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Reviews // htc ChaCha

I purchased an htc chacha about a 3 weeks ago. I must admit that it was a moment of weakness I have been using an iPhone 4 for about a year already and wanted to tinker with something else. I chose the chacha over a Samsung Galaxy Pro (also a QWERTY bar device but with lower specs). I postulated that the chacha would A.) have more ROM chefs B.) htc Sense. C.) better resale value over the Samsung Galaxy Pro

I've had some experience with htc Sense the skin that the Taiwanese handset maker puts on top of Android and found it beautiful.

The device is a QWERTY bar form factor with the lower portion curved (the htc Hero had a similar chin) the logic for this is to keep the screen elevated and off the surface when you put the phone face down on your desk and to move the mic closer to your mouth when on a call. The screen is a tiny 2.6inch touch screen I must admit that I have been spoiled with the larger screen of the iPhone, and I found myself going back to the iPhone when I wanted to browse.

The device has an 800mhz processor which seemed a bit under powered there was some noticeable lag when moving from screen to screen and sometimes even when selecting or typing. The keyboard reminded me of the palm Treo Pro (also built by htc) I felt the buttons were well spaced and felt very good in use. I am not sure if it is a components or a software issue (or both) but I felt that taking pics was slow and the pics were not as good as the iPhone. The battery life seemed very poor and the straw that broke the camel's back is the low memory errors. The htc chacha comes with 512Mb RAM and ROM, however only about 150Mb is left to the user after a factory reset. htc included an app to move applications to the SD card but most of the htc and GOOG apps (i.e. GMAIL etc etc) could not be moved. There is a workaround for this, but it requires rooting. The bootloader on this device is locked and there was no way for me to root it, therefore I could not move items, therefore I could not install a lot of apps or updates, and I kept on getting the memory error. This was very annoying.

Android 2.3.4 powers this device as mentioned htc has put sense on top, it makes Android pretty and bearable but I suspect it also contributes to the sluggishness. The Philippines now has access to Android Market (the last time I used Android was 2.1 and there was no marketplace for us). I must say that the marketplace is a mess. One of the downsides of being "open" I guess. I stuck to free apps since it was clear that this device was not going to last and true enough I hard reset the device, wiped the microSDHC card and sold it off this weekend. I did not get as much as I wanted for it but I would rather sell it at a lost than keep it and be reminded how bad this device is. I really liked the widgets on Android, as a GMAIL user I was very happy with the built in client however there were still some lag and it seemed the OS lacked polish or the specs were not up to snuff. The only way to say it is the experience was not smooth.

This is the first htc device that I absolutely did not enjoy using, and I have owned a lot of htc devices in the past. It seems that Android is too spec hungry and this device skimped on the specs, a bad combination. The form factor and keyboard could not make me keep the device because the overall experience with the memory errors and small screen was too much of a negative for me.
I do not recommend this phone. Look elsewhere for your smartphone needs. 
If for some unknown reason you are still curious about this device hop on over to htc's website to learn more:
http://www.htc.com/sea/smartphones/htc-chacha/

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