HTC Touch Cruise review: Happy cruising

GSMArena team, 04 February 2008.
Pages: 123456

GPS navigation

The HTC Touch Cruise gets its name from the built-in GPS and navigation software. It goes without saying that the handset also supports Assisted GPS. It uses the QuickGPS application that comes preinstalled to download initial positioning data, which the GPS receiver can later use for quicker acquisition of satellite lock. The integrated Qualcomm gpsOne chipset is not as efficient as the SIRFStar III-based receivers we've used, but it's still good enough and perfectly adequate to cope with the most common tasks.

HSDPA makes map downloading a matter of only seconds, so there is no chance you will end up in uncharted territory. The Touch Cruise offers TomTom navigation software prebundled and one free map to go with it. Additional maps you will have to purchase separately.

You can also choose alternative navigation software. We installed iGo and Google Maps and they both worked like a charm. In GPS mode, the battery of the HTC Touch Cruise lasted about 3.5 hours of continuous use.

Organizer does it

Windows Mobile offers several time-management features and, as we already mentioned, all easy to synchronize with MS Outlook. The Calendar is improved in comparison to the one used in Windows Mobile 5, as now it allows searching for events to come. It offers daily, weekly and monthly and yearly views and you can have the week start on either Monday or Sunday. You can also hide weekends form the Calendar if you use the device for business purposes only.

HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise
Four different view modes are available for the calendar in HTC Touch Cruise

The To-Do list allows you to add tasks and assign them priority. The Notes also come in handy, as you can either type or directly write the text down on the screen. There is also a voice recorder that can be easily started by pressing and holding the dedicated key.

The Alarm clock has three alarm slots. Each Alarm can have its own repeat pattern. As a frequently used feature, Microsoft should have put more effort into making the alarm clock better. Instead, it's hardly accessible, buried deep down in the Settings menu and not very user friendly. As a whole, this is probably the department where we felt installing a third party application is a must. There really are some better solutions than the Microsoft offer.

HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise
Setting up an alarm on the Touch Cruise - you will probably want to replace the default application with a third party product

Alongside, you will also find the dual-zone clock. The Calculator is another well-known application (with one of the worst designs ever).

HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise
The Clock in two time zones The unseemly calculator

The other interesting applications that come with the HTC Touch Cruise are the Office Mobile, ZIP manager, the Windows Live service and the Search application. The Office Mobile features support for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint office files, while the ZIP manager adds support for archived files. The big absence here is the PDF reader, which you will need to install yourselves if you are to use it.

HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise
Excel, Word and ZIP files are easily handled by Windows Mobile devices

The WorldCard Mobile is a business card scanning application preinstalled for you by HTC. It uses the camera to capture the business card and then does its character-recognition trickery to eventually return all contact details on the card ready for saving. Well, this type of applications is not news anymore and as a matter of fact the one on the Touch Cruise is not nearly the most reliable around. The one saw on the Samsung U600 easily outperforms it.

The Search application is rather useful, as it searches throughout the whole file system and applications. You can set filters, so that the application searches only in places you need.

HTC Touch Cruise
The search application checks every bit of data on your PocketPC

Windows Mobile 6 integrates Windows Live, which replaces the MSN search and messenger, which we know from previous versions. You can also download the application Live Search for free, that works great with or without the integrated GPS receiver. With it you can find information on local businesses, restaurants, places of interest and even gas prices (the service is currently available only to US and UK). It has nice support for speaker-independent voice recognition that you can use to do your searches.

Games are well known

A Windows Mobile device is a rather versatile gaming platform thanks to the widely-available third-party developed games. Beside Java you also get the games developed natively for Windows Mobile. There is an enormous number of games you can download for you HTC Touch Cruise. These can be played with either the stylus or the keys, or even you finger.

However if you rely on the content you get right out of the box, you will have to make do with only the default Windows Mobile games: Bubble Breaker and Solitaire. Neither is much of an offer really.

HTC Touch Cruise HTC Touch Cruise
The two default Windows Mobile games: Bubble Breaker and Solitaire

Final words

HTC Touch Cruise will find quite a number of fans, offering a load of features matched by compact size and stand-out styling. Besides, the touchscreen experience is only second to Apple iPhone, which is a good enough premise for some serious market success. The well performing GPS receiver and the good battery life will also attract users who like to travel a lot. The display issues and the photo imaging shortfalls are of course to be reckoned with, but they don't seem make-or-break in the Pocket PC niche.

"...HTC Touch Cruise will find quite a number of fans, offering a load of features matched by compact size and stand-out styling. Besides, the touchscreen experience is only second to Apple iPhone, which is a good enough premise for some serious market success..."

HTC Touch Cruise is probably one of the most pleasant to work with Windows Mobile devices ever. The enhanced TouchFLO does make a difference, the friendly feel and stylish exterior undoubted strong points too. The Touch Cruise joins the TyTN II as the HTC portfolio headliners and the two feature-packed performers basically raise a fundamental question: hardware keyboard or not. The slightly more expensive TyTN comes with full QWERTY keyboard and tri-band HSDPA. So basically it all boils down to picking your priorities.

Pages: 123456