The HTC ChaCha is an Android phone from HTC that comes with a portrait keyboard. Android is being dominated by touchscreen phones and those wanting physical keyboard are left with a few and expensive options so it’s nice of HTC to add one their own in the mid-range level.
Well I said most of the quirky design highlights of this phone already so let me give you a quick run through instead. Similar to other HTC phones, the materials used here doesn’t look and feel cheap at all.
The front of the phone has a 2.6-inch multi-touch Gorilla Glass display with some dedicated touch panels for the Android buttons: Home, Menu, Back and Search. Above it is the speaker and a front-facing VGA camera. Directly below the glass display are the buttons for Call and Cancel.
Due to the small screen size, widgets should be carefully picked. There’s only 7 home screens available with limited space. Much of the usual apps like messaging, calls, mail, etc. have their standard buttons displayed on the right side. It is also cumbersome at times to view news feeds or pages when there’s a lot of scrolling to be done. Some apps that doesn’t have support for landscape mode are displayed in portrait mode so you have to turn the phone sideways to view.
HTC ChaCha Specs:
800 MHz, Qualcomm Adreno 200 GPU
2.6″ multi-touch Gorilla Glass display with 480 x 320 resolution
RAM: 512MB, ROM: 512MB
microSD, up to 32GB
HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 384 Kbps
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
VGA front cam
1250 mAh Li-On battery
Aside from music, the ChaCha is not really a device made for multimedia due to its small screen. As such, HTC did not concentrate on that. DivX/XviD playing is not supported. Huge 720p MP4 files too. You need to downconvert your videos to an MP4 format with a lower resolution in order to play it with the ChaCha. Although you can play games on it, some that requires portrait handling like Ninjump feels kinda awkward to play on a landscape type display. I tried playing Plants vs Zombies and the performance on the ChaCha was good. No lag during gameplay at all.
The HTC ChaCha has a 5 megapixel camera with flash to take poor to decent mobile upload quality photos. A 5-megapixel camera is above the norm when it comes to mid-range phones mind you. There’s no dedicated shutter button but the onscreen button can be easily accessed by your thumb unless you want to shoot in portrait mode where you need to use two hands.
The keys on the keyboard are small but nicely spaced. It took me a couple of days to get the hang of it though. I often get the Delete and Enter key mixed up and also the A and S keys. It’s nice that they added the arrow keys here making it easy to navigate within your message.
First of all, the HTC ChaCha is not a phone for everyone. If you want a phone with a front QWERTY keypad, there are only a few choices and ChaCha is one if not the best choice out there, unless you have big fingers. If you’re a heavy Facebook user and you want to update your status or chat (not video mind you) with your FB friends quickly, the ChaCha is definitely for you.
It does not go without any flaws though. One is that if you’re a stickler for every transition to be buttery smooth or every app to launch at a snap then you may get miffed with the ChaCha. Then there’s the issue with the battery which is good for a low-end device, but for a phone that wants to be connected most of the time, it may be a bit lacking. The nuances caused by a small screen should also be anticipated like when reading through long e-mails, scrolling down FB statuses or browsing websites.
What you’ll get with the HTC ChaCha is one finely-crafted, beautiful phone that doesn’t need to be coddled too much to avoid getting damaged. You will also get the latest Android OS on an above average processor and finally there’s the value added service you can get with HTC Sense.com. Oh did we already mention that it’s the only Android phone made for easy social networking?