HTC Status

If you're considering the HTC Status and have been waiting for the old Android Central review treatment, check out our review of the HTC ChaCha-- the Status' foreign cousin from across the pond. The devices are virtually identical: same internals, same screen, same keyboard, and same Gingerbread. If you've seen one, you've seen them both. The only true difference is the network the devices run on: the Cha Cha has set up shop on the Three Network in Europe, while the Status found a home on AT&T here in America. As the only true difference, it is the only topic left to explore: how does the Status compare with the rest of the carrier's offerings? And how does a phone like the Status fit into the current Android catalog here in the states?

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There is no doubt that AT&T has developed a healthy portfolio of Android devices in the past year. Like other carriers, AT&T has multiple smartphones at multiple price points to accommodate all budgets and tastes. The HTC Status falls on the bottom of the ladder. With a paltry pricetag of $50 ($0 if you keep your eyes peeled for a Best Buy promotion), the Status is an affordable Android smartphone that is more than worthy of your time and money. If you're into that sort of thing.

The Status, more than any other phone in recent memory, is an acquired taste, and is certainly not for everyone. This is due in large part to the Status' totally unique physique. Sure, the Droid Pro has a portrait QWERTY too. And sure, other HTC devices have a unibody design. But the Status, with its Facebook button and its white and silver color scheme, is geared towards a much younger audience, especially those who are fueled by the lifeblood that is social networking.

Even if you aren't Facebook-obsessed, the Status is still AT&T's best QWERTY offering. The keyboard is a dream to type on, the screen is responsive (if not a little small), and it's packing the latest version of Android. If you need physical keys and are loyal to AT&T, you need this phone.

But if you're looking for something with a longer shelf life, AT&T has better devices. You might not want to shell out $200 for the Infuse 4G, or even $100 for the Atrix or the Inspire, but for $50, the aging Captivate would even outlast the Status. This isn't to say that the Status is delicate or easily breakable; on the contrary, it lives up to the legacy of solid craftsmanship that HTC has made for itself. The Status' short shelf life instead has to due with with its specs: if you're used to 1GHz processors and oodles of RAM, you will be disappointed by the Status.

HTC Status  HTC Status

And no knock against Facebook, but that pesky little button, in my humble opinion, adds nothing to the Status but an expiration date. With two-year contracts, it's hard to see someone being able to stick with the Status for the duration. What if in one year none of the cool kids are using Facebook anymore? What will you do then?

And for as good as HTC's custom Facebook interface is, that there's a link to the standard Facebook app on the main home screen boggles our mind. One second you're in a beautifully designed UI -- the next, back in Facebook's crappy app. Might as well just not have had it on the phone.

In short, the Status is great device for those who need a QWERTY, for those who aren't Android power users, or for those who have already committed to Facebook 'til the bitter end. Kudos to HTC for bringing something fresh and new to the table while maintaining quality build and respectable specs. But for those who need a phone that will remain relevant throughout their contract, AT&T has devices that are worth your second look.