I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for the past 4 years and have carried a PDA phone with them for the past 2 years. The internet with T-Mobile was excruciating slow, but I’ve been patient and waiting for them to release a 3G network. They recently added 3G, but I then found out my unlocked Windows Mobile 6.0 Palm Treo 750 was not T-Mobile 3G compatible. I then decided to check their 3G compatible phones only to find out they didn’t have any (this was prior to the G1 coming out). I tried searching for unlocked phones that would work on the T-Mobile 3G frequency and still no luck. So I decided enough was enough and started looking for a new carrier. My requirements were:
1. Fast Internet so I can use my phone as a modem when I travel.
2. The phone had to be a Windows Mobile PDA.
3. The provider needed to provide a good family plan.
4. Unlimited Text and Internet.
After many hours of research I found the Windows Mobile 6.1 HTC Diamond provided by Sprint. WOW! What a phone! Many people say it’s the iPhone killer, but I do not agree with them. (I was not even looking for an iPhone User Experience phone.) I’ve been using it for 6 days now and here are the good, the not so good and the bad of this phone.
The phone is small and lightweight, yet you can still do everything other PDAs do (including the iPhone).
The TouchFlo3D or the HTC user interface built on top of Windows Mobile is slick. It’s nice to have a new UX with Windows Mobile, but still have the opportunity to revert back to WM for more advanced stuff.
The internet with Sprint is very fast. It’s not as fast as my home internet service, but it’s fast enough to use the phone as a modem and work off of it. As a matter of fact last night my internet went down and I used the Internet Sharing of the phone to get back online. Worked perfectly as a temp solution. I still need to test it on the road.
The camera is a 3.1 MP camera that takes pretty good pictures as long as there is enough light.
It runs off of Windows Mobile 6.1 and I can develop against the .NET Framework.
The hardware is fast enough to keep Windows Mobile 6.1 and TouchFlo3D going.
It has 4GB of internal memory, which is way ore than enough for me (I don’t listen to music).
The Not So Good
The TouchFlo3D needs a lot of work if it really wants to become the iPhone killer as they say. The touch sensitivity is not as good as the iPhone and if you don’t perform a touch action exactly how they meant it you end up doing something you didn’t intend. It happened to me at first and it happens to everyone that tries the phone for the first time.
The navigation buttons are too close together and although you think you’re pressing the back button the phone performs the right arrow (hidden to the right of the wheel) action.
Coming from the Treo family of phones, I’m used to having a physical keyboard, which the Diamond lacks. The Diamond uses a soft keyboard which you can switch between Phone Keypad, Compact QWERTY, Full QWERTY, and Keyboard. It also has Block Recognizer, Letter Recognizer and Transcriber. I use the Full QWERTY as I think provides big enough letters, one letter for each button. Using the right thumb I can get almost every key right, except for the left side keys (q, a, z). Every time I want to type “a” with the right thumb it presses the “s”. I have to use two hands: one to hold it and the other one to press the key perpendicular to the device. Or simple switch hands and use my left thumb. Also when the soft keyboard is on it covers most of the screen and sometimes you can’t see what you’re typing. I used to type much faster on my Treo.
The battery runs out pretty quick. I had to get rid of push mail and resynch every 4 hours to have a better battery life. I’m in front of the computer all day, so I don’t really need to get notified both on the phone and on the computer that I received email.
All in all, the Diamond by Sprint is an awesome phone which satisfied all my requirements and more. The only thing that is a killer is the soft keyboard. The Touch Pro (it’s the diamond with a hard keyboard) should come up Nov 2nd (hopefully) and I will give it a shot to see if I like it better and if I do I will pay the extra $50 for it. I used to think that Treo phones were awesome, but the truth is I never tried an HTC phone until now…