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HTC Salsa Review: In Depth

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The HTC Salsa was announced at Mobile World Congress this year, along with the HTC Sensation, HTC Flyer and HTC Wildfire S.  Touted as the touchscreen ‘Facebook’ phone it has finally landed in the UK .

In styling it’s similar to the HTC Desire, with a slight jutting out chin and touch-sensitive home, menu, back and search Android keys. Very much a mid-tier handset, HTC Salsa specs include a 800Mhz processor, which while not blisteringly fast, never feels slow for day to day tasks.

What we like:

With metal and rubber at each end concealing the battery compartment and the camera, it feels like well constructed, high-quality phone

Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3), has been overlayed with HTC Sense. This isn’t the latest version found on the HTC Sensation, but does include some useful features, which make the user experience more fluid. You can customise the lockscreen with four applications and launch them directly by dragging them into the ring.

Customise seven homescreens and sync social networking contacts with widgets including Friendstream and the new Facebook chat app. Twitter and Facebook contact information syncs pretty well, although we still had to make a few connections manually.

Unlike the INQ Cloud Touch which offers deep Facebook integration, the Salsa’s is more subtle, with the exception (of course) of the blue Facebook button. A quick press and you can post a message directly to your wall or to that of one of your Facebook contacts. It also provides quick access to for uploading pictures, you can also post web links from within the browser and map coordinates from Google Maps. It works very effectively, uploading your status instantly

At 3.4-inches the screen size is respectable size, although the 480×320 is low, which is fine for YouTube clips and browsing, but certainly not the best for movies.

What we don’t like

We actually quite like the Salsa’s body colour, which is purple/lilac, but it’s quite girly and won’t appeal to everyone.

The HTC Salsa includes a 5-megapixel camera and you can make adjustments to the ISO (up to 800) and white balance, it’s fair to say results are disappointing. Still pictures aren’t very sharp and noisy even at low ISO settings. You get video capture, but it isn’t HD, instead maximum is widescreen 720×480 at 20fps, which is a little juddery and not very sharp.

We found ourselves charging the handset every evening, this is fairly typical of this type of handset, but if you are a heavy browser, it will need charging earlier.

Like the HTC ChaCha, the Salsa wouldn’t play Flash video – something the cheaper HTC Wildfire can do. We hope this is something that HTC rectifies soon.
 
HTC Salsa Verdict

If you are looking for a good mid-range handset equipped with useful Facebook shortcuts, this is the device to choose, although hardcore Facebook fans may prefer the INQ Cloud Touch. The integration is subtle though, so if you happy using the Android apps, we’d suggest the HTC Desire S, which is more powerful and has a better screen, and is cheaper.

Specification

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