HTC ChaCha Review


What’s in a name? HTC’s two phones with Facebook access have dance-related monikers. There’s the Salsa and this one, the ChaCha (you can just call it your Facebook phone)

Like the Salsa, the HTC ChaCha has a special key badged with the Facebook logo. It sits beneath a Qwerty keyboard on this Android-powered phone. HTC is famous for the chin it puts on the bottom of some of its phones and here it has the effect of making it look a bit like a BlackBerry that’s been creased in the middle. It still looks like a classy handset, with a brushed metal stripe across the back, around the screen and behind the keyboard. It sticks closely to HTC’s clear design language: even if there weren’t a chin on it you could put it alongside HTC’s Flyer tablet and see they are clearly related.

It’s a touchscreen, so a bit like the upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900. The screen isn’t huge (2.6ins) and much smaller than most Android handsets. At times it can look cramped and if you pinch your fingers together it shows thumbnails of each home screen. You can have up to seven of these and they’re a tight fit on screen together.

Still, that’s the cost of putting a Qwerty keypad on a phone. The keys, by the way, are comfortable and well-spaced so that typing text messages is easy and relatively quick. Not as spectacularly good as BlackBerry’s keyboards but highly usable. Like BlackBerry, there’s no @ symbol in a lower-case position which seems an oversight as typing email addresses is hard to avoid. Worse, it doesn’t have the handy shortcut that BlackBerrys have where you can touch the spacebar and an @ will be inserted. Beyond that, though, it’s a great keyboard that’s a pleasure to use.

Making Sense

The ChaCha uses the latest Android software, version 2.3.3 aka Gingerbread. But of course this is an HTC handset, so the most important part of the Android experience is HTC Sense which transforms the chaotic, scrappy Android into a gorgeous, stylish beast, masking the shortcomings of the original beautifully.

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