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HTC Chacha long term ownership review

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As of this weekend, I would have roughly completed around 2 months on this phone. Or a lifetime and a half, as we mobile phone aficionados say!

Here are my composed unbiased thoughts on the phone and WHY i don't recommend it for enthusiasts who want performance:

Firstly, lets get the good parts done and dusted with:

  • Lovely hi res screen. This is the only cheap qwerty (9.5k INR on www.saholic.com as of June 2012 - everywhere else its ~11.5k INR) that had a 320x480 screen
  • Nice full featured keyboard with many symbols available with just an additional keystroke (as opposed to asymbol submenu)
  • Nicely sculpted hardware - its not just another polycarbonate brick.
  • Brilliant camera. Absolutely top notch - something I had just not expected, but this has completely surpassed all my expectations (which were quite low after the Defy's crappy camera btw!!)
  • Outstanding browser. Brilliant to read and absolutely the very best for text reflow. Mind you - I find the reading experience on this 2.6" screen as good/better than the Defy's lovelier 3.7" screen ONLY because of the browser.

That aside, why i think it sucks (mind you I had a Motorola Defy earlier that simply flew in comparison):

  • LOW volume. Either on speaker or ringer or headphones (which are quite crappy by themselves - I use the motorola one!). You just cannot take a conference call while driving most days (even if all you will do is listen)
  • Laggy. It lags. I have run custom ROMs but this behavior is simply unacceptable. Esp in the touchscreen / dialer - there is often a bit of lag in selection for dialing / messaging
  • Android itself. A couple of custom apps start rotated 90 degrees because they cannot comprehend a 320 tall and 480 wide screen
  • Half baked customizations. For a phone with just 2.6" screen, it is criminal to use the regular gmail app, standard HTC/ twitter apps which waste 1/3rd of the screen. On gmail, the first screen is just the header. You MUST scroll even for a 5 word email. Can you spell FAIL? Did HTC forget to test their phone before releasing it?
  • Stupid notification bar. It just sits atop most apps - thus wasting real estate space.
  • Stupid customization. I must signup for HTC sense even to download new ringtones. FAIL!
  • Keyboard while having a great feel is just about 5mm too wide i feel (i LOVED the e71). The alternative symbols are marked in a dark blue that is not visible in low light (unlike the white alphabets)
  • NO internal memory. Well it has some 150 MB, but if your contacts occupy 20MB like mine, you run out of space after just the 5/6th apps. The solution is simply using Link2SD: www.link2sd.info/ - it is the best solution, bar even the painful apps2SD (that often does not work for many apps)
  • No business softwares. an office reader suite would have been ideal - not everyone buys this for FB!! Surely burning office viewers would have costed them not more than a dollar or so!!
  • Below average network capability. I had not dropped a single call while sitting at the desk with the Defy in one year. This one will drop calls (not lose signal) atleast 2-4 times daily
  • the battery is pathetic. With 2 email clients and twitter (hourly updates) - my battery did not cross 4pm before hitting 15% (battery saver mode is triggered). Mind you I have only~30 apps installed vs 130+ in defy.
  • There is verryyy limited mod support (unlike a Defy) so the ROMs are nowhere as functionally complete as the Defy mods have been.
  • Silly sense limitations (stock) - you can only have 1/2 types of clock widgets - they occupy so much space & you can't use the bottom row in the main home screen - home screens have no option to loop around etc etc (many CM7 apps are more customizable)


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Story | by Dr. Radut