HTC One Mini Review
Abbas Jaffar Ali
Unlike Apple, HTC realises that one size does not fit all. As good as the HTC One is, some people will prefer a bigger phablet or one that is smaller in size. Being an iPhone user for many years, I prefer my phone to be a bit narrower to easily use it in one hand. Anything that requires a larger screen looks better on my tablet regardless. Thus, I was quite excited when HTC formally announced the HTC One Mini. They took, what I think is the best Android phone and shrunk it to the size I preferred. A match made in heaven? Lets find out.
I received the review sample from HTC which meant that it came in a white soap box. Packed inside was the charger and a pair of headphones and that’s pretty much it. I’m assuming that the retail packaging will probably look more like the HTC One which is like a personal pizza-sized box.
As one would expect, the HTC One Mini looks very much like the HTC One shrunk down. You have the same aluminium back although with a width of 63mm which is closer to an iPhone. Along with the size, HTC has also cut down on the weigh to make the HTC One Mini a fairly light device that feels great in your hand.
There is one design element that I am not too fond of on the HTC One Mini and that is the glossy plastic band that runs around the device. The classy look of the HTC One looks a bit cheapened with the shiny look of the band. Although I haven’t seen one, I think the matte black would probably look better.
Like the HTC One, you have the power button and a 3.5mm audio jack on the top. Unlike the bigger sibling, there is no iR transmitter on the power button but it is slightly more raised making it easier to access. Volume keys are present on the right while the MicroSIM slot is on the right. At the bottom you have the microUSB connector.
The back features the same 4 Ultrapixel camera as the one found on the HTC One, however without the Optical Image Stabilization which means that you need to be a bit more steady when taking shots with the Mini than with the bigger HTC One. The front camera has also been downgraded from 2.1 megapixels to 1.6 megapixels, and also does not feature the wide-angle lens found on the HTC One. Like the HTC One, the pair of BoomSound stereo speakers sits on either side of the screen and produces as loud of a noise as the HTC One.
The following chart compares the HTC One Mini to the HTC One as well as the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.
As you can see from the specs above, the HTC One Mini’s smaller screen has a lower resolution while the processor also goes down from a Quad-core Snapdragon 600 to a Dual-core Snapdragon 400. Neither one of these makes a big difference as far as every-day usage is concerned. The HTC One mini scored 1332 in Geekbench and 4418 in 3D Mark Ice Storm test – not the fastest phone but to be expected as HTC has reserved that spot for the bigger sibling.
Where you do see a bit of a difference is the slashed RAM from 2GB to 1GB. At many instances, I noticed switching between apps took a bit longer than it did with the HTC One, especially the Facebook app. Although not frustrating, you do feel the lag after getting used to the HTC One. HTC has also cut the storage to 16GB and with no expansion slot, this ends up as being one of my other complains with the device. This is especially felt if you take Zoes – 5 second video clips at full HD resolution that end up taking a lot more chunk out of your storage than a standard picture.
HTC has also cut out NFC and iR on the HTC One, although I didn’t use either of these so for me it wasn’t much of an issue. Thankfully HTC has kept the awesome BoomSound speakers which continue to provide good, loud sound and have enough distance between them to give you a stereo effect. While the 4.7” full-HD screen is more fun to watch videos on, the HTC One Mini’s 4.3” screen is still bigger than the iPhone or the BlackBerry Z10 giving you a decent size to enjoy videos. Also, the resolution of 1280×720 is the highest I’ve seen on an Android phone of this size.
The HTC One Mini has the same 4 Ultrapixel camera found on the HTC One, however, it lacks the Optical Image Stabilization feature. That means that you need to be steady when taking shots. Here is an example of two pictures of the same menu taken from HTC One Mini. What I recommend is just leave your finger on the shutter for a few seconds which makes the HTC One Mini take burst shots at pretty amazing speeds and then select the best shot so the rest get deleted.
Like the HTC One, the Ultrapixel camera on the HTC One Mini is capable of recording Zoes which are five second video clips at full HD resolution. You can put Zoes and pictures together to create a really nice YouTube clip- probably one of the best features of the HTC One series. Here are some sample images taken from the HTC One Mini.
The HTC One Mini has a 1700mAh which is a tad bit smaller that the 2200mAh found on the bigger version. However, with the slower processor and smaller screen, the HTC One Mini also does not consume as much battery. The first couple of days of using the HTC One Mini were not the best from a battery point of view and I was barely able to make it through the day. However, as the battery got better conditioned, the device started lasting longer and by the end of my first week with the device, I was almost getting a full day of average use. With high usage such as using the camera extensively or streaming videos through LTE, I would recommend carrying a battery pack with you that can charge on the go.
The HTC One Mini is like the name suggests, a mini version of the HTC One. While it has lower specs, the performance of the HTC One Mini does not feel sacrificed. If you were thinking about getting the HTC One but prefer something more in terms of the iPhone as far as size is concerned, the HTC One Mini is your best bet among all other Android handsets.