HTC Salsa Review
The HTC Salsa is a smartphone designed to bridge the gap between the low-spec budget handset and the budget busting, big-screen premium device. HTC have tried to combine features and performance with affordability so have they succeeded?
HTC have broken with tradition in the design of the Salsa and strayed away from their usual black, opting instead for a metallic lilac colour. Measuring 109.1 x 58.9 x 12.3mm the Salsa is comfortable to hold and feels reassuringly robust. On the back of the case along the top and bottom two rubberised sections ensure there is no slippage and the additional chrome trim finishes things off.
The 3.4 inch touchscreen of the HTC Salsa has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels with a pixel density of 170ppi and is responsive to the lightest finger touch.
Other features of the design include the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, the volume rocker switch and USB port on the left side and on the right a dedicated camera button. The HTC Salsa has 4 capacitive buttons beneath the screen – Home, Back, Menu and Search and below that there is also a physical Facebook button. These are all backlit so easy to find even in the dark.
The HTC Salsa is powered by an 800MHz processor with 512MB RAM and a pitiful 512MB internal storage, although this can be expanded via a microSD card up to 32GB. The Salsa runs Android’s 2.3 Gingerbread operating system which provides many features and a smooth performance. HTC have added a few of their own tweaks with the 2.1 version of their Sense User Interface, with two additional features taken from Sense 3.0. The first of these is the interactive lock screen which enables you to place quick launch icons on the standby screen. By dragging one into the circle you can immediately launch the application. This is especially useful when it comes to launching the camera. Drag the circle up and you can unlock the phone. The lock screen is also intuitive providing details of missed calls and even rejecting calls and is one of the great success stories of HTC’s interface.
The second additional feature used in this version of Sense is Facebook integration – a big selling point of the HTC Salsa.
Constant Facebook and Twitter updates are shown beneath the large HTC clock on the Homescreen.
By pressing on this update bar you open HTC’s new Facebook interface.
The actual physical Facebook button glows slightly when there is something new you might want to share, such as a photo, and if pressed takes you into a messaging page.
You are able to attach photos but not videos to your messages.
The dedicated camera button of the Salsa is a real treat. It feels like a digital camera button with a two-phase touch that makes it much easier to focus on an image and take the picture without blurring. Pressing it immediately activates the camera so you can capture a shot whatever you are doing with your phone.
The rear-mounted 5 megapixel camera with LED flash takes reasonable pictures, certainly good enough to share via social networking. The HTC Salsa makes this an easy task with the option to sync your photos with Facebook or Flickr immediately or once a day using the AutoUpload toggle.
For images you share with Facebook you can specify privacy settings. The camera does have a zoom function but when you use it you lose some image quality. Similarly the flash works well to illuminate the shot but the quality suffers.
There are a number of camera features you can play with but occasionally these menu screens can encounter some lag so that the camera actually stops working for a few seconds until it catches up. The HTC Salsa can record video at a maximum resolution of 720 x 480 and image quality is bright and crisp but the zoom function in video mode is jerky and there is often a delay in response.
The 1520mAh is a more powerful battery than you find in most mid-range smartphones so it is not surprising that the battery life of the HTC Salsa is also more impressive than most of its competitors. Even with fairly heavy use including web browsing, social networking and taking photos the Salsa battery lasted almost two days without needing to be recharged.
HTC Salsa Price
A SIM free HTC Salsa costs around £170 or you can opt to take a 24 month contract with monthly fees starting at £32.