HTC ChaCha People do reply, even after 2 am!
MRP: Rs 16,000
Street Price: Rs 14,800 (Saholic.com; Flipkart.com); Rs 15,500 (Letsbuy.com)
Androids are hot, and so is Facebook. Combine them both and you get a recipe for success in the mobile world. ChaCha has these ingredients, plus HTC's expertise in UI customisation. This sounds good enough to lure buyers. However, how well this "Facebook phone" performs in other departments remains to be seen.
Design And Build Quality
The package includes a charger with a detachable USB cable, earphones, and a 2 GB card. The phone measures 4.5" (l) x 2.5" (w) x 0.4" (d), and weighs 124 grammes. The device's back is composed of aluminium and high quality rubberised plastic that provides a comfortable grip.
The device sports a 2.6" screen, below which lie four capacitive keys, namely Home, Options, Back, and Search. The physical Call and Hang Up buttons are also present on the phone. The main highlight of this device is its physical QWERTY keypad, which is slightly tilted forward. This unusual design does provide a better grip while typing, but looks odd.
The well-spaced keys are laid out in four rows. The keyboard sports dedicated keys for frequently used punctuation marks. The arrow keys are unusually placed on the lower left side of the keyboard. A dedicated Facebook button is present below the fourth row.
All in all, the device is compact and sturdy. The only gripe I have is over the blank area between the capacitive keys and the physical keyboard. This space could have been used to house a D-Pad, as seen on the Nokia E6.
The device is powered by an 800 MHz CPU and 512 MB RAM. Other features include a 5 MP rear and front VGA camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3.5 mm jack, and 32 GB microSD card support.
The 2.6" touchscreen, encased by Gorilla Glass, has pixel dimensions of 480x320. It's reasonably bright, and displays a high contrast. The viewing angles aren't that bad, except for colour variations at extreme angles. Under sunny conditions, the screen looks washed out, but still remains fit for reading.
UI And Application
The phone runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with HTC's Sense UI on top of it. The interface behaves much like the recently reviewed Sensation, though it has been modified to suit the device's landscape screen.
The ChaCha requires you to drag a ring to the screen's centre in order to unlock the phone. You can also drag shortcuts (placed above the ring) into the ring for quick access.
Overview mode can be triggered by the zoom-out gesture or tapping the Home button. It comes in handy for faster navigation and rearranging homescreens.
The Facebook button is not just for launching the app, but has been implemented throughout the UI. For example, you can upload any picture from the gallery to your Wall with a single press of the button; likewise for videos. Without a doubt, it's a godsend for FB addicts.
On the other hand, you can't chat with your online friends using the Facebook app. Although Fb Chat takes care of that, it's stupid to have two different apps to access a single site.
The phone sports a Gingerbread-based browser, but lacks full Flash support due to the relatively underpowered CPU. However, the YouTube app solves this problem to an extend. Except for these limitations, the browser remains snappy most of the time, and is good enough for normal browsing.
People do reply, even after 2 am!