When the blog-o-sphere was buzzing about a Facebook phone, I really thought it was a phone made by the social network giant until the HTC ChaCha was presented being the Facebook phone.
With more than 750 million Facebook subscribers, it is no wonder why a phone wholly dedicated to the social network will be a hit in the market. With everyone wanting to be connected 24/7, the HTC ChaCha might just be the answer.
HTC always churns out amazingly designed phones, and the HTC ChaCha is no exception. Its angular design made it easier to hold and navigate through the pages and apps. The phone is made with metal and plastic, making its design distinct and hip. It sports a candy-bar form factor with a full QWERTY running on Android and HTC sense.
It has a very spacious QWERTY keyboard that made it easier to compose messages without accidentally pressing other buttons. The downside with the keyboard is that it has the “FN + @” bug. Apparently, the letter “Y “has an alternate function of the symbol “@,” but when you try to use the function the # sign or “£” appears. This would have passed my attention if the “@” sign is not often used, but as this is a Facebook phone, it will be often used to sign in and out of the social network. You can still find the “@” button as the alternate function of “P”, leaving out the labeled “~”. Just below the display are the touch controls for home, menu, back and search. The volume control is on the right side, and lock on the top right. Though there is no shortcut for the camera, there are two calling buttons just above the QWERTY pad so you can answer calls even without navigating through your screen.
There are two cameras, a 5-megapixel at the back with an LED flash and a VGA front camera which you can also use as a mirror. The 2.6-inch screen is just right for composing messages and updating your social network but not enough for other applications. It is pinch to zoom, making it easier to see clearly on its small screen. But with this small screen, it’s a bit of pain for the internet. You may need to zoom in and out for you to get a better view of sites. But you will be able to enjoy graphics crisp and clear because they are cramped into a small screen.
The main attraction of the HTC ChaCha is the Facebook button, wholly dedicated to your Facebook account. With one click, you will be directed to your Facebook page, saving you a second or two than looking for an app. While browsing through music, photos or video, you can click the button and you can easily share it on your page. While using the camera, you can also click the Facebook button to instantly upload your photo.
The ChaCha is very social, it has Friend Stream where you can see Facebook, Flickr and tweet updates all in one screen. If you want to organize communication not by application, you can view from the people button so all your calls, messages and updates will be organized by contact. It also has an integrated Facebook chat, making it easier to catch up with friends online.
It runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, making it work smoother and faster for your social networking demands. There are seven home screens which you can customize however you want. From your Facebook and Twitter updates to people you often call or send messages to.
What’s best with HTC phones is that you get access to HTC Sense.com where you can backup your files, contacts and messages through HTC’s cloud server. It can also help you track and lock your phone if ever you lose them.
Battery life can be dreadful, when you are connected through WiFi all day and updating your Facebook here and there, your battery will be drained by the end of the day. But with it on standby and with average usage, it can last up to 2 days.
HTC ChaCha could be your ultimate social networking phone, though you need a decent internet plan for you to stay connected all the time. It is exclusively distributed by Smart with a retail price of Php 15,500 or for a consumable plan
Php 1,800 or unlimited plan Php 1,500.
Operating System: Android 2.3 Gingerbread with HTC Sense
LCD size: 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen
Physical Dimensions: 114.4mm x 64.6mm x 10.7 mm
Band: 2G – GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G – HSDPA 900/2100
• Curved design
• Facebook button for easy share
• Spacious keypad
• Reasonably priced
• Small screen
• Keypad bug
Being connected is the ultimate reason to own the HTC ChaCha, and if you are the ultimate Facebook fan, this is definitely on top of your list.
Buy Meter: 8.2
[This review originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]