HTC Salsa review

Mid-range Android smartphone with dedicated Facebook button
Photo of HTC Salsa
£374.99 , SIM-free

The Salsa is one of a duo of Android handsets from HTC to feature a dedicated Facebook button. With plenty of Facebook apps on offer, we wonder if you need a special button too. But HTC clearly thinks it gives this mid-range smartphone an edge.

Neat and tidy – almost
Physically, the HTC Salsa is not a million miles away from our old favourite the Wildfire S, with a slightly curved design leaving a small lip on the bottom edge. Nor is it too far from the original Wildfire or the Legend, which share its unibody metal chassis offering a small plastic hatch at the bottom of the back for the battery, SIM card and microSD card, and another plastic area at the top of the back for the camera lens, flash and speaker.

The mostly metal chassis makes for a very solid handset, but the hatch-style battery cover means you need to power down to get to the microSD card slot (and the SIM slot too). Anyone who likes to hotswap cards will find this a perpetual irritation.

The back panel plastic parts aren’t quite the same colour. To us, this almost looks like a design error. And the small section of metal that constitutes the front lip is separate from the rest of the metal. These two factors detract from a build which could have looked quite premium.

It’s all about Facebook
That dedicated Facebook button is what will draw you to the Salsa rather than the handset’s design, though. It sits rather ostentatiously beneath the four Android shortcuts at the front of the chassis. Press it to open an update page into which you can tap out a message. Press and hold it it for Facebook Places. Press it in different apps to share content. When the sharing feature is available, a white light pulses in the button to remind you. It works in apps like the camera, music player and web browser. It’s an OK feature, but there’s nothing here you couldn’t do fairly easily without the button.

There’s also a dedicated camera button on the right edge which will launch the 5-megapxiel main camera. It is unusually chunky, and looks a little out of place in our view.

A bit too small
The price of the HTC Salsa indicates that its specifications aren’t going to be top-end. One let-down is the fact tha the 3.4in screen only delivers 480×320 pixels. Sure, the phone is easy for small hands to hold, but the low resolution is a disappointment. Another disappointment is the small amount of built-in storage. Just 512MB. The supplied 2GB microSD card boosts this somewhat, though.

Possibly most irritating of all, though, is the 800MHz processor, which is speedy enough in general but doesn’t support Flash. Android 2.3 benefits from HTC’s Sense user interface which has some of the most up-to-date tweaks onboard, such as a lock screen with four app shortcuts so you can immediately open the handset into them.

The usual Wi-Fi, HSDPA and GPS are here too, there’s an FM radio, and battery life was slightly above the average.

Company: HTC

Website: http://www.htc.com/uk

Positives
  • Dedicated Facebook button.
Negative
  • No Flash support, disappointing screen.

Verdict

The HTC Salsa is a nicely made smartphone, though the chassis is a bit iffy in places. The Facebook button is a bit gimmicky in that it doesn't offer anything new or special, but it does give you speedy access to Facebook features.