First impressions of the HTC Status Facebook phone on AT&T

The HTC Status is a small front facing QWERTY keyboard Android smartphone targeted towards the messaging crowd who find Facebook to be an important part of their lives. Facebook is integrated into the HTC experience, along with Sense 3.0 and more.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Back at Mobile World Congress in February HTC announced the ChaCha phone. Thankfully the phone was renamed here in the US and will be launching for just $50 on 17 July (this Sunday) as the HTC Status. It is a well built phone and should appeal to those looking for a solid messaging phone with some other slick features.

You can check out a few photos of the HTC Status in my image gallery along with a video walk through and more initial thoughts on the device below.

Image Gallery: Check out a few photos and screenshots of the HTC Status on AT&T.
Image Gallery: HTC Status in hand
Image Gallery: Facebook button

In the box and first impressions

HTC sent along this evaluation unit in a plain white box so I am not sure how it will ship from AT&T. The device reminded me of my T-Mobile Dash, but built so much better with aluminum and hard white plastic components. It feels rock solid in your hand and seems like it would be worth more than the $50 price. There is a bit of an arc to the back right where the keyboard starts, but I think that helps angle the keyboard to you a bit more.


Specifications for the HTC Status on AT&T include the following:

  • Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread
  • HTC Sense 3.0
  • 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 2.6 inch HVGA 480x320 pixels LCD display
  • Preinstalled 2GB microSD card and 512MB RAM available for storage
  • 5 megapixel camera with single LED flash
  • VGA front facing camera
  • Proximity sensor, light sensor and digital compass
  • Integrated A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • 1250 mAh lithium-ion battery
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.42 inches and 4.37 ounces

The HTC Status is a very cool messaging phone and the Facebook integration is well done. I am passing it along to my 15-year old daughter for about 10 days since I have grown to love the bigger display and I just feel too cramped on this device where I can see three rows of Tweets and just four emails at once.

In the land of dual-core smartphones you may be wondering how this fits in. This is really a feature phone replacement and it does well in terms of performance and price. Things seemed to run very smooth, signal strength was good, and battery life seemed to be excellent so far.

Walk around the hardware

The front of the HTC Status has the 2.6 inch HVGA touchscreen and it does look pretty good. There is a front facing VGA camera in the upper right with a mirror app preloaded. There are four capacitive buttons below the viewable area on the black part of the display for Home, Menu, Back, and Search. Below these are send and end buttons in green and red. The QWERTY keyboard is below this and is well spaced with large keys and good feedback. I like that there are directional arrows in the bottom right and the Facebook button is prominently displayed on the bottom. I kept hitting the voice command button instead of the shift key and that is my one real pet peeve of the device.

There is nothing on the left side or bottom while the right side houses the microUSB port and volume button. A 3.5mm headset jack and power buttons are found on the top. The camera, speaker, and flash are on the back along with an aluminum band and plastic pieces that likely help improve signal strength. The lower white part of the back comes off to reveal the battery, microSD card, and SIM card slot.

Quick thoughts on the software and performance

I was quite a fan of the T-Mobile Dash and Nokia Eseries with front facing QWERTY and HTC did a great job building the HTC Status too. It should be a phone that takes a beating and keeps on going with solid construction.

The Facebook button lets you post your friend's wall or your own wall simply by pressing the Facebook button and entering some text. In camera mode the Facebook button will act as the camera shutter and then get uploaded to Facebook with the opportunity to add tags and a description if you like. When you are browsing and press the Facebook button you will see your URL is copied into a Faceboook status update. The button pulsates with white in the center when there is context that is shareable via Facebook. Facebook Chat is also a Home screen widget so you can stay connected and chat with buddies quickly and easily.

There are some AT&T apps and services along with the essential Android apps. I haven't yet tried a ton of apps since I personally find the display too small for me to be comfortable with it. I understand that some apps have issues due to the screen size and resolution, but the target audience for this likely will not install many 3rd party apps anyway.

Pricing and availability

The HTC Status will be available on 17 July in stores for $49.99 with a minimum voice and data plan with 2-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. The AT&T site states only a $15 plan is required so teens may soon be using these slick phones.

My daughter will be posting another Teen Talk article in a couple of weeks so if you have any questions for her on the device, feel free to leave a note in the Talkback section.

Check out these other online reviews and thoughts:

Editorial standards