HTC Touch Cruise Review

Introduction and Design
The review unit was provided by Negri


HTC has wowed us recently with top of the line offerings such as the Diamond and Touch HD, and smartphones are penetrating the consumer market at impressive rates.  The reality is that not everyone can afford these high-end devices though, and HTC has the little guy in mind with its update to the Touch Cruise.  It features many of the things we loved from the Diamond, including a small form factor, responsive touchscreen and a plethora of connectivity options.  It may not be as pretty or polished, but with a focus on GPS services it holds its own where it matters: performance.  Included in the box you’ll find:

•    HTC Touch Cruise
•    AC power adapter with USB connector
•    USB data/charging cable
•    DC power adapter
•    Suction cup window mount with cradle
•    Stereo headphones
•    1GB microSD card
•    Carrying pouch
•    Screen protector
•    Extra stylus


The weight is the first thing you’ll notice when picking up the Touch Cruise.  At only 3.63oz it shaves nearly a full ounce off of the original and even a quarter ounce off of the lightweight GSM Diamond, all while packing a higher capacity battery.  While not quite as small as the Diamond, its dimensions are similar and the rounded backing gives it a better feel, arguably better than the CDMA Diamond that we proclaimed had the perfect feel.

You can compare the HTC Touch Cruise with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The basic layout of the phone follows the Touch family design style: there is a 2.8” touchscreen that dominates the front, and below that is a cluster of navigation controls.  In this case you’ll find four flush buttons arranged around a navigational pad encircled by a navi-wheel.  The keys are housed in silver and are, moving clockwise from top left: Navigation (Tom-Tom), Footprints (more on that later), End and Send.  The navi-wheel moves incredibly smoothly and is coated in rubber for a better feel.  It functions like the Diamond’s touch-sensitive d-pad, but being mechanical it produces much more consistent results.

The left side of the Cruise has a single, slender key that runs along the top third which functions as the volume rocker.  The only other key is the equally slender power key on the top.  The top housing is slightly concave, allowing a finger to easily rest in it when pressing the button.  HTC continues to impress us with subtle design elements such as this.  The right side is totally bare, and the bottom houses the miniUSB charging/data/headset port found on most recent HTC devices.  Most manufacturers have moved to the microUSB port by now, and it frustrates us that HTC has yet to follow suit.

The back battery door is nondescript.  The 3.2 megapixel camera sits at the top and is housed in elegant brushed aluminum housing, and there is a small speaker slit off to its right.  The stylus is tucked at the top left, when looking at the back.  The door is coated in the same bespeckled soft-touch finish found on the CDMA Diamond, this time in black with subtle silver flecks.

If it weren’t for the display, the Touch Cruise would probably cannibalize sales from the Diamond.  Unfortunately it is only a QVGA panel, and anyone who has used the higher VGA resolution would never go back.  Compared to other 240x320 displays the Cruise is just fine; it’s plenty bright and we had no problems reading it in various lighting conditions, but the crispness and quality just doesn’t compare to its big brother.  We’re sure it was a conscious decision on HTC’s part, but it’s a shame really because the Cruise has some features we’d have liked to see in the Diamond.

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