Today we present you a review about the HTC One Mini, the miniature version of the first HTC One flagship. The One Mini was released in August of 2013 and went head to head with the miniature version of the Galaxy S4.
Lets take a look how the One Mini represented the brand.
Design and Ergonomics
The Mini is based on an awesome looking phone, so one would expect it to keep the looks of its elder brother and so it has.
It has a silver chassis with white sides and a metal rear much like the One and it also kept the speaker grilles at the top and bottom of the screen on the front.
Glad HTC did cut on what really made the One such a marvellous smartphone in the first place and kept its essence in the One Mini.
Much of the slots and buttons are on the same positions as they were on the One, lets take a look.
On the bottom side of the One Mini is the microUSB cable slot and a microphone, on the left is the microSIM card slot and on the right you will find the volume rocker buttons. Finally on the top is where you will find the power/lock button and the 3.5mm phone jack.
Contrary to what we saw on the One, the Mini does not have an IR blaster embedded in the power/lock button.
On the front you have the speaker grilles on the top and bottom of the Super LCD2 4.3 inch screen and near the top of the front of the device you will also find a 1.6MP frontal camera and a few sensors.
There is still no slot for a microSD card which means you will just have to make due with the 16GB provided by the One Mini.
The back is also a little bit different from the One’s back, you will see that the LED flash is now above the camera instead of on the left side and the noise cancellation dedicated mic also moved from the far right to the far left. On the bottom the beats audio logo also changed from the regular red and grey to an all grey version.
The One Mini has a 4.3 inch display with 720×1280 pixel resolution and 342 ppi is also comes with Gorilla Glass 3, just in case.
When you put it side by side with the One’s screen you will notice a difference in the colour brightness and sharpness but this is to be expected since the One has a full HD screen with 469 ppi.
Still the screen is pretty good to read emails, browse websites and even watch a few videos if you’re in to it.
There are no issues with viewing angles whatsoever you can lay the One Mini flat on the table and you will still be able to figure out clearly what is being displayed on the screen.
Performance and Software
Lets take a look at what’s under the hood first. The One Mini comes with a Dual Core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 a big drop from the 1.7GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 600 of the One.
It also has an Adreno 305 and 1GB of RAM, while the One boasted 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320.
So you might feel a little disappointed by looking at these specs but if you compare them with the ones on the S4 Mini you might just feel a little bit better as they have almost the same specs and the One Mini performs better than the S4 Mini all the way, which lets you know that specs are not everything and the software also has great impact when it comes to performance in these Mini versions of great flagships.
It is easy to create a monster smartphone with huge specs that performs great no matter what you throw at it, what is hard is reducing the specs to half and have it still perform as well as one would expect. This is usual where HTC succeeds and Samsung fails drastically.
The HTC One Mini comes with Android 4.2.2 and is planned to upgrade all the way up to Lollipop and the update to KitKat is available as of now as well.
We’re still not completely sold on Blinkfeed; we’d prefer instead to make stock Android screen our de facto home base. The topics and services available to add to the news and social feed haven’t noticeably changed (or expanded) since HTC launched the service. All told, it still feels like a protracted way for us to browse through social network content, some efforts to curate or focus on popular tweets, like Twitter does itself in its own discovery tab, would have been welcome.
Of course that being an HTC device the One Mini comes with the HTC Sense UI, which as all of us know is one of the most loaded UI overlays available, side by side with TouchWiz perhaps.
It comes with some preloaded apps to help you with your daily challenges, lets take a look at them:
- Kid Mode
- Polaris Office 5
- HTC Backup
- HTC Apps
- TuneIn Radio
Most of the applications mentioned above are already known by most of you, like Polaris Office and SoundHound.
Then we have the applications from HTC like HTC Backup and HTC Apps.
HTC Apps is much like a play Store for HTC devices that shows you the available apps for download and the currently installed HTC applications on your device.
HTC Backup will allow you to backup data like phone settings to the cloud and restore them if you happen to replace your phone with a new one. It also allows you to fetch your settings from a backup of an older Android or iOS device.
HTC Sync service stores apps, WiFi passwords, home screen layouts and more within a Dropbox file, and thus allows you to transfer your smartphone settings from an older HTC One to this new device. This setup also offers a stress-free way of recovering your phone’s layout and content should you ever lose (or have to replace) the hardware itself.
We have talked about Kid Mode, 7Digital, TuneIn dado and Car on the HTC One review, so if you want to know more, you can check it out here.
As far as performance goes the HTC One Mini beat the Galaxy S4 Mini everywhere user interface was important, even though benchmarks will probably tell you otherwise.
There was no lagging while using the Mini at any point, even when playing some of the more pushy games, as you will be able to see below in the gameplay performance video.
Much like the UltraPixel camera on the HTC One, the Mini’s rear camera is great in low light environments but usually overexposes in brightly light environment, often ruining pictures.
When you compare the quality of pictures taken with the Mini against the phones that came out that year and even the flagships of the year before you can easily say that it could be placed on the top 3, regardless of only having 4MP.
The lack of optical stabilisation unfortunately shows in a few of the shots taken with it, and you can find more only if you search a little bit.
It can also record 1080p video, even in HDR, and you can see the samples below.
The frontal 1.6MP camera is also a decent one and will do you no harm when making video calls or taking selfies.
Outdoor Video Sample:
Indoor Low Light Video Sample:
Indoor Flash Video Sample:
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Mini has about the same connectivity options as the One aside from NFC and the IR blaster, which by today’s standards are quite important but when it came out were just a novelty and a good to have.
When it comes to battery life the One Mini left us hanging at around 10hours of good use so if you are on the market for one or are intending to buy one make sure you keep your charger around as you will be needing to recharge it everyday if you use it regularly by checking emails, making phone calls and stuff like that.
The fact that it doesn’t have a removable battery is a point against it as with a small battery like this one at, 1800mAh you would probably be inclined to buy a spare and carry it around with you, well with the One Mini you can’t.
In The Box
Ultimately, it all comes down to pricing. The One Mini is a beautiful phone that feels and often handles like a top-tier model, even if it isn’t quite as classy as the One, but is the difference in the pricing of both models enough to drive people to buy the Mini instead of the full fledged version?
For most of us the drawbacks of not having NFC, IR blaster and optical image stabilisation will outweigh the savings when comparing to the One.
It still beats the similarly price Galaxy S4 Mini due to the better screen, camera and software so if you’re indecisive between these two the choice is quite easy.
The One Mini is a great smartphone all in all, if only it were a little bit cheaper…
Review by: Cátia Sofia Ferreira @ AndroidEmotions