Apple is one of the few companies that still makes small screened high end phones, with its flagship handset the iPhone 5S being its best yet. HTC’s latest flagship is not small, but the company has produced a mini version, the HTC One Mini 2, which retains many of the good things about its full fat sibling while shrinking the size. But how well does the HTC One Mini 2 stand up to the iPhone 5S?
Both of these handsets have a sumptuously premium build. The HTC One Mini 2 has a curved, brushed aluminium back which fits comfortably in the hand. The edges aren’t quite so impressive, thanks to a plastic band running the length of them, but things improve again on the front, which is mostly screen, flanked by speaker grills at the top and bottom. At 137.4 x 65 x 10.6mm and 137g it’s not as compact as you might expect, but it feels solid and well built.
The iPhone 5S is similarly premium, perhaps even slightly more so. It has a distinctive two-tone aluminium and glass body with not a sliver of plastic in sight. At 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and 112g it’s compact, slim and light too. Both phones look great but the iPhone 5S edges it, by both being more distinctive and avoiding plastic entirely.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 4.5 inch 720 x 1280 Super LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, while the iPhone 5S has a 4.0 inch 640 x 1136 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. So while the size and resolution differ the pixel density is the same on both phones.
So size is the main difference, with the iPhone 5S coming out slightly more compact but also arguably slightly cramped. However the iPhone 5S has a marginally better screen overall as the HTC One Mini 2 tends to look a little washed out unless you pump the brightness right up, whereas the iPhone 5S suffers no such fate.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, which while respectable enough really marks it out as being a mid-range rather than top end phone. In practice performance is fine but noticeably slower than it could be, often taking several seconds to load apps for example.
The iPhone 5S has a 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A7 processor and 1GB of RAM, which might not sound any better but in practice it’s slick, fast and powerful, easily outdoing the HTC One Mini 2 for performance.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 13 megapixel camera with a single LED flash. It can also shoot video in 1080p at 30fps and has a 5 megapixel front facing camera. It’s capable of taking some decent pictures and the front-facing camera particularly impresses with its relatively high megapixel count.
The iPhone 5S has an 8 megapixel camera with a dual-LED True Tone flash for more natural colour reproduction. It can also shoot video in 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 120fps and has a 1.2 megapixel front facing camera. That makes it far worse for selfies than the HTC One Mini 2, but the main camera is a little better, producing more vivid yet natural images.
The HTC One Mini 2 has a 2110 mAh battery capable of up to 556 hours of standby time or 16 hours and 10 minutes of talk time, while the iPhone 5S has a 1560 mAh battery rated for up to 250 hours of standby time or 10 hours of talk time, so of the two the HTC One Mini 2 is best, though neither phone has top flight battery life.
The HTC One Mini 2 comes with 16GB of built in storage along with a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 128GB. The iPhone 5S on the other hand has a choice of 16, 32 or 64GB of built in storage, but there’s no microSD card slot, so the HTC One Mini 2 has more potential storage overall.
Both phones support Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0, however the HTC One Mini 2 goes one better by also supporting NFC.
The HTC One Mini 2 and iPhone 5S have a couple of things in common. They’re both well designed, aesthetically pleasing smartphones with fairly small screens, which is a rare combination. However there’s also a whole lot that’s different about them. The most obvious difference is of course the operating system, with the iPhone 5S running iOS 7, while the HTC One Mini 2 run Android 4.4.2.
But the differences go a lot deeper than that and in most cases the iPhone 5S comes out on top. It has a slightly more impressive build, a marginally better screen and a slightly better camera. The differences become more pronounced when you look at the performance, with the iPhone 5S running circles around the HTC One Mini 2.
That said not everything comes out in the iPhones 5S’s favour. It has slightly worse battery life, no microSD card slot and no NFC and while it’s better in most areas the differences in everything other than performance are quite small.
That’s still enough for the iPhone 5S to come out as the best phone of the two, but not by as much as you might expect and it’s a conclusion that makes us all the more desperate for the iPhone 6.
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