This year’s Mobile World Congress saw the curtain lift on a large number of new devices, but few caught people’s attention more than HTC’s ‘Facebook phone’ the ChaCha.
The eye-catching little Android smartphone, which is aimed at the younger end of the market, packs more than its fair share of features so we thought we’d put it to the test, and place it head-to-head with Nokia’s budget-friendly messenger, the C3, a device which graces more than a few college and school bags up and down the country.
Nokia’s C3 runs on the ageing workhorse platform that is Symbian 40. Yes, it’s simple and antiquated but it also runs smoothly and is a sight more stable than some software on the market.
Unfortunately for the C3 Android doesn’t fall into that bracket though, and version 2.4 (Gingerbread) is what you’ll find on the ChaCha, and as much as we’d like to sing the praises of the erstwhile S40, and assure you that it’s still relevant, we can’t.
It simply isn’t up to the job of taking on the mighty Google’s little green robot, which is an altogether faster, more secure and more up-to-date piece of software.
Winner – HTC Cha Cha
HTC has long enjoyed a good reputation for building hard-wearing, premium devices and the ChaCha doesn’t disappoint. It’s a solid, pocketable little device which measures 114.4×64.6×10.7mm and weighs in at a decent 120g.
As you’d expect there aren’t any creaks, cracks or groans when you’re handling it and, when you consider the projected price point, it feels decidedly premium.
Nokia has also earned its fair share of plaudits for its craftsmanship though, and the C3, which can be snapped up for under £100 SIM-free, feels every bit the Nokia device.
It’s well constructed and like the ChaCha remains generally free of any tell-tale groans. Size-wise it’s almost identical to the newer device too, measuring 115.5×58.1×13.6 mm, but it tips the scales at just over 114g, making it the lighter of the two.
Winner – Draw
This is the category that it’s all about with these two devices and, as you’d expect, they both have plenty to offer. Nokia’s C3 comes loaded with the Communities application, which aggregates all of your social networks to the home-screen.
Typing status updates or messages out to your friends and contacts is a breeze too, thanks to the well-spaced portrait Qwerty.
The HTC ChaCha takes things one step beyond though, and includes not only native support for Facebook and Twitter via the FriendStream app but a hardware ‘Facebook’ key which will allow users to share whatever they’re doing, wherever they’re doing it with a single press.
Naturally you’ve got the long list of other social networking apps available in the Android Market too, so even if Facebook isn’t your thing you’ll doubtless be well catered for.
Winner: HTC ChaCha
The Nokia C3 is a year old and its age shows when you look at the hardware on offer. An unnamed CPU powers the device and its efforts are augmented by 64MB RAM. The C3 feels brisk enough in use but you do get more than the odd bit of lag to contend with.
The ChaCha chimes in with a far more up to the minute drive-train though, including a 600MHz CPU, 512MB RAM and 512MB ROM and while it isn’t the quickest cat out there at the moment it certainly isn’t a slouch.
Winner – HTC Cha Cha
The most important thing about any smartphone is how it connects to the outside world and HTC’s ChaCha comes with all the expected accoutrements, such as Wi-Fi (b, g, n), HSDPA, HSUPA and Bluetooth. Nokia’s C3 is a little less accommodating though as it lacks the 3G functionality that has become so vitally important to today’s messenger smartphones. Wi-Fi (b, g) and Bluetooth are covered though, and a small consolation is that the C3’s reception is excellent.
Winner – HTC ChaCha
There you have it: an unsurprising victory for HTC’s ChaCha. The device impresses overall and we’re sure it will find its way into the pockets and bags of those not engulfed by Facebook’s tendrils but if your social life revolves around the site you can’t do better than the ChaCha. It encompasses the core tenets of today’s smartphone market and doesn’t scrimp on the other features too.
Nokia’s C3 is a still a capable device for those operating within the confines of a budget though and while it pales in comparison to the ChaCha it’s worth remembering that it costs a third of what you can expect to pay for the newer device, so don’t write it off quite yet!