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HTC ChaCha – an initial impressions review

Product Name:

HTC ChaCha

Website: (opens in new tab) Specifications:

Android 'Gingerbread' 2.3, HTC Sense, 2.6-inch screen, 800Mhz processor, 512MB memory, microSD card, 5 megapixel camera, Quad-band, GSM, GPRS, 3G EDGE, WFI, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, 3.5 audio jack, 1250 mAh Li-ion battery

Riding the undercurrent this year is the HTC Cha Cha mobile phone, which is a device with which the mobile giant promises to satisfy an exceptional growth in social networking and instant messaging. The launch of HTC’s first handset with a Qwerty keypad seems to highlight the company’s intent on stealing fans away from such purist messaging phones, such as the Blackberry Bolds. These well-established mobiles and are arguably the fastest typing handsets to date, until now. The ChaCha name doesn’t give too much away; apart from a continuous compunction to appeal to younger consumers. One Mobile Ring believes HTC knows their customer base pretty well by now, where we are sure this will succeed.

Unfortunately, the landscape screen does not inspire, but upon closer inspection there is a tactile keypad with individual punctuation and cursor keys that are always useful. When using Facebook, messaging, IM and email, the ChaCha performs brilliantly, but Blackberry owners will soon discover that the battery life is completely emaciated in comparison.

Ultimately, the idea of a full Qwerty keypad with a touchscreen in such small a device is a great concept for a mobile phone. Like the Nokia X3-02, the ChaCha attempts to bridge the gap between quick, direct navigation and typing usability. However, it is such a shame that the screen of the ChaCha is so ineffective. Whilst perusing apps and games via the Android marketplace, there just simply isn’t enough space on-screen to comfortable display all of the app details. Many familiar applications do seem as though they have been reconstructed for young children, when viewed on the accompanying small display.

Naturally, as an HTC product the design and build quality are of a very high standard. The perfectly rounded white edges give a wonderful finish to another piece of great engineering, from a firm that displays maturity beyond their years and throughout their entire product range too.

As a pocket keyboard based device, it will surely succeed where people ‘whip out’ their ChaCha at break times and fire off dozens of IM’s and emails. With video, photo sharing and an ‘economy’ camera, it seems like the screen size will seem even more of a burden. It’s hard to tell how this phone will be received by the inexorable patrons of the mobile tech market. We are confident that the sons and daughters will be asking the questions this time around, and perhaps not Mum or Dad. It just seems that this device demonstrates backwards steps in usability, especially for those already equipped with a smart or business-orientated phone and also enjoy their browsing in comfort.

– B

Originally published at

Rob has worked in the affiliate industry for many years with large publishers, and previously worked as a journalist on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, ITProPortal, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show.