HTC ChaCha Review

By on October 8, 2011
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Chacha your way to Facebook.

Good: Excellent build quality and keypad; SenseUI and Facebook integration work well with this phone
Bad: Hard to remove battery cover, average screen quality, microSD is not hot-swappable. Out dated SenseUI compared to other HTC phones sold today.
Price: AED 950
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

HTC is well known for their touchscreen phones and rather quirky names for them. Having built a decent reputation as a phone manufacturer with excellent quality control, HTC has become the rising star of the mobile industry. From rags to riches, well not really, HTC has benefited from Google’s Android operating system and their SenseUI has added some welcomed spice to the mix. Now HTC has made something different, the ChaCha.

The ChaCha’s design is rather elegant and looks strikingly similar to the HTC Hero with its brushed metal, white color and curved body. It has been a while since HTC released a phone with a “chin” and whether by coincidence or design, it works really well here. When holding the ChaCha, thanks to its curved back, the screen is tilted towards you for better viewing while the back of the phone feels ergonomically sound as you hold the phone with both hands and use your thumbs to type and touch.

The build quality is excellent and feels solid with no flexing or creaking parts. The ChaCha’s QWERTY keypad is pleasant to use- the keys are separated so they don’t feel cramped or huddled together and feel great to touch and depress thanks to their rubberized texture.  There is a learning curve to getting used to them but thanks to their design the curve is short. The space button is quite small and you may on occasion press the shift button when you want the function button under it but otherwise it is an easy phone to get used to in that regard. HTC has also included call and reject buttons which is a rare thing to find on their phones lately.

Weighing in at 124g, it’s definitely not the lightest of phones and measuring at 114.4mm x 64.6mm x 10.7mm, it’s also not the thinnest. An 800mhz Qualcomm processor powers the ChaCha and while it may seem rather underpowered with all the dual core processors in the higher end phones, for the most part the processor does not seem to have slowed the ChaCha down by any noticeable measure.

The phone has a myriad of connectivity options that equal that of a modern high end smartphone. It has Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, HSPDA, Bluetooth 3.0 as well as tethering options, VPN connectivity and the Wi-Fi hotspot feature that allows laptops and other Wi-Fi devices to use the phone’s mobile internet. Connect the phone to your computer via microUSB and use its Wi-Fi and internet connection. These are all standard options that Android readily provides to phones that have the right specifications and the HTC ChaCha may appear to be a cheap smartphone in comparison to many of the company’s other products but HTC have made sure to include every possible option available.

Underneath the screen are Android’s dedicated Home, Menu, Back and Search buttons, also capacitive. The ChaCha comes with a VGA camera on the front just above the screen to the right and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash in the back. A tiny speaker is also included in the back next to the camera and besides the etched HTC logo at the back that is it.  On the left there’s a single volume button for both up and down and the microUSB connector, nothing on the right.  The 3.5mm earphone jack is on the top next to the power/lock button while on the bottom you have a tiny hole for the microphone.

The sim card and microSD slots are under the battery so you have to not only remove the battery cover but the battery as well to change either one. Although I have praised HTC for the build quality on this phone, they have gone overboard with the cover. It is extremely frustrating to remove to the point that you have many people complaining about it online. You have to apply a good deal of pressure to slide it out but have to be careful not apply too much pressure to not crack the touchscreen. Considering this phone is targeted towards teenagers, I don’t think it was wise of HTC to have made the cover so difficult to remove. Once you have opened it a few times you get used to it but it’s still a pain and may be a turnoff for some.

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  • Mustafa Alzarouni

    intuitive, simple, easy to use device.

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