HTC ChaCha review

Body of a Blackberry, mind of an Android. Can the new 'Facebook phone' poke above its weight?

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The ChaCha runs Android's latest Gingerbread iteration, which is a welcome move. We couldn't hide our disappointment recently when we reviewed the far more advanced Motorola Atrix (also a big social networking device) and discovered that it ships with the older Froyo version.

We wouldn't have been too surprised to see Froyo on the ChaCha, since it's more entry-level, so it's a real credit to HTC that they've decided to make this as up-to-date as possible.

HTC chacha home screen

Do you smell a 'but' coming? Good - here it is. The HTC Sensation - the company's newest flagship device - ships with the very latest HTC Sense on it (3.0). So why is the ChaCha (which comes out after the Sensation) running the older version of Sense?

Curiously, the unlock screen of the ChaCha does include a nod toward Sense 3.0 in the form of a ring that you slide to unlock the screen - so one of the main things missing is the 3D spinning interface, which we assume is simply down to a lower amount of grunt under the hood.

HTC chacha unlock screen

Also, another thing that we noticed missing is the Quick Shortcuts tab that HTC introduced in its Gingerbread rollout to the Incredible S. On that device, when you pull down the notifications bar, there are options to quickly toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS etc. It's very handy and, yet, it's been left out of the ChaCha. We don't understand why.

Since the screen is smaller than what we're used to seeing on HTC devices, everything it reformatted. Icons are smaller, and on the homescreen they're at the side of the large clock, rather than below it. Facebook status updates are also present, thanks to a widget.

By the very nature of Android, all of this can be redrawn by the user and you can decide which icons /notifications/clocks etc (if any) you want and where.

Out of the box, the ChaCha gives you four homescreens to play with, which you swipe across with your fingers, though you can easily increase this number to seven. The capacitive touch screen is highly sensitive and we found no issues with lag or slowdown. - impressive for a skinned Android device with a sub-1Ghz processor.

HTC chacha home screens

Another feature that we've come to love from Android phones is the sharing options that are present. Unlike the iPhone, where 99% of tasks have to be done from within a specific app (even with the forthcoming iOS5), with the ChaCha, you can export files across apps seamlessly.

So, if you see some text on a webpage, highlight it and tap 'share', and every conceivable method and app you own that allows sharing will let you.

It means that you can transfer just-taken photos to Dropbox, send a song you're listening to to a mail contact or add a soundfile from AudioBoo to a tweet. It's easy to use and makes life incredibly easy.

HTC chacha share screen

Interestingly, with most Android phones we've tested, the user has been required to have a Google account to use the phone.

The ChaCha is different, though - when you first turn it on, you just have to log into Facebook and the phone will then start up. You're prompted to enter your Google details (and you'll need them in order to use, for example, the Android Market) but you're not forced to, which is jolly handy if you're never going to use that Google malarkey anyway.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time7.50 Hour
Product ModelChaCha
Screen Size6.6 cm (2.6")
Screen Resolution480 x 320
Weight (Approximate)120 g
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height114.4 mm
Width64.6 mm
Depth10.4 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time430 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameChaCha Smartphone
Processor Speed800 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99HND002-00
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Be the first with the news

HTC ChaCha has a Facebook button that lets you share just about anything with just one touch. Take a photo - straight to Facebook. Make a video - straight to Facebook. Show whatever, whenever, at the touch of a button.

Chat room with all your friends

Chat with all your friends on the world's biggest social networking site. HTC ChaCha's Facebook chat widget means you can group all your friends together, and see when anyone is online. Start a live instant chat, and juggle between as many private conversations as you want. The conversation never ends with HTC ChaCha.

Limited Warranty1 Year