Review: HTC ChaCha

When we first got the ChaCha into the office, we thought it was a pretty snazzy little phone. It's BlackBerry-like, with Facebook integration that's even deeper than we've seen on Windows Phone 7.

NameSmartphone: HTC ChaCha
At a glance:5MP camera,480 x 320 pixel resolution,2.6-inch touchscreen,Runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Summary:An intuitive 'Facebook phone' for the teenager in your life.

When we first got the ChaCha into the office, we thought it was a pretty snazzy little phone. It’s BlackBerry-like, with Facebook integration that’s even deeper than we’ve seen on Windows Phone 7. The camera app and web browser both allow for quick sharing to Facebook just by pressing the branded blue button on the bottom, which is handy if you’re a big social media user.

But ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what we think of the ChaCha. Sure, its specs aren’t too bad for the price – it has an 800MHz processor and 512MB RAM – and it has a tactile keyboard for faster, more responsive typing. But we’re all adults here at PC World, so the ChaCha isn’t for us. The target market is 16- to 18-year-old girls, who have different day-to-day lives and different priorities. We asked the more appropriately-aged Esmé Putt to use the ChaCha for a few days and let us know what she thought.

Review: HTC ChaCha

At a first glance, the HTC ChaCha looks like a calculator run over by the supply truck on its way to the mall. In a world which is becoming more and more keen on dynamic curves and ergonomic appearances, this phone appears to have missed the mark. The phone rocks a number of curves – almost too subtle to be put there on purpose, but too pronounced to be an accident.

Appearances aside, the HTC ChaCha nails practicality. The combination of a touchscreen and keypad seems a little odd at first but, like marmite and honey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it because once you have, there is no turning back. The keypad is convenient and easy to use and is one of those magic keypads where no matter the size of your fingers, you still manage to hit the correct buttons. The touch screen makes accessing menu options quick and easy and you soon establish a subconscious workflow combining the two.

The real premise behind this phone is the Facebook functionality. The evidence to this is the Facebook button prominently placed at the bottom of the keypad that allows you to post updates conveniently on the go.

Another key feature is the widget on the home page which displays the latest update to your newsfeed. It’s handy and convenient but the downside is you can be stuck looking at a post you don’t like until somebody else posts a new one. The Facebook app is feature-rich, allowing you to do all the best things from the original site. And its chat feature is also a great tool; simulating a texting experience in all but one thing - it doesn’t cost twenty cents a post.

Overall the HTC ChaCha was a great phone to use. If only my calculator was this fun, friendly and convenient to use then maths would be so much more exciting.

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Esmé Putt

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