A few years back, not many people had ever heard of HTC. These days, we can't open our inboxes at CNET Australia without being told about yet another HTC mid-range phone. Already this year, we've had the Wildfire S, theand the . You can add to the ranks of HTC's mid-range offerings the HTC Salsa. It's named, like the , for the Spanish dance, and not so much to a spicy tomato-based sauce per se.
What it looks like is an HTC phone. Almost like the generic HTC phone, it's got touches of the Wildfire and Legend design, boiled down into a phone that also features the same "f" button for direct Facebook sharing found on the ChaCha. Like the ChaCha, it's a Vodafone exclusive handset, although unlike the ChaCha there's no outright purchase option; if you want a Salsa you'll have to sign up for a minimum 24-month AU$29 contract, giving the Salsa an effective AU$696 price tag.
The HTC Salsa and ChaCha are paired not only by the presence of the "f" button, but also by very similar internal specifications. The Salsa runs on an 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") and Sense 2.1, just like the ChaCha. The rear camera is a 5-megapixel model, also just like the ChaCha. They're both Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g/n compatible. Where the ChaCha and Salsa differ externally is in the Salsa's more traditional Android design, as there's no physical keyboard and, as a result, a much larger display screen, measuring in at 3.4 inches to the ChaCha's 2.6 inches, although both share the same 480x320-pixel resolution. The Salsa also comes with a slightly larger internal battery at 1520mAh. HTC reckons that's good for up to 585 minutes of talk time and 465 hours of standby time.
The Salsa features a 5-megapixel camera with flash that's stated to be identical to the ChaCha, so we set out with one of each phone as well as the much higher-endto see how well the Salsa's camera fared. Most mid-range phones feature mid-range cameras that do a passable but not great job, and camera clarity has been a notable problem for HTC in the past.
The Salsa performed adequately for a smartphone, and was a little easier to shoot with than the ChaCha simply due to the better screen making framing and steady shots easier. It had much the same tendency as the ChaCha to slightly oversaturate colours and sometimes leave a slight pinkish hue to some shots that the Galaxy S II totally avoided, although it's well worth noting that the Galaxy S II is a much more expensive phone.