Let’s face it (pardon the pun) Facebook is the indisputable king of social networking at the moment, and phone manufacturers are increasingly looking to ally their handsets with the latest social media craze (remember the Bebo phone anyone?) Enter the HTC Cha Cha, a smart little Android handset with a rather odd combination of both a touch screen and a physical keyboard, including (almost as an afterthought) a specialist button for directly accessing Facebook.
On first inspection, the HTC reminded me of a pocket calculator, its sleek white and silver body features an odd bend at the base of the screen. Clearly, this is supposed to improve the ergonomics of the phone, but to someone used to more traditional flat smartphones, it felt more strange than comfortable (I kept wanting to bend it back straight).
The Cha Cha makes good use of the Android platform with, like many HTC phones, built in presets for social media, work or travel offering a variety of default setups. The landscape screen offers a reasonable amount of screen real estate and displays most websites nicely due to their landscape nature. Beneath the screen, in a design perhaps inspired by Blackberry, the keyboard looks deceptively tiny. In practice, the rounded buttons offer a surprisingly large surface area for any sized fingers.
The Cha Cha performs basic functions as well as one would expect, however, I did find some frustrations using apps due to the screen orientation, having to hold the phone in a way that felt odd with the keyboard sticking out the side (another downside to the weird angle bend).
Lightweight and smartly finished
Integrated social networking button
Landscape screen is good for website browsing
Physical keyboard and on-screen duplication awkward
Ergonomic shape feels a bit odd
Landscape orientation screen can cause app problems
The Cha Cha is a bit like its name: smart and sexy, but also overly complicated and may only appeal to a select audience. Users looking for social media functionality and easy web browsing will be delighted, but those wanting a more in-depth smartphone experience might want to look at other options.