HTC Salsa review: "Like" it or not

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

Good audio quality

When the HTC Salsa is used with an active external amplifier, it has an audio output identical to its Facebook sibling, the HTC ChaCha. This is actually pretty good news as it means that its ouput is pretty good, except for the slightly higher-than-average intermodulation distortion.

And when headphones come into play, the Salsa manages to even outdo the ChaCha. You do notice a bit of a rise in the intermodulation distortion reading and stereo-crosstalk, but they both remain pretty decent for the class. The rest of the readings basically remained unchaged, which is a pretty good achievement, too. Unfortunately, volume levels on the Salsa aren't particularly high.

And here come the full results so you can see for yourselves:

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
HTC Salsa+0.12, -0.49-86.087.90.0240.172-85.5
HTC Salsa (headphones attached)+0.23, -0.28-85.887.80.0210.358-69.0
HTC ChaCha+0.13, -0.49-85.887.80.0230.144-84.8
HTC ChaCha (headphones attached)+0.49, -0.31-85.786.40.0210.396-67.8
HTC Wildfire S+0.15, -0.79-81.384.10.0260.131-81.3
HTC Wildfire S (headphones attached)+0.56, -0.34-81.083.10.0260.324-68.1
LG Optimus One P500+0.17, -1.69-85.687.20.0210.301-86.2
LG Optimus One P500 (headphones attached)+0.19, -1.36-85.486.90.0210.643-46.5
Samsung S5260 Star II+0.08, -0.51-85.685.60.00500.071-61.2
Samsung S5260 Star II (headphones attached)+0.80, -0.28-85.485.40.0130.449-42.7

HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Mediocre 5 megapixel snapper

The HTC Salsa packs a 5MP camera for stills of up to 2592x1952 pixel resolution. The phone does D1 videos @ 24fps too, unlike the HD-capable Desire Z, which is based on the same Snapdragon chipset. There’s a single-LED flash, which can also be used as video light.

The camera interface is very space efficient. Most of the controls are on the right side of the viewfinder, with the virtual shutter in the center. There’s a virtual zoom slider on the left.

HTC Salsa HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa camera interface

The HTC Salsa features touch focus and face detection; geotagging is enabled too.

Continuous autofocus lets the camera focus as you reframe – quite useful even though the Salsa has a dedicated shutter key for that.

Now the HTC Salsa image quality is relatively fine as far as phones go, but it exhibits a pronounced pink spot issue dead center on all photos. The pink spot is so big that it's enough to ruin the color rendering on regular daylight shots. It's most easily visible on our white resolution chart board further down.

Other than that noise levels are kept low and the amount of resolved detail is decent. Unfortunately, the camera department remains the weakest point in HTC's otherwise nice products.

You can check out the camera samples below.

HTC Salsa HTC Salsa HTC Salsa HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa HTC Salsa HTC Salsa HTC Salsa
HTC Salsa camera samples

Photo quality comparison

The HTC Salsa enters our Photo Compare Tool to join the other 5MP shooters. The tool’s page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.

The white resolution chart clearly show the biggest issue of HTC Salsa camera - the dreaded pink spot seen on many recent cameraphones. In thins case it's rather big and leaves it's pinkish mark on the otherwise nicely rendered colors. The HTC ChaCha, the other Facebook phone, which we reviewed quite recently, has the exact same issue.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
HTC Salsa in our Photo Compare Tool

Passable D1 videos

The interface of the camcorder is similar to the still camera’s and there are a few customizable options. You can set the video resolution, recording limit and add effects.

HTC Salsa HTC Salsa
The new camcorder interface

Autofocus works here too. You can focus before shooting with the camera key and leave it that way or you can use the touch focus later to change it. The Salsa had no problems getting in focus everything, even at very close distance.

Videos are stored in 3GP format. The resolved detail in the video is good for the D1 resolution, but the pink spot leaves its mark here as well. The still from the YouTube video sample below clearly shows the pinkish tint.

Here goes an untouched D1@24fps video clip.

Or you can check out this sample we uploaded to YouTube.

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