RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9900 takes on HTC’s ChaCha

We see how well HTC’s ChaCha competes against BlackBerry’s latest Bold 9900.
We just can’t think of anything nice to say about the HTC ChaCha’s visuals. It’s difficult to imagine what HTC’s design department was thinking to be honest.
It’s got a peculiar design – the lower part of the phone, where the fixed Qwerty keyboard is housed, juts forward at a funny angle from the upper part, where the screen sits.
The result is this oddly broken profile which reminds us of those dedicated, battery driven handheld games devices you used to be able to buy from Woolworths, back when it existed.
The BlackBerry Bold 9900 looks more or less like a conventional BlackBerry handset with its smallish screen, fixed Qwerty keyboard and broad yet smooth appearance.
With the BlackBerry the keys are more squared-off and chiselled and they’re arranged in a compact way which looks appealing.
Conversely on the ChaCha the keys are rounded and spaced out giving off a cartoonish vibe which doesn’t sit well with us.
We have to say the BlackBerry is a much more attractive handset than the ChaCha.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9900
‘Messenger’ style phones usually have touchscreens on the smaller side and these two are no exception, RIM’s BlackBerry Bold has the larger choice here at 2.8-inches while the HTC ChaCha’s is 2.6-inches.
They’re both TFT capacitive displays, the ChaCha clocks in at a 480×320 resolution and a pixel density of 221 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
The BlackBerry’s vital statistics are higher at 640×480 pixels and 285ppi respectively.
HTC’s device uses Gorilla Glass for its screen and is preloaded with the HTC Sense 2.1 user interface (UI).
Both handsets feature accelerometer sensors and multi-touch input, the BlackBerry Bold also has an optical track-pad.
The BlackBerry’s larger screen with a higher resolution and pixel density means it will give better picture quality and be more visible too.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9900
RIM has upped the stakes with the storage crammed into this BlackBerry, a comparatively hefty 8GB of internal capacity is on offer, along with 768MB of RAM.
The HTC ChaCha doesn’t do so well here with only 512MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM built in.
That’s not going to cater much to any serious storage needs and, against the BlackBerry, seems like quite a paltry provision.
External support on each allows Micro SD cards up to 32GB, the ChaCha includes a 2GB card as part of the package.
You’re going to be pretty much relying on SD card storage with the ChaCha.
An easy win for the BlackBerry this round.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9900
Like many similar handsets in this category the HTC ChaCha is a moderately well powered device equipped with a single core Qualcomm MSM7227 processor clocked at 800 MHz.
The BlackBerry Bold, however, has decided to get a little more adventurous, it’s still single core, but at 1.2GHz this Qualcomm 8655 processor on the Snapdragon chipset can deliver the goods in double quick time.
An Adreno 205 graphics processing unit (GPU) also helps move things along at a steady pace.
The BlackBerry easily outpaces the HTC ChaCha on processor performance making it our choice here.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9900
Operating System:
The new Bold runs, as might be expected, RIM’s own BlackBerry OS 7, while HTC’s ChaCha uses Google’s prolific Android Gingerbread 2.3.
RIM has consistently been improving system performance on its system and version 7 is as quick as it’s been so far.
Whether you’re running single apps, multi-tasking or browsing you’ve got a fast and responsive setup here.
The browser specifically has been updated with a specially tailored Javascript compiler, complete with Flash support. There’s also some additional new functionality with pinch zoom and a voice activated search feature.
Near Field Communication is starting to get more attention and RIM has been quick to get in on the game by enabling support on the Bold.
Possible applications include paying for your shopping with a swipe of your phone across a sensor or quickly exchanging information between devices simply by “bumping” them together.
Another area of hardware support newly included in this build is a capability for HD video capture. Considering the Bold can capture video in 720p HD this is a very timely and thoughtful addition.
The BlackBerry Balance suite is a new feature designed to allow business users to keep their work and private lives separated, while remaining easily accessible.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread is about to be replaced with Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), but for a more low-key messenger phone it’s still more than adequate.
Multi-tasking is where Android excels and Gingerbread particularly with its improved performance and advanced management suite.
On Gingerbread you have a much greater degree of control over your apps than in previous builds, as well as much more information on what they’re up to.
The interface has been refined and is much smoother to navigate. You’ve also got an updated version of Android’s touch keyboard which, unlike previous versions, is very responsive and easy to use.
Both systems are very rewarding to use with some great features and good performance. We’re calling this one a draw.
Winner – Draw
Both phones are fitted with 5-megapixel primaries at 2592×1944 pixels resolution.
They also each have autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging and face detection features.
Additionally the BlackBerry comes with digital zoom, image stabilisation and editing effects.
The ChaCha captures video at D1 quality and supports video calling, it also sports a secondary VGA camera.
The BlackBerry enjoys 720p HD video capture but has no secondary camera.
Overall the BlackBerry has more features and captures video at a better quality.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9900
Final Thoughts:
Well, the ChaCha got thrashed by the BlackBerry Bold 9900, pure and simple.
RIM’s new generation Bold performs considerably better in virtually all areas, only drawing on the operating system because Android Gingerbread is pretty good, howeve, it’s not enough to save HTC’s challenge

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