Most of us would love to own the latest iPhone or other high-end handset, as a status symbol if nothing else, but if the one feature you’d use 90% on a smartphone is Facebook, or if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider something cheaper. These phones all cost a lot less than a heavyweight like the iPhone 4S or Galaxy S2, so can be ideal for the teenager or other young socialite who wants to stay in touch while out and about, but doesn’t want to drop £400+ on a phone.
Most offer physical QWERTY keyboards rather than touchscreen keyboards. This can be another boon to a lot of users – some just prefer the feel of a real keyboard, however small, and others find touchscreen keyboards frustrating or annoying to use. Considering this, what are the best phones for Facebook users?
The ChaCha (also known as the HTC Status in the USA) is available for around £10 a month (including the handset for free), so should fit fine in anyone’s budget. Its QWERTY keyboard has plastic, rubberised keys, and comes with the all-important dedicated Facebook button, allowing you to instantly fire up Facebook. The keyboard is easy and comfortable to use, perfect for texting, emails, and of course Facebook. The ChaCha does come with a capacitive touchscreen too, but without the need to put a virtual keyboard on there, it doesn’t seem too small at a mere 2.6 inches across. Impressively, it runs the current version of Android (Gingerbread), with all the customisability that entails. This is great going for a budget handset, particularly since it doesn’t struggle to run Gingerbread fast and well. The presence of two cameras (5MP with flash, plus a 2MP front-facing one) also gives it the feel of a much more expensive machine.
This handset is very similar to the ChaCha in appearance, complete with QWERTY keyboard, Facebook button, and clean design, but the construction is a little cheaper. At £55 for the handset on pay-as-you-go, it’s well within Christmas or birthday present territory. It has an appropriately cheap 2.4-inch screen and an even cheaper 200MHz processor, running a specially designed Java operating system, so other than Facebook, basic phone features, and a 2MP camera, this one doesn’t offer much – which is fair enough, given its budget price. The biggest drawback is that as a PAYG phone, it doesn’t come with any included data allowance, which as far as we can see rather defeats the object of a dedicated social networking phone. It might be OK for very light phone users who still want to check status updates daily, but who usually have access to a computer or other device to do so.
At around £13.50 a month, the Cloud Touch is the most expensive of our handsets today, but still very much a budget option when the latest iPhone or Android smartphones can be over £40 a month. It’s also the only one without a QWERTY keyboard, giving it the look of other Android machines rather than the more BlackBerry-like feel of the other machines, so personal taste will be a big issue here. This inevitably means there’s no physical Facebook button, but the main Facebook features are integrated into the homescreen instead. The 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen is a little small compared to higher-end handsets, but certainly adequate, and the phone overall looks sleek and stylish. Android OS, free Spotify integration, and a variety of messaging services (GoogleTalk and MSN Messenger as well as the expected Facebook chat and SMS) make this a versatile, great quality phone.
Well, it’s black rather than the the lighter colours of the other handsets, comes with the usual QWERTY keyboard, Facebook button, and 2.4-inch capacitive touchscreen, but that’s about all the info we have about the upcoming MotoKey Social right now. Like the Vodafone, it will have its own proprietary operating system, which hopefully means a significant cost saving but may also mean a lack of other features. The camera is confirmed at 3MP. Worth checking up on once there are more details available, especially if it’s out in time for Christmas. Right now, though, the specs don’t look enormously promising unless this is a real entry-level handset.