On the surface the ChaCha and 555 Blue have an awful lot of similarities: both have a silver and white body and you’ll find the volume rocker placement is identical. Screen size differences are also negligible and they both have a physical keyboard.
The most trumpeted feature for each phone is the Facebook button lodged into the front. Behind that, they both promise very deep Facebook integration, but that’s possibly where the similarities end. How does the feature Facebook phone fare against the taptastic Android offering?
HTC ChaCha Vs Vodafone 555 Blue: The controls, the screens
It’s been a little frustrating handling both phones at the same time. Whilst both pack a full QWERTY keyboard, only the HTC ChaCha has a touchscreen.
This means if you’ve ever tried using FaceBook on a touchscreen phone, the Vodafone 555 Blue could drive you up the wall. Granted, those moving across from a similar feature phone should find the touchpad (similar to ones found on BlackBerry phones) does an able job of navigating around menus.
There’s no shortage of buttons on the 555 Blue, where you find the stable Android Four (Home, Menu, back and Search) replaced by four buttons that will launch calls, open up option menus and turn the phone off. It takes a while to get used to these; we’re not sure if four different buttons are truly needed…
The Vodafone 555 Blue runs a noticeably smaller resolution pf 240×320 to the HTC ChaCha’s 480×320. Both screens are bright, the Vodafone 555 Blue fares better in bright sunlight; and the reduced resolution means the font is larger than that used on the HTC ChaCha which has to use a tiny font to squeeze everything into its screen.
The keyboard, and ‘that key’
When it comes to QWERTY phones, a lot comes down to personal preference. We think the HTC ChaCha beats the Blue, but there’s not a huge difference. We did some speed-typing tests to Facebook on both keyboards, and found that errors seem more likely on the 555 Blue.
The silvery keys on the Vodafone 555 Blue seem more likely to lose it’s paint job, and the HTC’s longer keys seem easier to blind-type with.
The Vodafone 555 Blue includes the Facebook button inside the QWERTY keyboard. The best thing is, you can choose what this functions as. It can be a simple refresh key, act as a shortcut to your newsfeed and more.
The HTC ChaCha is more contextual; if you’re inside your phone’s gallery or camera app you can press this button to upload and share. More broadly, it acts as a shortcut to the Facebook app.
This is where the ChaCha puts its money where its mouth is. The Vodafone 555 Blue has pushed all its functions to Facebook, but due to the EDGE data connection (no 3G here) updates and loading up messages is achingly slow. We often arrived at the connection lost screen – and gave up trying to send messages through Facebook.
The ChaCha uses the official FaceBook app which, although not optimised for smaller data download, is zippy on that 3G connection. The ChaCha also has WiFi connectivity, something that Vodafone has decided to skip on.
HTC ChaCha Vs Vodafone 55 Blue: Camera
HTC brings an autofocus 5-megapixel camera to the ChaCha, the Vodafone 555 Blue manages some middling images on its two-megapixel fixed focus shooter. There’s a flash on both.
With Android, the ChaCha has access to several photo-editing and effect apps, whilst your options on the 555 Blue are limited to sharing through Facebook, MMS, email or Bluetooth.
HTC ChaChat Vs Vodafone Blue 555: Storage and battery-life
There’s a substantial 512MB of storage on the HTC ChaCha, and 40MB on the 555 Blue, though both are expandable by micro SD, which makes these a bit moot. You’ll find the Vodafone 555 Blue offers both a music player app and radio, whilst the HTC storage will be used for storing apps, music, videos and more.
Battery-wise, we found the Vodafone 555 Blue could last for several days – pesumably due to the reduced use of date – so the Blue wins battle of the batteries with the HTC ChaCha.
HTC ChaCha Vs Vodafone Blue 555: Conclusion
Despite their looks, these are two very different phones. The difference in price is demonstrated as soon as we began to use them. For people who live their life through Facebook, the Vodafone 555 Blue will keep everything Facebook related at the front of your phone.
Connecting together phone numbers and profiles means you can message friends through a simple client that combines text and Facebook messages.
The HTC ChaCha may wear its Facebook credentials on its sleeve, but it’s also capable of so much more; there’s the capacitive touchscreen, the wealth of apps on Android market and the speedy web-browser.
Despite the substantial price difference, with that sluggish data connection, it’s difficult to recommend the 555 Blue over the ChaCha, or even over similarly priced Android phones that can bring Facebook features and much more.