Using the Diamond
Although the screen on the Diamond is very touchable, it is smaller than many other touch-screen cell phones. While we found that we could fairly easily dial the phone using the on-screen keypad, typing with our fingers was problematic. So we reverted to using the included stylus.
As shown in Figure 9, you can barely see the stylus when it is in the phone. To access it, you simply slide your figure down the side of the phone. The stylus, as shown in Figure 10 is small and sturdy. It is held in place by a magnet, so it won’t fall out of the phone. In weeks of use, it was never dislodged inadvertently, even when we just threw it around a bit.
The Verizon HTC Touch Diamond runs Windows Mobile 6.1.
We have never been big fans of Windows Mobile. In fact, the phone threw up a Windows blue screen the first day we used it. However, in several weeks of testing, that was the only error that we encountered.
One of the things we liked best about this phone is that Windows Mobile can be over laid with an HTC’s exclusive TouchFLO 3D interface. We thought that the TouchFlo interface made the device easier to use than most Windows Mobile devices. However, if you are a big Windows Mobile fan, you can easily switch off the TouchFlo in the settings and use the Diamond with the standard Windows Mobile interface.
The home screen of the TouchFLO interface is shown in Figure 11. It features a large clock, the date, the status of the alarm, the call history, and the calendar.
The background of the home screen is customizable, but the tabs and clock appear on a purple background, even if you change the background picture. While we found this look quite appealing and very readable, we wished that the colors could be changed occasionally just for the sake of having a little variety.
At the bottom of the Home Screen, you see 5 tabs. These tabs will quickly take you to the Phone, Contacts, Messages, Music, or Email. If you swipe your finger or the stylus across these icons, more choices will appear on the right, including the Web browser, Applications, Photos and Video, and Weather.
Under the row of icons are the words Phone on one side and Camera on the other. These can be touched to access those functions.
When using various functions of the phone, the icon bar stays accessible just as it was on the home screen. However, the words under the bar change to choices for the functions that are in play. For instance, as shown in Figure 12, when in the Photo and Video Mode, the words are used to access the Album and the Slideshow.
The TouchFLO interface allows you to flip through email, messages, and albums by flicking your finger. This is a cool and useful feature that is much like the iPhone.
Also, the TouchFLO interface has a small icon in the upper right corner that you can use to see (and to close) all open applications. This makes it much easier to control open applications.
Unless, you have previously used a Windows Mobile phone, you will probably find the TouchFLO interface more intuitive. It makes it easy to make and receive phone calls as well as to access the other features on the phone.
Calls on the phone were crisp and clear and we encountered no dropped calls or delays. The Speakerphone was average.
Although some might be able to navigate the on-screen keyboard with their fingers, we found ourselves reaching for the stylus when we wanted to use the onscreen keyboard. This Diamond sports a revamped onscreen keyboard. You can choose to use the full QWERTY keypad or T9 keypad, which is like a phone keypad. T9 stands for Text on 9 keys which a phone keypad. HTC has expanded the F9 keypad to 12 keys so it is a bit easier to use. It is predictive so the more you use it, the better it can predict what you want to type.
Each cell phone that we try seems to have little things that we like and a few that we don’t like. Some examples with the Diamond were that is gives a small auditory and vibration when a call is placed. This was a nice feature. However, we were not impressed with the fact that the screen was blanked out when making a call and did not wake up when we moved it away from our ear as the iPhone does. This made it much more difficult to enter things like extensions or make numerical menu choices.