New phone

Got a new toy – HTC Diamond. (T-Mobile MDA Compact IV). First impressions were a bit disappointing. But then in reality had perhaps over-high expectations, so overall, neutral.

No instruction manual! So I know everyone is trying to save every penny they can in production costs, but this is quite a complex bit of kit, and an expensive one too. For something of this price, relying on the user to print off their own copy from the CD is really not good enough.

Poor menu layout and navigation. On my older HTC phone, when I selected the battery icon, the battery meter appeared. On this new phone a sub-menu appears and from that you then get to the battery display. So many other things are now (unnecessarily) one or two menu-levels deeper than previously, and much harder to find.

Clear high resolution screen, shame it could not have been physically larger. (The button area below the screen could have been smaller and still perfectly workable.) Too often when swiping your finger across the screen to shift the display it thinks you want to actually select an icon. This is really annoying when trying to scroll through a long list of items, say your contact list. Sometimes this scrolling can be fast and continuous, but when you touch the screen wanting to stop the scrolling it will then immediately jump to the name that happened to be closest to your finger.

The phone is sensitive to whether you are holding it in Landscape or Portrait and the display switches accordingly, sometimes, depending on which program is running, and it can take a few seconds to switch by which time you’ve moved the phone back to its original position…. It can get confused if you have it lying flat on a desk.

The main ‘Settings’ display seems to be text only, scroll sideways to the ‘Programs’ display and that’s all icons. No consistency. You can select ‘All Programs’ which gives a list (mix of icons and names). As with the Contacts list, if you try to use your finger to scroll through the programs, it scrolls such that it runs through a whole mass of program selections, usually over-shooting the one you want. If you move your finger slowly to make it scroll slowly, then it decides you want to actually select all the programs you’ve moved your finger over and starts them! A bit crap.

I’ve been using the stylus rather than my finger more and more, which is rather against the whole idea of this sort of touch screen.

I’ve set the Mail to check a couple of my e-mail accounts every 15 minutes. It’s definitely not doing that. There’s often a couple of hours delay before it alerts me to the fact that there’s new mail there.

Mine has Google maps built in. I find this one of the more useful (and fun) things. Seems to work well. The Search found all the different post-codes I put into it. When searching by street name, then you need to do street name, town name, rather than just street name for it to work well. It has a ‘My Location’ function which tries to find your present location using the mobile phone signals. Not particularly accurate, but gets you to the general area.

I tried the Copilot sat-nav program. Very *Not Impressed*. It finds where I an with reasonable accuracy (but not as good as my Garmin Quest). However once I start walking around a small text display at the bottom of the screen updates, so I know the system’s working, but the main map display does not follow my movements. If I do something that forces the main screen to re-display, then the map updates, but not otherwise. The display options are crap too. It tries to make things too fancy (even in its 2-D mode). I’d much rather have a plain simple 2-D map, clutter-free, that moves with me and actually reflected where I was. This is NOT a substitute for even the most basic stand-alone sat-nav device. I can see its main use as a function to quickly flatten the battery – this I can see a use for as I’d much rather do a good lenghty charge on a flat battery than top-up a half charged one.

The camera seems O.K. (no flash) and the video also works O.K., assuming you just want basic ‘show your mates’ happy snaps. If you want nice pictures, buy a proper camera.

The FM radio’s useful, I’ve not played with the MP3 music side of things (yet).

It has the Opera browser built-in. That does work well, especially considering the small size of screen it’s got to work with. I see under All Programs, there is Internet Explorer. I don’t think I’m even going to bother to try it, more than happy to stick with Opera. The phone also does YouTube videos O.K.

If you’re going to use this phone even half-aggressively then you’ll be lucky to get a full day out of the battery. I may get a spare battery to carry with it, but to start with I will have to carry an old phone around with me so if it’s battery does fail I can shift the SIM into the other phone.

A phone for geeks – yes.

A phone for the general masses – no.

Will update as I get used to using it.

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