HTC has given its SMS messaging system a much-needed visual overhaul on the Salsa, with its threaded messages presented on little bits of paper with shadows beneath. There's only so much you can do to "sex up" text messaging.

HTC salsa review

Beside the SMS text entry window is an attachment button, which lets you add photos, videos, contacts in vCard format and vCalendar entries to messages. You can also add audio files, but there's a strict file size limit. So no pinging MP3s to your friends.

HTC salsa review

The Salsa's keyboard is HTC's tweaked take on the standard Android QWERTY. It's more usable than the stock option thanks to a selection of numbers and alternate characters above each key, accessed by long-pressing on a character.

This is more convenient than having to flip to a separate screen when keying in alpha-numeric stuff like passwords and email addresses.

HTC salsa review

By default, the keyboard will attempt to predict your word, with its best guess highlighted in green. If that's the one you want, pressing space puts it into the text field. It works well and the 3.4-inch screen is sensitive enough to register the lightest of fingertip typing. It's very nice to use.

HTC salsa review

You also have a choice of keyboards, with Phone and Compact options on offer. Phone is a standard numeric keypad complete with the same predictive text system, if you enjoy keeping your text entry old school...

HTC salsa review

...while Compact is this odd dual-character take on the QWERTY layout. It gives you bigger keys that are easier to hit, but in return you have to rely heavily on the predictive text doing its job. Which, to be fair, it does.

HTC salsa review

Email is handled on the HTC Salsa by a simple client that supports both MS Exchange ActiveSync accounts and anything else that uses POP3/IMAP authentication.

Presentation of text screens is one area where HTC Sense doesn't do a particularly great job, with its black-and-white screens not really setting the pulse racing.

HTC salsa review

Still, the email client works and gets the job done, supports multiple POP3/ IMAP and Exchange accounts, enables you to configure email groups with multiple recipients and configure options for maximum mail size download and update frequency, if you need to stay in control of mobile data use.