The Salsa is the result of HTC's attempt to create the ultimate Facebook phone. Letting you quickly upload entries to your Facebook wall at the touch of a button, it's likely to find favour with dedicated social butterflies, but there's much more to this phone that status updates and spamming your chums with pointless links.
SIM-free and unlocked, you can expect to part with around £320 for the Salsa. Contract prices are still to be announced, but you can expect the phone to be free on a £15-per-month contract.
At first glance, the Salsa bares more than a passing resemblance to HTC's unfairly ignored Legend handset. But the Salsa boasts a larger, 3.4-inch screen, with a 480x320-pixel resolution. Note that HTC's LCD technology still struggles to match the luminous brilliance of Samsung's Super AMOLED displays.
Physical controls are limited to a power button, volume rocker and a very welcome camera button. The only other key on the entire device is a seemingly inconspicuous blue button located just below the touch-sensitive Android shortcuts, but it's possibly the most significant part of the Salsa's design.
First against the wall
This dedicated Facebook button allows you to post content directly to your wall in a matter of seconds. It has multiple applications. For example, once you've taken a photo, the button glows to indicate you can upload it to your Facebook account. A quick tap and your image is uploaded and ready for all and sundry to gawp at.
A similar process can be followed to post links, share videos and even let people know what you're currently listening to on your phone's music player. Just make sure you don't accidentally push it when you've got Jedward on.
If you're the sort of person who loves to share every element of your life, this tiny little button is likely to become your best friend.
Places in the sun
The fun doesn't end there. Holding down the button for longer opens up the Facebook Places mode, which lets you check in at your current location or create a new location profile. Your friends will not only be informed of every photo, Web page and song you encounter, but also of your precise position, 24 hours a day.
Rampant social networking aside, the Salsa is very much a mid-range Android handset. The 800MHz CPU is nippy enough most of the time, but there are moments of noticeable lag when you're involved in processor-intensive tasks. The relatively humble nature of the CPU also means that browser-based Flash support is out of the question.
HTC's Sense skin sits snugly over the top of Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread, one of the most up-to-date versions of Android currently available. The version of Sense on the Salsa includes a new lock screen that allows you to jump directly to certain activities via shortcut icons.
HTC's Watch service, which allows you to view hi-def movies on your handset, hasn't made it to the Salsa, and nor has the company's flashy new Locations app. Thankfully, the drastically improved notification bar, offering shortcuts to important settings such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, remains firmly in place.
The Salsa comes with a 5-megapixel camera that's capable of recording standard-def videos. It also boasts a front-facing snapper for video calls.
Another unexpected surprise is the phone's impressive battery life. The 1,520mAh power cell keeps the Salsa ticking over for much longer than most Android handsets -- we got well over a day of active use out of the phone.
The HTC Salsa offers decent power, impressive battery life and a good screen, as well as handy Facebook features. If you're after a Facebook-focused phone, we reckon the Salsa's a better bet than the HTC ChaCha and INQ Cloud Touch. Even if you abhor social networking and shun status updates, that friendly blue button is easy enough to ignore when the rest of the package is so appealing.
Edited by Charles Kloet