Gone are the days when Facebook was just another website you visited online. It’s now the page you are on all the time. HTC understanding this has come out with the HTC ChaCha which is also dubbed as the Facebook phone thanks to the dedicated Facebook key. So is it a must have social network phone?

Those who are familiar with the first HTC Facebook phone, the HTC Salsa might have instantly noticed that the HTC ChaCha is priced lower. The phone comes with a small 2.6 inch landscape screen but the HVGA resolution it provides makes up for the size. Sandwiched between the full sized QWERTY keyboard and the screen is the Android’s trademark function buttons. Not to forget is the dedicated Facebook key on the bottom. On the left is the where the microUSB port and volume rocker are.  However, there is no camera shortcut key like the one on HTC Salsa. At the top are the usual power button and audio jack. This phone sports HTC’s “chin” design which is the odd bend that you will find in the centre of the phone. The “chin” not only helps keep the phone scratch-free when placed face-down but HTC also explains that it helps to keep the screen in the proper angle when you are typing away on the QWERTY keyboard. After taking the bend into account, the phone measures 4.5 x 2.54 x 0.42 inches. As almost all phones do these days, the HTC ChaCha also has two cameras, one for each side. There’s a VGA camera on the front while on the back is the 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash. The phone is well made with no creaks or squeaks in sight making it feel solid in the hand.


The hardware of the HTC ChaCha is somewhat similar to HTC Salsa. Both phones use a single core 800MHz Snapdragon processor. The 512MB of RAM is also the same as the HTC Salsa. We must admit, with array of phones we have these days, 800MHz isn’t going to win any races but when it comes to performance, the HTC ChaCha doesn’t let you down.

Android v2.3.3 Gingerbread is what this phone runs on together with a Sense UI tailor made to run smoothly on the landscape screen. Although it’s called HTC Sense 2.1 for Messenger, it’s not so different from the Sense 2.1 on the HTC Salsa or the Sense 3.0 on the HTC Sensation. The famous lock screen trick with the HTC Sense 3.0 can also be seen here whereby you can set four shortcuts to access immediately from it. However, the notifications tab has no pull down quick setting functionality but instead only has the standard Android notifications. Although there are7 home screens, but the apps drawer is only usable on screen one.  Now, to what the phone was made for, Facebook. The Facebook button is very nifty. When you are on the homescreen, short press allows you to update your wall while holding it longer brings you to Facebook places. Other cool stuffs include being able to put up pictures on your wall straight from the gallery app with just one click of the Facebook button. The chat app is definitely one of the highlights as it’s on the homescreen showing who’s online so you can use the QWERTY keyboard and gossip away with total ease.

As stated earlier, the HTC ChaCha has a small 2.6 inch HVGA screen. However, don’t let the size fool you as the screen is capable of producing bright and clear pictures. Its level of detail easily trounces its closest rival, the Samsung Galaxy Pro. The screen also gives you good viewing angles but the small screen may sometimes be a bit annoying when you really want to do some reading online.

The 5MP camera on this phone is actually a highlight. It’s the same as the one on HTC Salsa in fact. Photos taken on the camera turn out great. The images are very detailed with the added fact that the color and contrast being good. It can also take good macro shots and in low light situations the LED flash comes to the rescue. However, taking videos were not as smooth a ride as taking photos. With only a maximum resolution of 780 x 480, the videos obviously didn’t turn out great.  Playing back recorded video on larger screens is not an experience to remember.

Using this phone, you are naturally expected to be on Facebook all the time. Thanks to the quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G together with the Wi-Fi capability, you can be. Checking in on Facebook is also easier with the built in GPS. However as mentioned earlier, going through websites may be a little harder due to the small screen. If you are not so into browsing the page with the touchscreen due to its size, there are handy arrow keys on the keyboard to help get the job done. Although the GPS works just fine, once again the small screen isn’t ideal for GPS purposes.

We had no complains on the signal strength on the HTC ChaCha. The voice calls made were also loud and clear. The 1250mAh battery that powers the phone is 300mAh less than what powers the HTC Salsa. However, the smaller screen means less juice is needed. Normal use of all the stuff the phone is known for like the camera, Facebook and some internet browsing kept the phone running for a day and a half which is not bad at all.


Pros and Cons
The HTC ChaCha definitely deserves the tag as a Facebook phone as its integration with Facebook is smart. The battery life is something very desirable with this phone. The QWERTY keyboard helped by the bend was a dream to use.

The one major drawback would be the screen size, it just could have been bigger due to all the social networking that is expected to be done on the phone.

Frankly, the HTC ChaCha is one the more user friendly phones around today although the screen size is bound to be an issue. But apart from that, the QWERTY keyboard just makes it one super social networking phone.

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