The Touch Cruise 2009 is a streamlined, slimmer version of the original Touch Cruise. Sporting a look that's similar to the HTC Touch 3G, it also comes with the updated TouchFlo interface.
The signature scroll-wheel navigation pad, which sits snugly in the center amongst the Call/End buttons, is retained. You'll notice that the two soft keys that resides above the Call/End buttons are now dedicated keys that brings you to the mapping software, or the newly added HTC Footprints feature (which we'll mention later).
For us, the Touch Cruise 2009's 2.8-inch QVGA screen is adequate for normal usage. Though the screen has grown, the device still fits into our palms snugly, with a robust feel.
The only oddity was the placement of the stylus at the top right instead of the now commonly used bottom right spot. We also had to dig in quite forcefully with our nails to remove the battery casing and to our dismay, extracting the SIM card requires you to push the SIM card out of the slot with the use of the stylus.
The Touch Cruise 2009 is now speedier with the updated Qualcomm MSM7225 528MHz processor and memory has been increased to 512MB ROM and 256MB RAM. Staying true to its GPS roots, the Touch Cruise 2009 comes with the new HTC Footprints tab for geo-tagging and the bundled Papago mapping software on the 1GB microSD card provided.
HTC Footprints, integrated as a tab within the plethora of programs on the TouchFlo interface, gives easy access to the geo-tagging function. By pressing the Footprint icon or navigating to the Footprint tab, all you'll need to do is capture an image. With an active GPS signal locked on, the coordinates are tagged onto the image file's metadata automatically.
To make it more personal, we won't see the standard numerical file naming convention for the images. Each image is named according to the road name where it was taken with the help of its GPS feature.
Hooking the device onto the bundled car cradle switches you to the NaviPanel which grants you shortcuts to the necessary GPS functions. Satellite lock was a bit slower than what we're used to, though the lackluster weather during our testing probably didn't help any.
The Papago mapping software wasn't as intuitive as we hoped for. To complicate matters, there were times when we followed through with its recommendations and realized that the route wasn't optimal.
Battery stamina was not an issue with the car charger thrown in for constant charging. Nonetheless, we still went ahead with our battery test to gauge its mobile performance and got 2 hours and 34 minutes from its 1100mAh battery. When it comes to standard usage, it did live up to more than a day and a half with the sporadic usage of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HSDPA and occasional calls and messaging.
Do we love the faster speed from the Touch Cruise 2009's upgraded Qualcomm processor and fatter memory size? Yes, we do, not to mention that this comes despite being slimmer than its predecessor.
Unfortunately, it was let down by the decision to include a mediocre navigation software that's unlikely to be preferred over more popular ones like MapKing. For all its flaws, we have to applaud HTC for the Touch Cruise 2009's introductory price point of S$858 in difficult times like these.