HTC Salsa review: "Like" it or not

GSMArena team, 15 July 2011.
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Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Emails are important too

The HTC Salsa comes with two email apps – the traditional Gmail app and the generic HTC Mail app, which merges all your email accounts into a single inbox.

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Batch operations lets you manage multiple conversations

The Gmail app features the trademark conversation-style view and can manage multiple (Gmail) accounts. Batch operations are supported too, in case you need to handle email messages in bulk.

The standard HTC Mail app features several tabs that let you filter the inbox: you can opt to display conversations, emails with attachments only, unread mail only or invitations. You can mark emails too – they will show up in the marked mail tab.

The conversation view tries to mimic the original Gmail client threaded view, which is otherwise missing in the generic inbox.

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The standard HTC email app

The HTC email app can handle several accounts and not just from Gmail. When you add multiple accounts, you can view each inbox individually or go into the All accounts section.

Each account is color coded, so you can quickly associate each message with its relevant account.

Email sorting is possible (in either ascending or descending order) by date, subject, sender and size. The currently applied filter is displayed in the top right corner of the display.

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The standard mail with new looks and features • Viewing email

There's hardly anything the HTC Salsa lacks in terms of email capabilities. The settings for popular email services are automatically configured. POP/IMAP accounts and Active Sync accounts are supported.

The image gallery doesn't surprise

The gallery has the usual list-with-thumbnail structure. The Albums app automatically locates images and videos, no matter where they are stored. Images and videos stored in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder – which is an effective file management solution.

Each sub-album has a thumbnail of the latest image. There is also a camera shortcut, but it’s only available once you start browsing any of the sub-folders.

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The Albums app works with Facebook and Flickr

At the bottom of the main album there are three virtual buttons – one for the actual folder list, another for Facebook and, one for Flickr. These two display images from either account or those posted by your friends.

Sharing a photo on the HTC Salsa is very easy – tap the share button and pick your preferred sharing method. There’s everything from sharing via Bluetooth or email, to posting on Facebook, Twitter or photo sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. You can also upload videos straight to YouTube.

If Facebook is your primary target it's even easier - while viewing an album or a single photo, you can hit the Facebook button and Salsa will offer to share that picture (or let you choose some photos from the current album) to share on Facebook.

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Browsing the image gallery

In the HTC Salsa image folders you can choose between grid and filmstrip layout (flip the phone horizontally and the accelerometer will take care of the rest). You are also able to mass delete images, but still no mass copy-and-paste options.

You can’t copy/paste images from folder to folder either – you’d need a proper file manager for that.

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Sharing images is easy • Share to Facebook with the F key • Basic image editing tools

HTC Salsa supports multi-touch and you can take full advantage of it while browsing your images. You can also use double-tap, but it almost never zooms up to 100%. The implementation here is extra smooth too.

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Smooth finger-sweep browsing of images and pinch zoom

The good news is that the Salsa displays the full-resolution photos in its gallery, rather than the downsized versions most of the droids in its class show.

The video player handles DivX/XviD but has lots of limitations

Video files can be accessed in the All videos subfolder in the Gallery or from the Videos shortcut in the menu, they launch the same thing.

The video files can be viewed as a grid or filmstrip and can be shared over MMS, email, or YouTube, and Facebook.

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The Videos app is part of the Gallery • Playing video

The video player interface on the HTC Salsa offers a full screen toggle (stretch / crop video to fit the screen) and you can scrub through the video too. There are no subtitle, DLNA and SRS support.

The video player does OK in general - WVGA MP4 videos were not a problem. The player handled a few of the XviD videos up to VGA resolution (and few WVGA) and up to 250-300MB, which really limits the number of things you can watch on the Salsa (a typical XviD-encoded 45-minute episode is 350MB). Most of the DivX files didn’t play successfully though. MKV files are a no-go too.

The music player is a looker

The standard music library view is the Artists section, but you can easily switch to one of the other six tabs beneath, which are for Albums, All Songs and Playlists.

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The music library

The now playing interface is a Cover-Flow-like visualization of the current playlist – you can swipe sideways to skip songs or go back. You can opt to view the full playlist if you need to skip more than a few phones.

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The new player interface is nice • Player controls in the notification area

Two shortcuts in the top corners act as toggles for shuffle and repeat. From the context menu, you can share a song (over Bluetooth, email or message) and you can set it as a ringtone.

What's really missing here is an equalizer - the Salsa offers nothing, not even a few presets. We realize it's not a music phone but still, an equalizer is something that modern phones should have.

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The music player in the lockscreen and the notification area

FM radio

The Salsa is also equipped with an FM radio, which has a pretty simple interface. It automatically scans the area for the available stations and saves them in a list. Later, you can rename or delete those stations and add new ones too. It also supports RDS and allows loudspeaker playback.

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The FM radio UI

One thing that annoyed us about the radio is that it takes quite a while to start and stop – about five seconds.

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