We see how the HTC ChaCha stacks up against RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9870

We see if HTC’s ChaCha can take on RIM at its own game against the BlackBerry Bold 9870.
HTC ChaCha – 114.4 x 64.6 x 10.7mm, 120g
BlackBerry Bold 9780 – 109 x 60 x 14mm, 122g
The BlackBerry Bold looks pretty tidy to us, it’s very elegantly put together with the square-keyed Qwerty being compact but not clumsy.
It’s a lot more angular than many BlackBerry phones but we think it works rather well with the ‘Messenger’ phone aesthetic and compliments the broad design.
We’re not fans of the ChaCha’s design which appears very spaced out and almost cartoonish.
The upper part of the phone is angled away from the lower part where the keyboard sits, lending a very odd look to things.
Combine this with rounded off corners and round keys with a lot of space between and you have something which looks totally alien, and not in a good way.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9780
The Bold 9780 is a more old school model BlackBerry, rather than using a touchscreen it has a regular TFT, while control is handled by the keyboard and optical track-pad.
The screen measures 2.4-inches and boasts a resolution of 480 x 360 pixels. Picture quality is high with a pixel density of 245 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
Conversely the HTC ChaCha rocks a fully functioning capacitive TFT touchscreen with multi-touch.
It’s the larger of the two at 2.6-inches but both the resolution and pixel density are lower than on the BlackBerry at 480 x 320 pixels and 221ppi.
The ChaCha’s screen is made from reinforced Gorilla Glass while the in-built accelerometer sensor and HTC Sense 2.1 user interface (UI) support screen orientation features.
The BlackBerry’s sharper picture and higher resolution is preferable if you’re mainly interested in image clarity.
However, the ChaCha offers the versatility of a touchscreen and for some that may be a higher priority, particularly as the differences in resolution and pixel density are not exactly vast.
Winner – Draw
The BlackBerry Bold 9780 has 256MB of internal storage along with 512MB of RAM.
It might not sound like much, but it’s a bit better off than the ChaCha which has only 512MB each of both RAM and ROM, but no dedicated internal space as the BlackBerry does.
Both phones support Micro SD cards up to 32GB and each comes with a 2GB card as part of the standard package.
We have to side with the BlackBerry here as it is offering the same RAM as the ChaCha but a much more diverse and usable storage setup overall.
Winner – BlackBerry Bold 9780
RIM’s BlackBerry uses a Marvell Tavor PXA930 processor clocked at 624MHz while the ChaCha uses a faster 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7227.
The BlackBerry’s processor is very well optimised to deliver smooth performance.
However, despite this the Qualcomm powered ChaCha will still easily offer a much quicker user experience and the extra clock speed makes it our choice this round.
Winner – HTC ChaCha

Operating System:
The Bold 9780 runs RIM’s own BlackBerry OS 6. It may not be as bright and shiny as the brand new version 7, but it represents a significant step forward for the system with a lot of newly added features bringing it right up to date.
The most standout addition is a drop-down notifications tab similar to the one found on the Android operating system. The user interface also now boasts pop-up context menus which is useful to say the least.On top of this there’s a new ‘search from homescreen’ feature adding yet more usability to the system.
All the native BlackBerry apps have been totally rebuilt from the ground up for this version making them much faster, more responsive and with greater intuitiveness. The Webkit browser in particular has received plenty of attention with Flash, HTML5 and Javascript support along with general performance improvements and tabbed browsing functionality.
Against this you have the Android based ChaCha, running the 2.3 Gingerbread build of Google’s popular system.
It’s popular with good reason, the interface is not only responsive and intuitive but offers plenty of scope for personalisation. The updated touch keyboard is a welcome change and a joy to use compared to its precursor.
Multi-tasking is handled very well indeed, and not only on performance, but functionally too, Gingerbread brings a whole new set of management tools to help you get the most out of your apps.
You can see exactly what system resources your apps are consuming and if consumption gets excessive Gingerbread will take the initiative and shut down the offending app itself.
We’d say these systems are on a more or less equal footing in terms of the performance and features on offer.
Winner – Draw
Both handsets feature 5-megapixel primary cameras at 2592×1944 pixels. The ChaCha also has a secondary VGA camera.
Each phone features autofocus and LED flash but there are a few further functions individual to both handsets.
The ChaCha has geo-tagging, face detection and video capture at D1 quality (720×480 pixels) with video call support.
RIM’s BlackBerry distinguishes itself with image stabilisation, digital zoom and a continuous autofocus mode for video capture.
These phones are pretty much evenly matched on cameras and we’d be quite happy with either.
Winner – Draw
Final Thoughts:
The HTC ChaCha is certainly the more powerful competitor but looking at the overall picture we think the BlackBerry has a lot more to offer.
The main area it excels is in storage which is a much better setup than that of the HTC, in most other areas they are fairly equal, but for better storage and much nicer looks we’d take the hit in processor performance as the BlackBerry is well optimised anyway.


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