HTC ChaCha Review
- Excellent QWERTY keypad and angled design makes typing more comfortable
- Well built
- Battery life is a disappointment
- Facebook button doesn't do much
A touchscreen with a QWERTY keypad - the HTC ChaCha certainly tries to cover all possible angles, but does the inclusion of multiple input methods guarantee a good device? A good looking and nice phone for an Android lover looking for a good keypad, beware of the paltry battery though. If you aren't a member of the "Droid or naught" regime, the Nokia E6 will serve just as well for around the same price.
A true middleman, the HTC ChaCha sits right between the Samsung Galaxy Pro on the lower-end and the HTC Desire Z at the top. It’s a QWERTY + touchscreen – a combination that was once rare. However, whether manufacturers are really ensuring equal attention to usability of both touch and keypad-based functions is something we’re skeptical about.
Look & Feel
Straight off, the looks of the phone will catch your attention. While there is nothing very different, there are these subtle things that make a difference. The slight curve makes typing a lot more comfortable. The display and keypad are slightly curved towards each other, giving the phone a gentle curve reminiscent of a slightly curved boomerang. The little “F” button below the keypad lets you post on Facebook with just one click, without heading into the app or the web browser, we suppose social networking diehards would lament the lack of a Twitter and Google + key, but really this inclusion is not really needed, though pleasant.
The build quality is generally good, even though it is mostly plastic. While the battery cover is a bit of a pain to open, the overall build of the phone belies the price. The phone sits well in the hand, and the slight curve inwards does help quite a bit. The review unit we received has a combination of white and silver colour. While it looks classy, we do have an issue with it getting dirty, no matter how hard you try otherwise.
The 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen is paired well with a full-fledged QWERTY keypad. The display has a resolution of 480x320 pixels. Below the display is the touch panel with the Home, Menu, Return and Search keys. We are sure you want to know more about what the dedicated Facebook button does. Well, to be honest, we were quite excited about that too. However, it turns out to be a bit of a disappointment. The button takes you to the “post an update’ box, and that’s it. To get the updates on the timeline, comment on others’ posts etc., you still need to head off to the full Facebook app. Weirdly, while this Facebook app has the Chat feature integrated, HTC insisted on installing a separate FB Chat app, and subsequently add to the clutter. Full marks to HTC for installing the latest OS though- Android 2.3. It is indeed a confusing sight to see phones still being launched with Android 2.2. In the past, the HTC Sense was given as the reason why the latest OS wasn’t adopted and updates were delayed. But not anymore, and the development of the Sense UI has improved both in terms of timing as well as performance.
An HTC phone without the Sense UI is as impossible as pigs flying! The UI has been updated specifically for this particular display, and yet manages to fit in almost all the elements (design, widgets etc.) into the new version.
Read more about the HTC ChaCha, its performance and our verdict, on the next page...