I got a new phone yesterday. I’m still learning the ropes, but I think I’ll be happy with my sexy little Touch Diamond.

Renewing my contract with Bell was a bit of a nightmare. Their initial offer to existing subscribers like me is significantly worse than what they offer to new customers. For instance, if I’d just gone through the normal route, I’d have had to pay $350 for the phone. However, since I talked to their telemarketing/retention department for about an hour, I got the phone for $99. Glad to see they value their customers enough to make them go through hell to be treated like utter strangers. Also, the telemarketing guy basically promised me the world for about $50/month. Unlimited Internet, tons of minutes, lots of extras. However, when I got to the Bell store to pick up my phone, I was told that plan doesn’t even work with my phone. Great. Anyway, the lovely lady at the Bell store went to bat for me, calling the telemarketing centre to ream them out and get me a similar deal on another plan, including free call display for the next three years. If you ask me, it’s ridiculous that the phone companies are charging for call display when it’s something that used to be free on every cell phone, and probably costs them extra to filter out of your calls. That all being said, I got the phone for a fair price, and the contract is decent too.

Here are my initial impressions of the phone.

Things I like

  • It’s tiny and shiny.
  • The HTC TouchFlo 3D interface is hot. No two ways about it, those animations for viewing photos and weather look great.
  • The voice recognition works well.
  • It hooked up to my Bluetooth headphones/headset immediately without any messing around with codes.
  • The Opera browser built-in makes browsing the web pretty easy and natural.
  • The screen is fantastic. It’s 2.8″ with 640×480 resolution, so everything looks smooth and bright. I can easily use this is a pocket photo portfolio.
  • It came with a little screen protector sticker thing. Too bad I realized it only after I’d managed to scratch the screen a bit. Oops.
  • It’s Windows Mobile so it works with all the programs that I’ve been using in my last five years of owning Windows Mobile/PocketPC devices

Things I don’t like

  • Bell had slapped on their own interface instead of the one that comes with the Diamond. It’s just loaded with advertising, and is not nearly as attractive. I ditched it as soon as I figured out how.
  • The phone is absolutely bursting with bloatware, which has the sole purpose of selling additional crap for Bell. Everything you click on seems to bring up a message saying that for an additional $8/month, you can get access to more stuff you don’t need. That’s not so bad, because I can ignore it, but it was taking up so much of the phone’s memory that there wasn’t any room to install my own programs on it, like my ebook reader.
  • It uses a special weird USB cable to connect to the computer and also to charge. The AC adapter is a wall plug with a socket for plugging this special weird USB cable into. So, if you want to use the AC adapter, you have to unplug the special weird USB cable from your computer and plug it into the AC adapter instead. This is something I’d do a lot, since charging the phone from the computer takes all day, and charging from the AC adapter takes about 2 hours. The first thing I did this morning was go on eBay and buy a couple of spare weird USB cables for $1 each, plus $10 shipping. Come on, Bell. I’d pay $111 for this phone so I didn’t have to buy the special weird USB cables on eBay.
  • I’m stuck with Bell for another three years. I don’t really trust Bell, being that Bell has tried numerous times in the past to screw with me (possibly intentionally or unintentionally… it all feels the same). I always feel like I need to be on guard to make sure I’m not getting ripped off when dealing with them.
  • I don’t really understand how to use the media player yet. I guess I’ll figure it out eventually.

Anyway, if I think of anything else, I’ll write more about it later.