HTC ChaCha review

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

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HTC chacha camera

The ChaCha comes with two cameras - a fairly nondescript VGA on the front and a much better 5MP job around the back.

It's not a bad camera - but it's not wonderful. We'd put it in the category of "gets the job done." Pictures come out alright and are fine for a quick Facebook post or MMS. This being a Facebook phone, the likelihood is that most photos will simply be sent over social networking anyway and therefore, it doesn't really matter.

The irony is that the pictures look pretty bad when you view them on the ChaCha's screen. Yet when uploaded to a computer, they're much, much better. We actually thought a lot of our photographs were blurred and dull-looking when we viewed them on the phone, but they were sharp as a pin on the computer screen.

The other issue we had is that there is virtually no visibility in direct sunlight. Taking photographs as you lie on a beach in the Mediterranean is something you won't be doing with the ChaCha.

On the plus side, starting the camera from cold is speedy and you're looking through the viewfinder in less than a second, which is a good attribute to have. We've lost count of the amount of times we've missed the moment whilst waiting upwards of three seconds for an iPhone to get going and open the camera lens up.

Once in, you've got four options - switch cameras, switch to camcorder mode, flash on/off and gallery. These are displayed as thumbnails at the side of the screen.

Beyond that, hit the options button and you're presented with a wealth of options including self-timer, various fun effects, image adjustments, ISO levels etc. There really are lots to pick from -possibly too many considering the ChaCha is not a phone for budding Lord Lichfields but hats off to HTC for at least giving us the choice.

HTC chacha camera effects

The camera has autofocus, but it gave us mixed results. It makes plenty of cute noises like a real camera, but when taking a picture we found that we had to consciously tap to focus the portion of the picture we were after in the majority of cases or we were left with a slight blur.

HTC chacha autofocus

Shutter speed is not so great. At times, we expected to get an extremely awful picture, but actually got something that worked. At least on the screen. When sent to a computer, the photo looked a lot worse.


The camera performed well in good light, colours were reproduced well and, as mentioned, there are plenty of options to change the levels should you want more.

In dimmer light, the camera was adequate, but the LED flash comes in handy and you can set this to automatic. In pitch-black conditions, it managed to bathe the subjects in enough light to do the job well.

In low light conditions, the pictures looked great with the flash on but pretty awful without. The camera also struggled if we were in a room with a lot of light coming in through the window - picking up the light but making the rest of the room look incredibly dark.

HTC chacha camera image 1

Taken in good light with a window behind us. No problems with colour reproduction.

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HTC chacha camera image 2

We actually expected this photograph to look awful when sent to the computer because it looked so dim on the screen and quite blurred - yet surprisingly, the orchid came out clear.

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HTC chacha camera image 3

Similarly, the iPhone looked very dim and blurred on the ChaCha's screen. Not so when sent to our computer.

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HTC chacha camera image 4

HTC chacha camera image 5

These two photographs were taken as we moved the camera across the room in a sweeping motion to check the shutter speed. Unsurprisingly, they came out rather blurry.

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Click here to see the full-size image

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HTC chacha camera image 7

Close up subjects in direct light fared well on the ChaCha's camera.

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HTC chacha camera image 8

Macro shots in good sunlight didn't do too well with the autofocus. This image looks more like something you'd expect to see on a 2005 camera phone, not a 2011 model.

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HTC chacha camera image 9

HTC chacha camera image 10

We took this picture in low light and the LED flash managed to perform brilliantly. However, when we turned the flash off and took the same picture in the low, natural light results were not so pleasant.

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Click here to see the full-size image

HTC chacha camera image 11

The kitchen was actually really, really bright. However, the ChaCha struggled to work out what was happening with the sun pouring in through the window and just made it look bleak.

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HTC chacha camera image 12

This wasn't so much of a problem when we actually went outside, though.

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HTC chacha camera image 13

In artificial light, the Macro mode seemed to kick in and text was easily shootable with fairly good results.

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HTC chacha camera image 14

Outside, we cranked up the zoom and shot off into the distance. The result was surprisingly good - we could barely see this roof with the naked eye.

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HTC chacha camera image 16

HTC chacha camera image 17

These photographs were taken in pitch black conditions but you'll need to keep a steady hand if you're doing the same to avoid blur.

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Click here to see the full-size image

Of course, the benefit of Android is the Market, and there are dozens of camera tweaking apps that you can take advantage of to crank up exposure or modify your photos if you feel that the HTC offerings (of which there are many) aren't enough.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen, QWERTY
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
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
ColourSilver
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 Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
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