HTC ChaCha - Dancing with Facebook

Launch SRP: S$438

Hardware, multimedia and battery tests

Fun's Over, Let's Get Serious 

While it can be considered a star performer in the software aspects, we cannot say the same for the hardware specifications. The HTC ChaCha runs on a single-core 800MHz single core processor and 512MB of RAM, which is considered to be midrange by today's standards. We know the ChaCha is not built to slaughter the competition, and is more geared towards a target market where raw processing power is not the key consideration. This is in line with HTC's stand that they want to create the ultimate socially connected phones with mass market appeal. 

It is hard balancing between providing a great Facebook experience and having top rated hardware in a mobile device. We feel that HTC did a decent job with the ChaCha. When reviewing the phone, navigation was generally smooth. However, there were several times when we encountered the screen freezing up when opening apps. We also encountered slight lags when transiting between several home screen panels. A game of Angry Birds on the HTC ChaCha went smoothly without any hiccups although the screen size was not favorable for playing over long periods of time. The web browsing experience was below average due to the small screen estate. You have to do a lot of screen panning to navigate a webpage. Text and images look pretty fine, thanks to the screen resolution of 480 x 320 pixels. Video playback is passable on the small screen. 

 

 

Not Picture Perfect

HTC phones are not known for their camera performance, despite having so many phones launched under their belt. Nevertheless, we put the HTC ChaCha through our standard camera tests to determine if there were any improvement in its latest phone models. The HTC ChaCha comes with a 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera and LED flash. It also has a VGA front camera for video calls.

 

Battery Performance

The HTC ChaCha comes with a 1250mAh rechargeable Lithium-ion polymer battery. The talk time is rated at up to 450 minutes for GSM. Keeping that in mind, we put the HTC ChaCha through our usual battery test which involves looping a 240 x 320 pixels resolution video at full screen brightness and volume. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on to keep pulling data at regular intervals. For the test, we throw in the BlackBerry Bold 9780 as it has a similar form factor. The Sony Ericsson X10 mini is also included as we feel that it occupies the same niche group of consumers who demand a portable touchscreen device of this screen size for basic usage. Do note that actual battery mileage may differ under different usage conditions. 

Specifications/Device HTC ChaCha BlackBerry Bold 9780 Sony Ericsson X10 Mini
Processor
  • 800MHz
  • 624MHz
  • 600MHz
Display Size
  • 2.6-inch
  • 2.44-inch
  • 2.55-inch
Display Type
  • TFT
  • TFT
  • TFT
Display Resolution
  • 480 x 320 pixels
  • 480 x 360 pixels
  • 240 x 320 pixels
Dimensions
  • 114.4 x 64.6 x 10.7mm
  • 109 x 60 x 14mm
  • 83 x 50 x 16mm
Weight
  • 120g
  • 122g
  • 88g
Battery
  • 1250mAh
  • 1500mAh
  • 950mAh

 

As you can see from the results above, the HTC ChaCha didn't fare as well when compared to the other two devices. Although the Sony Ericsson X10 mini has a smaller battery capacity of 950mAh, it managed to outlast the HTC ChaCha by more than an hour. We attributed the poor performance of the HTC ChaCha to two reasons. First, we cannot deny the fact that the HTC ChaCha runs a faster processor, which will drain more power faster. Second, we believe that HTC can improve the power management on the ChaCha device, to better its competition. For a mass market social phone, the HTC ChaCha should come with better battery life as dealing with many of Facebook functions such as uploading pictures and checking in at locations will demand more battery juice.

8.0
Design
8
Features
8
User-Friendliness
8
Performance
7
Value
7.5
The Good
Useful Facebook button
Good keyboard design and layout
Runs on Android 2.3
The Bad
Poor battery life
Small screen
Subpar imaging quality