HTC has made its first revelation of the year with the HTC Touch Cruise, a full fledged mobile device that packs quite a punch in its connectivity, functionality and performance genre surpassing that of its earlier siblings, the Touch and Touch Dual, and on par with its cousin, the TyTN II.
The Touch Cruise, as one might have surmised, exudes an image of speed and sophistication. Sporting a fully flushed 2.8-inch display for easier navigation with its TouchFlo interface, the Touch Cruise fits in your hands comfortably with a simple, yet elegant form factor. Encased in an overall black matted body, the dashes of metallic silver on its navigation pad and its sides gives the Touch Cruise a futuristic feel to it.
An interesting point to note is its five-directional navigation pad, integrated with a full rotay wheel for scrolling purposes, allowing you to cruise through your applications with the flick of the roller, thus sticking it with the Cruise moniker. Other than the standard Call and End button, two other softkeys are located just below, acting as dedicated shortcuts to your favorite applications.
Akin to its earlier siblings, the Touch Cruise will be a Windows Mobile 6 Professional device, and comes with HTC's propriety elegant HTC interface. Running the show on the Touch Cruise is a Qualcomm MSM7200 400MHz processor, coupled with 256MB and 128MB of ROM and RAM respectively. Simple applications suffer no obvious lag, though you'll be forewarned not to overload it with too much multi-tasking and open applications.
Connections specifications include Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, HSDPA support and also built-in GPS for the traveler in you. If all this sounds familiar, you're right. The Touch Cruise has the power of the TyTN II, sans its QWERTY keypad, which makes it thinner at 15.5mm and lighter at 130g than the TyTN II. With moderate usage of its Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth capabilities, the Touch Cruise lasted nearly 2 whole days on a full charge, which is in close contention to the TyTN II.
The built-in camera feature on the Touch Cruise has also gotten an upgrade to a 3.0-megapixel camera. With its newly acquired auto-focus capabilities, the image quality of the Touch Cruise turned out decent. However, the flushed camera button on the side is a little hard to operate and without an LED flash, low-light shots are still not a strong point.
The Touch Cruise follows its predecessor's direction of having a single USB port to cater to all connectivity functions such as synchronization, power and even audio. Of course, alternatives do exist with Bluetooth A2DP support, but you'll still be relying on its propriety USB audio cable for its FM radio application.
In short, the Touch Cruise is a phone that should be well loved by those who wished for a TyTN II, minus the bulk. Setting itself ready for an early February launch, the Touch Cruise comes with a pleasing aesthetic design, an innovative navigational experience, and a reasonable pricing of S$1,198 (without contract).