that all five major UK networks will be selling the phone.
No MicroSD slot
Despite what the article above states, there's no microSD slot on this device.
What a joke...
Reasons why for me this is a definate fail:
-4GB internal memory, NO additional SD expansion slot. They think 4GB is enough for a new flagship model? Are they serious? The iPhone has 8GB, double the capacity, how they can only give 4GB and no room for expansion is beyond me. This instantly makes it next to useless as a serious media player.
-No 3.5mm jack. No excuse for this nowadays, and make it useless as an MP3 player imo. I don't care adapters, it's a huge oversight and unforgivable in any modern device.
So yeah... despite a decent touchscreen and GPS functionality this is a complete no-go for me. It's a castrated device with one major shortcoming: the memory, and a minor but not insignificant shortcoming, the 3.5mm jack.
Also the lack of a decent on-screen keyboard a-la iPhone in Windows is a major drawback to any PDA phone without a QWERTY keyboard imo.
I'll wait for iPhone v2, the new HTC Raphael, or the Xperia X1 methinks.
Re: Bobak Fakhraee
The missing 3.5mm headphone jack is no issue. A £1.99 adaptor sorts that out and allows me to charge at the same time (e.g. in the car) and make handsfree calls. If you really want to listen to music THAT much, a £2 adaptor is not much of a hassle. Good sound quality too.
The real killer, as Chris says, is no MicroSD. 4GB storage is pittifull. What WERE they thinking?
Oh, on the battery, apparantly it uses some new screen tech to massively reduce the power drain making battery life equal to or better than a touch....I'm yet to be convinced!