First Look: HTC Touch Cruise

cruise I had originally ordered this device back at the beginning of November.  What I found most intriguing when I was looking for a new device was that this device was small, light, and had a GPS on-board. I put in my pre-order and expected it to be in my doorstep the week before Christmas.

No such luck.

As product release dates slipped, so did my hope of getting my hands on this powerful little device.  About two weeks ago, the shipment date had again slipped to the end of February.  I decided it was time to cancel that order, and put in an order for what I considered to be the next best device: the S730. 

From my last post, you now know that I received that device.  The problem was, I received a shipping notice for “my shipment” last Friday.  When I clicked on the link, it took me to my original order, which was supposedly canceled.  The difference was it was on a UPS truck somewhere between here and Chicago.

I decided I would take my chances and give the Touch Cruise a try.  So, last night I received my package and proceeded to unbox this device.  What a surprise.  Smaller than I expected, almost smaller than the S730.  How could so much goodness be squeezed into such a small casing?

Well, to make a long story short, I took my S730 and put it on eBay tonight.  I definitely like the Touch Cruise and everything it has to offer.

So, what makes the Touch Cruise so much better than the S730?

Processor & Memory
Although both of these devices have the Qualcomm MSM 7200 400 MHz processor, it seems that something in the way the Touch Cruise is setup makes it noticeably faster.  The Touch Cruise does have 128 MB RAM compared the 64 MB RAM on the S730.

The lag issues that I experienced with the S730 are non-existent on the Touch Cruise.  I run a number of applications at once on the TC with no problems, while running 1 or 2 apps on the S730 yielded memory errors rather quickly.

Size
About the same size as the S730 without the extra thickness as a result of there not being a keyboard on the Touch Cruise.  This is something I thought I would miss, the the onscreen keyboard works decent enough to get around with, and I have found several free iPhone-like keyboard apps available for Windows Mobile online.

Battery Life
Considering what this device is capable of, I was rather impressed with the batter life.  I used the GPS for about 35 minutes this morning, used DirectPush all day long, took several phone calls and with all that, I still had 75% of the battery remaining at the end of the day.  The Touch Cruise ships with the 1,350 mAh battery, compared to the S730’s 1,050 mAh battery.

Applications
One of the nice applications that I found on the Touch Cruise was Opera, a web browser with the ability to do screen scaling and a bunch of other features.  You can buy it retail, but its kind of nice to see it included with this device as a competitor to Internet Explorer.

In addition, TomTom Navigator 6 is included.  No maps are bundled, but you get to download one free city map.  That’s kind of lame, but I guess it gives you enough of a taste to see if you want to buy the while map package for $150.  I am sticking with my ALK CoPilot Live 7.  CoPilot has some great features.  The only complaint I have is that the maps in my neighborhood are out of alignment, which is annoying when trying to navigate out of here.

Overall Impressions
Like I mentioned, I listed my S73 on eBay tonight.  I really have a lot of faith that the Touch Cruise will be my device for some time to come.  I’m getting used to not having a keyboard and going back to a touch screen, but it won’t be long till I don’t even realize that I don’t have them anymore.  The added GPS functionality is great and can be used for any GPS-aware app like Windows Live Search and Google Maps, both of which I have loaded on my Touch Cruise.