HTC ChaCha Android phone
HTC ChaCha review: The ChaCha's dedicated Facebook button allows easy access to the social networking service
- Smart Facebook integration
- Excellent design and keyboard
- Smooth and polished software
- Small and cramped screen
- Mediocre Web browsing experience
- Vodafone exclusive
The HTC ChaCha offers smart integration with Facebook and also possesses an excellent physical keyboard. Its small screen will frustrate users keen on mobile Web browsing, but if you can live with these drawbacks, the ChaCha is very good value for money.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
If you're a heavy Facebook user, and you're looking for an affordable smartphone, HTC claims it has the answer for you. The HTC ChaCha combines a full QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen with a dedicated Facebook button that allows easy integration with the world's most popular social networking service. Although the keyboard is a winner and the Vodafone-exclusive ChaCha is good value at this price, its small screen will frustrate those keen on Web browsing.
HTC ChaCha: Design and display
The HTC ChaCha combines a full QWERTY keyboard along with a 2.6in capacitive touch screen. The ChaCha's design is definitely a head turner, and its form factor sets it apart from most other Android phones on the market. The highlight is a full QWERTY keyboard, and a curved design that slopes to fit the side of your face. The "chin" design may not be to all tastes, but we think it's both unique and practical, as the keyboard tilts towards you when you're looking directly at the screen.
The HTC ChaCha is a well built phone given its low-end market position. It uses HTC's unibody aluminium design, which is more commonly found on higher end smartphones like the Desire HD, and the Sensation. We particularly love the feel of the power/lock button and side mounted volume controls, and the phone appears to be well constructed without being too heavy or large. The battery cover is a little difficult to slide off, but does not creak or rattle when pressed.
The HTC ChaCha's keyboard is simply superb for a phone in this price range. While it can't hold a candle to the famous BlackBerry keyboard, the ChaCha is comfortable and speedy to type on. The keys are well spaced and slightly raised, and tactility is excellent. The trade off here is a touchscreen that is just 2.6in in diameter. Thankfully, HTC has tailored the ChaCha's interface to suit the smaller sized screen. Viewing angles are adequate, and the quality of the screen itself is fine considering the price. However, there are times when the ChaCha's screen simply feels too cramped.
HTC ChaCha: Facebook button
The HTC ChaCha's Facebook button is located below the keyboard on the bottom edge of the phone. It works contextually and lights up whenever you can share multimedia content or status updates through the social networking service. For example, after a photo is taken with the HTC ChaCha's camera, you can simply push the Facebook button to automatically upload the image (it also works as a camera shutter key), while in the music app you can press it to share the name of the song you're listening to through Facebook. You can also press and hold the button to automatically check in through the Facebook Places feature, or simply press it once to update your Facebook status.
In addition to the Facebook button, the HTC ChaCha also has Facebook integration built into the user interface. You can view a friend's latest Facebook status and photos on the dialler when you make a call, and when you receive calls. The ChaCha also has a dedicated Facebook chat widget, which is part of HTC's Sense user interface. Though these features work well enough, they aren't really deal clinchers — aside from the dedicated Facebook chat widget, most of these features are available on many other HTC Android smartphones.
HTC ChaCha: Software and performance
The HTC ChaCha runs the latest version of Android, 2.3 "Gingerbread" and also features HTC's Sense UI overlay. It remains similar to most other HTC Android phones, though the Sense UI has been tailored to suit the ChaCha's smaller screen. Most of the menu buttons have been moved to the right of the screen instead of the bottom, while the main home screen has shortcuts to the app drawer and personalise, though these can't be edited or removed. The limited screen size means text is small and there are times where the interface feels very cramped. However, given the excellent physical keyboard, it's a trade-off that many users will be happy to live with.
Perhaps the best feature of HTC Sense on the ChaCha is the new lock screen, which has been borrowed directly from the HTC Sensation. The ChaCha's lock screen comes with four customisable shortcuts that can be dragged into the 'unlock ring' to unlock straight into an assigned app. The lock screen also displays missed calls, e-mail, and SMS notifications (and album art when you are playing music). Annoyingly, you can't directly unlock straight into these apps unless you have them set as a lock screen shortcut. Sadly, the smaller screen has resulted in some cutbacks: the eight most recently opened applications and quick setting toggles are no longer in the notifications panel.
With an 800MHz processor and a respectable 512MB RAM, the HTC ChaCha has very reasonable specifications for a phone in this price range. This also translates to a smooth user experience: the ChaCha's speed won't dazzle you, but we did not experience any lag or slowdown during everyday use. One aspect that won't blow you away is Web browsing; the small screen of the ChaCha makes this a painful and cramped experience. The arrow keys on the QWERTY keyboard make moving around the page a little easier to deal with, but if you're looking for a phone that offers a superb Web browsing experience, the HTC ChaCha is definitely not for you.
HTC ChaCha: Camera, battery life and other features
The HTC ChaCha has a 5-megapixel camera with a single LED flash, and there is also a front-facing, VGA camera for video calls. The rear camera also doubles as a standard-definition video recorder. The flash works reasonably well in dim lighting, though video recording quality is below average. We love the fact that you can use the external volume controls as zoom keys, along with the Facebook key doubling as a shutter button.
The HTC ChaCha has 512MB of internal memory, but comes with a microSD card slot, and there is a 2GB card in the sales package.
Battery life on the HTC ChaCha is above average for an Android phone: it will easily last a full day, and this will more than often stretch to almost two days depending on use. On average, we managed to squeeze a day and a half out of the ChaCha with moderate use. The smaller screen is the most likely reason for the extra battery life, as the display on most Android phones is the main cause of battery drain.
The HTC ChaCha is available exclusively through Vodafone in Australia. It can be purchased for $0 upfront on Vodafone's $29 cap over 24 months, or for $0 upfront on the $45 infinite plan over 24 months. Alternatively, the HTC ChaCha is available as a pre-paid handset for $299, though it comes locked to the Vodafone network.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Sport AT
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Smart Security Premium
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Tivoli PAL BT
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
There are countless trends competing for attention in the gaming notebook and laptop space but not all of them are either useful or benefit the core gaming experience.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Tab S4 review: Freestyle
- 2 Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
- 3 Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review: Safety first
- 4 Oppo R17 Pro review: Oppo's thriftiest flagship yet drives a hard bargain
- 5 Lenovo Smart Display review: The bigger, better buy
Latest News Articles
- Oppo tease biometric and camera innovations ahead of MWC 2019
- The new iPhone XS battery case works with the iPhone X, but don't expect perfection
- LG V50 release date, price, specs and news rumours
- Fnatic and OnePlus announce global esports partnership
- Oppo tease a 10x zoom smartphone camera
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20, and we only have one question
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?