So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. What is the HTC Salsa – is it a Facebook phone? It is if you want it to be, but then Facebook isn’t exactly alien to the Android world. There isn’t anything here that you can’t do elsewhere. Putting it against the INQ Cloud Touch, the other current “Facebook phone”, is a little unfair.
The Salsa is a higher spec device, offers a better Android experience reflecting HTC’s experience with these types of devices, but the Facebook experience is less cohesive than INQ’s. The INQ Cloud Touch manages to feel unique, whereas the Facebook experience on the HTC Salsa feels familiar, only fractionally removed from their existing features, so it all looks and feels like the adaption of HTC Sense that it is.
But that said the HTC Salsa is a great Android smartphone, a good example of how great the Android experience can be on a mid-range affordable device. It isn’t going to compete on the multimedia front with its bigger brothers, but in the core Android experience it responds well. We prefer it to the HTC Wildfire S, it offers more power and a few interesting tweaks that give you a little more to play with.
We’re not sold on the weird split colouring on the back panel, but otherwise, whether you’re a Facebook fan or not, the HTC Salsa is a great little phone.
When thinking of the HTC ChaCha, it’s worth setting the “Facebook phone” elements to one side. The ChaCha is a more important device than just Facebook and if the button was removed, you’d still have all those features anyway.
You get all the benefits of that connected Android experience, tying into your Google accounts and filling your phone with your contacts, email and calendars. HTC Sense has been sensibly scaled to fit onto this phone and that all works well, but we can’t help feeling that something is lost in the experience. If you have seen Android on larger devices then visually you miss-out with the ChaCha. Android might look cute, but you’ll find yourself struggling for space at times.
But that might be a sacrifice worth making if you crave a proper keyboard. We have a few problems with the keyboard, but none of them are critical. Annoying yes, but it’s still usable. Side-by-side with a BlackBerry and we prefer the keyboard on our Bold and the use of screen space, although much more basic visually, often means that you see a little more of what you are doing.
For those looking to venture into something a little different their BlackBerry then it has a lot of offer. However, the touchscreen experience offered by it’s sister handset the HTC Salsa is difficult to ignore, resulting in a richer experience with the benefit of a much better mobile internet experience.
Yes, it’s £29 more, but the difference between £70 for the Vodafone Smart and £99 for Orange’s little lovely is all the difference in the world. Pay the extra and you won’t regret it.
The budget smartphone market is set to become a really fierce battleground in the coming months, so once you’ve broken the £120 price barrier we’re starting to see some really nice handsets indeed for the cash.
While the Vodafone Smart is alright-ish for the money, unless you’re desperate for a back-up Android phone we’d recommend you save up for a month or two more and take a look at something like the Samsung Galaxy Ace too
Whether it’s just that we’re getting spoilt by the quality of the HTC range or that the brand simply can’t innovate at the electric pace it managed when it made Android smartphones good enough for the masses, the HTC Sensation doesn’t get our pulses racing like other models in its range have.
HTC Watch needs to a larger range of movies and TV shows before we can even begin to assess whether it’s going to take off or not – and the price seems a little high at this early stage.
We love the Sense UI still, and the ‘Unlock Ring’ is a cool addition to the party – we still want the notifications to be more interactive, but overall it’s still a neat idea.
The design of the phone is different and, in our eyes, pretty premium with the metallic feel and steel grill – the weight feels solid in the hand and the screen size is impressive and sharp.
It’s still not one of HTC’s best, but one we’d definitely recommend over a number of other phones in the marketplace and if you’re an HTC fan or just looking to get one of the cutting-edge dual core devices, we suggest you seriously think about the HTC Sensation.
The ChaCha is not a revolutionary device. Yes, the Facebook button is new and a few of the elements in there are premiered here but ultimately, it’s an evolution, not a revolution.
Having said that, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. You know what you’re getting here – a stable OS with an extra skin on top that has proven to be more than competent. And for the 14-21 year-olds who have their eye on this ‘Facebook phone’, it’ll be enough.
The price certainly is closer to the budget end of the scale, which we really like, and the quirkiness of the phone makes it a real breath of fresh air in a sea of indentikit black-slab touchscreens.
However, with the cramped screen it feels like the HTC ChaCha is a one trick pony at times – get bored of the Facebook integration and you’ll probably start casting envious glances at your friends’ whizzbang phones and thinking ‘do I really love having a keyboard?’
When you turn the ChaCha on, you’re greeted with HTC’s logo and slogan: “Quietly Brilliant”. There’s certainly nothing quiet about the ChaCha – and while ‘brilliant’ may be pushing just a little, it’s certainly not far off for the Facebook generation
No camera, no Internet, no touchscreen — the Emporia RL1′s specifications read like something from the depths of mobile history. Don’t expect a pay as you go handset to challenge the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Mini and Orange San Francisco -– the RL1 has been designed to please elderly consumers rather than young gadget fiends. We can’t help feeling the relatively high price tag is slightly exploitative, making too much of the phone’s simplicity.
Still, if you favour usability over functionality, this could be your dream handset. But if you feel you’re able to master something a little more demanding, explore some of the other budget options out there, such as the Motorola Gleam or Sony Ericsson Cedar.
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.
The Samsung Solid Immerse is well hard, but it’s let down by its disappointing software, a dismal camera and lacklustre battery life. If you’re deadly serious about acquiring a phone that you can depend on when Mother Nature turns nasty, we’d recommend the Motorola Defy. Should your budget not stretch to a smart phone, the Solid Immerse is a worthy contender — just make sure it’s fully charged before you go for a long walk in the hills alone.
The HTC Salsa may be a smaller, budget device, with Facebook at its core but it’s actually a surprisingly grown up smartphone. It’s smartly styled, speedy in operation, packed full of features, and can get you to Facebook nirvana quicker than you can say toasted Tortilla. Whether your desire for Facebook fripperies is strong enough to overcome the slightly high price is more of a personal preference issue but if you do like the idea then it’s very well executed.
The HTC Sensation is a frustrating device. Why? Because it comes so close to perfection but doesn’t quite manage it. The high resolution screen is great but the quality of it lets it down a tad, some of the software tweaks are great but yet video support is poor, and while the performance is amazing, battery life isn’t so much. Nonetheless, if battery life proves to be better once usage has settled down then the screen quality issue is certainly something we can overlook as the rest of the device is so delightful. It’s beautifully made and styled, it’s incredibly fast, the camera’s good, and call quality isn’t half bad either. All told, despite a few niggles, it’s definitely up there with the best dual-core smartphones.
The Motorola Atrix may look standard at first glance, but a feast of features, along with those accessories, offer hidden depths. Whether this mobile gadgetry will set the tone for future, more powerful smartphones remains to be seen. But as far as roadmaps go, Motorola has certainly taken an interesting turn.
The stand-out feature, obviously, is the gimmick that is 3D and it’s very well-executed. And yet the LG Optimus 3D has a lot more going for it, thanks to a great screen, easy connectivity for video playback on a flatscreen TV and a fast dual-core processor. Lest we forget that whopping 4.3in screen means this is a big phone: if you’re one of those people who finds the iPhone largish, this one is a behemoth in comparison. Get it in your hand before you buy – anyway, you’ll want to check the 3D out first, too. If the size suits you, this is a highly attractive phone.
Another quality handset from HTC and this is the hero of the bunch, with a fast dual core processor, the latest Sense user interface goodies, Android 2.3 and, for once, the company manages to build a half-decent camera.