So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
HTC Touch Cruise
- HSDPA-capable, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, navigational pad and scroll wheel, TouchFLO interface
- Slightly bulky design, below average display
The Touch Cruise may not be the best looking smartphone on the market, but it has an excellent features list, headed by built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and HTC's TouchFLO interface.
Price$ 1,149.00 (AUD)
The first HTC Touch device to come equipped with built-in GPS, the Touch Cruise features a similar feature set to the TyTN II, minus the slide out keyboard. The Cruise boasts HSDPA-connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3-megapixel camera with autofocus and a 2.8in display.
Aesthetically, this is a smaller device than the TyTN II, but it's still quite large for a smartphone without a keyboard. It's not the most attractive of devices we've seen, but the chrome surrounding the display and sides gives it a nice touch. Below the screen is a five-way navigational pad that doubles as a scroll wheel – it's quite convenient for scrolling through long lists. The most disappointing aspect of the Touch Cruise is its display. It's a standard VGA screen which doesn't do the TouchFLO interface justice.
The Cruise is quite easy to use. Though it's a standard Windows Mobile 6 device, HTC's TouchFLO interface means you won't have to use the stylus as often as usual. It allows quick access to functions like favourite contacts, weather, an application launcher and sound profiles. Unfortunately, the finger panning and scrolling feature, used to scroll through long lists and documents by sliding your finger up and down the screen, is a mixed bag and does take a while to grasp. We found it is often a hit and miss affair, sometimes requiring a firm and uncomfortable press on the display to activate.
The Touch Cruise comes with a built-in GPS receiver and ships with the latest CoPilot Live 7 software, containing Australian maps. The Cruise managed to maintain a relatively stable signal throughout our journey, though it did tend to drop out at various points where there was not a clear view of the sky. You can read more about CoPilot Live 7 in our stand-alone review. The great aspect of a mobile device is its flexibility – as it runs Windows Mobile, you can purchase and install any number of mobile GPS applications on the unit should you wish.
The Touch Cruise features Office Mobile, consisting of mobile versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications. There is also Windows Live, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player programs. Both the built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and HSDPA-connectivity mean the Cruise is a solid e-mail device. Connectivity comes in the form of Bluetooth 2.0 (with support for A2DP) and USB 2.0. Unfortunately, the media support is let-down by a mini-USB headphone jack instead of the standard 3.5mm jack. The included headphones are average, but you'll need them to us the FM radio.
A 3-megapixel camera with autofocus takes reasonable, but not outstanding photos. The lack of flash means night-time photography is out of the question. A front mounted VGA camera handles video calling. Users can save their images on the Touch Cruise's 256MB of internal memory, or the included 512MB microSD card.
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