HTC made a rather “large” announcement recently with the launch of the HTC ChaCHa touch and type styled Android device into the Indian market. This handset alongwith another i.e. the Salsa, were dubbed Facebook phones because of their dedicated FB button. While it seems like just another way to capitalize on the current trend that’s got the world online. The ChaCha is also designed to offer a simple and wholesome Android experience, but that I’ll able to definitively answer only after I review it. In the meantime though, those of you looking to consider it for purchase, here’s a quick preview video before we get started -
HTC Chacha Hands On
In its segment, the HTC ChaCha has to compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Pro and the Nokia E6. These are the touch and type smartphones that could give the handset a serious run for its Rupee. HTC’s offering is actually a very neat and stylish looking handset that’s available in some funky color combos. The ChaCha features a 2.6-inch capacitive touchscreen encased in Gorilla glass and sporting a 480 x 360 pixel resolution that looks quite sharp.
Sleek and slim
The slight curve in its candy bar design gives it a very ergonomic shape that’s also comfortable to hold and use although the slick rear panel does tend to make it just a tad slippery. The individually segregated keypad seemed comfortable to use and having a set of navigation keys makes a difference. Just below the keypad to the right is the little Facebook button that looks quite like a sticker. With a 3.5mm handsfree port and power/screen lock button on top and a volume rocker and micro USB port on either side, the ChaCha comes off as a very balanced handset.
HTC’s got the ChaCha running Android 2.3 aka Gingerbread, on an 800MHz processor. Sense UI on this small a screen is something we haven’t seen before but it seems to work. Although I didn’t get much time to play around with the device and considering these are simply testers, I nevertheless found the UI to be quite fluid and responsive. It is a little clearer and definitely brighter than the Galaxy Pro’s, largely due to higher resolution display, of course. The layout is quite similar to what you’d see in a totally touchscreen mobile with a few obvious alterations made here and there to suite the smaller screen.
Android Gingerbread on a touch and type device
Aside from a very upbeat design and great looking keypad, one of the major USPs of the ChaCha is the tiny little Facebook key. Let’s forget for a moment that HTC Sense UI is one of the better interfaces that easily and almost automatically offers linking between your phone book/Google Contacts and your social networks as soon as you’re signed in. With the addition of this little key, the ChaCha makes sharing details, media and your location on the world’s favorite social network a real easy task.
Strong FB integration with dedicated button for easy access
To make it even simpler each time you take a picture or open a website, the FB key begins to glow as an indicator or a reminder rather that you could simply click it to immediately access the FB preloaded app. You can press and hold the key to ‘Check-in’ to any location, as well.
It’s a 3G enabled handset sporting Wi-Fi with a hot-spot option and of course, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP.
The ChaCha is equipped with a 5 megapixel auto focus camera that also employs the use of touch focus capabilities. It also features face detection and Geotagging, since the device also has a built-in GPS module that’s supported with a-GPS. A single LED contributes to the camera as a flash for low light pictures. I wasn’t able to test the camera at the event as the lighting was extremely poor, but the few images I did take didn’t look too bad on the handset’s display. You’ll be able to use the handset’s front facing VGA camera for video calling while on Wi-Fi or 3G.
Sleek rear panel but just a tad slippery
My First Impression
The HTC ChaCha left me with a very excited first impression. Although I’m not much of a social networker, I do occasionally share anything I find interesting on that service. Seeing the number of users on social networks in the mobile stream actually overshadow those on PCs, the timing of a handset like this seems just about right. With a price tag of Rs. 15,990, although seemingly steep, could work out quite well if HTC delivers on battery life and media quality. Considering the tight Facebook integration the ChaCha comes with, I have to say, it’s got serious potential to do quite well.
Ports and keys are well laid out
Stay tuned to tech2 for the full review.