Editors' note: The Verizon HTC Touch Diamond is similar to the unlocked Touch Diamond in design. For this review, we will be concentrating on the different features and performance compared with the unlocked version as well as the Sprint HTC Touch Diamond. For a full description of the smartphone's design, please see our full review of the unlocked HTC Touch Diamond.
We're not sure if the phrase "better late than never" even fits here, considering that this product has been out for a while and its successor has already been announced, but Verizon Wireless customers who have been lusting over the HTC Touch Diamond can finally get one of their own. Joining the unlocked version and the Sprint model, Verizon's version of the Windows Mobile smartphone includes support for the carrier's various services, such as VZ Navigator and its EV-DO Rev. A network. Unlike the other two models, you do get a microSD expansion slot, but it comes at price of internal memory and unfortunately, this slows down the general performance of the smartphone.
Our biggest problem with the Touch Diamond, however, is the price. The Verizon Touch Diamond costs $299.99 with a two-year contract, which is pretty high considering that the Touch Diamond is older and nearing the end of its life cycle. Plus, the HTC Touch Diamond2 has already been announced and should be coming soon. Given these factors, if it's a touch-screen smartphone you're after, we'd recommend taking a look at the Samsung Omnia, also available on Verizon. It's not as sleek but the smartphone costs $100 less and includes a larger screen, better camera, and faster performance.
The majority of the Verizon HTC Touch Diamond's features--operating system, camera, voice--are similar to the Sprint version, but obviously, there are some differences in carrier services as well as some other changes.
Perhaps the biggest alteration is the onboard memory. Unlike the unlocked and Sprint models, the Verizon Touch Diamond comes equipped with a microSD expansion slot (located behind the back cover). We missed having the option of expandable memory, so it's nice that you can load up a memory card full of your music, videos, and documents, and save your device memory for other things. The expansion slot can accept up to 16GB cards, too. However, while you gain expandable memory, you lose some onboard memory. You only get 256MB flash and 128MB RAM, whereas the Sprint and unlocked models have 4GB internal memory, and consequently, this affects the smartphone's performance. More on this in the Performance section below.
The added Verizon features include Visual Voice Mail and its location-based service, VZ Navigator, which provides real-time turn-by-turn directions, traffic data, weather information, and more using the smartphone's A-GPS. Be aware that VZ Navigator is an add-on service and costs $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day.
Other voice features include EV-DO Rev. A support, a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, speed dial, and text and multimedia messaging. The address book is only limited by the available memory, and you can store multiple numbers for a single entry, as well as home and work addresses, e-mail, IM screen name, birthday, and more. For caller ID purposes, you can pair a contact with a photo, a caller group, or a custom ringtones. Bluetooth 2.0 is onboard for use with mono and stereo Bluetooth headsets as well as hands-free kits, object push for vCard, basic imaging, and phonebook access profiles. Unfortunately, it does not support all OBEX profiles. The Touch Diamond offers dial-up networking so you can use the smartphone as a modem for your laptop. However, you will need to sign up for one of Verizon's Mobile Broadband Connect plans, which start at $15 per month.
Some other extras that ship on the HTC Touch Diamond include a dedicated YouTube app, mobile instant messaging clients (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo), an MP3 Trimmer for creating your own ringtones, and Verizon's VZAppZone where you can download more applications, games, utilities, and more.
Verizon packages the HTC Touch Diamond with an AC adapter, a USB cable, an extra stylus, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phones accessories, ringtones, and help page.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) HTC Touch Diamond in San Francisco using Verizon service, and call quality was good. We enjoyed clear audio on our end with very little background noise. The only complaints we heard from friends were of some slight echos or hissing, but nothing that ruined the conversation. We also didn't experience any dropped calls during our testing. Speakerphone quality was a little tinny. We were able to pair the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.
As we mentioned in the Features section, the RAM size does have an effect on general performance. The Touch Diamond could be quite sluggish, tripping over simple things like navigating the TouchFlo interface, viewing missed calls, or creating a new e-mail message. There was also one occasion where the smartphone kept exiting out of Outlook when we were simply trying to open an e-mail. While we never experienced any major crashes or reboots during our review period, the delays got to be frustrating and more noticeable than other smartphones we've tested.
The one bright spot was the GPS capabilities. Using VZ Navigator, the smartphone was able to find our location in less than a minute, and it did a good job of tracking our position as we moved throughout San Francisco. The application was also able to give us traffic data and provide us with other useful information, such as the weather forecast and movie times based on our location.
The picture quality of the Touch Diamond's 3.2-megapixel camera was OK. Images were clear, but we would have liked a little more richness in color. Also, it was a bit of a challenge to get a steady shot, since there's no dedicated capture button on the side of the phone. Video quality was quite blurry, even when we were doing slow pans of a landscape scene.
The HTC Touch Diamond's 1340mAh lithium ion battery has a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 15 days of standby time. We are still conducting our battery drain tests but will update this section as soon as we have final results. According to FCC radiation tests, the Touch Diamond has a digital SAR rating of 0.853 watt per kilogram.