3 way mini smartphone shoot out sees the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact vs HTC One mini vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.
Samsung, HTC and Sony have all delivered some impressive flagship phones in the last year or so, but with screen sizes hovering around the 5 inch mark they’re just a little bit too big for some people.
With that in mind each company has made a smaller version of their top end phones, but in some cases it’s more than just the screen sizes which have changed. So how do these three mini marvels stack up? Read on to find out.
The Sony Xperia Z1 Compact adopts a similar design to its big brother, which means a glass front with aluminium edges. although the back cover is now plastic (but it's hard to tell from looking). It’s still a high quality design and water and dust proof too.
The HTC One mini is similar in design to the stunning HTC One, with the same metal back and metal speaker grills, but it’s stuck with a plastic frame rather than a metal one. The overall look and feel of the phone is a match for the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, but it’s not water or dust proof.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has the weakest design, as much like the full size Galaxy S4 it’s clad in plastic with only a metallic rim giving it any edge of quality.
The 4.3 inch 720 x 1280 display on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact has a pixel density of 342 pixels per inch, which is higher than the iPhone 5S. It’s a good quality screen too with rich colours.
The HTC One mini above has an identically sized 4.3 inch 720 x 1280 display with an identical 342 pixels per inch and it’s similarly stunning too, with colours that pop out of the screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is once again the weakest of the three here, as while it too has a 4.3 inch display it’s only 540 x 960, leaving it with a pixel density of 256 pixels per inch. That’s not bad by any means but it lacks the sharpness of its competitors.
With a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a seriously powerful little phone. In fact it has all the power of its big brother, leading to blazingly fast performance.
The HTC One mini doesn’t fare quite so well, with just a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It’s still a fairly snappy performer but those are some distinctly mid-range specs.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini above splits the difference with a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. It’s still dwarfed by the Z1 Compact but it out-powers the HTC One mini.
There’s a rather impressive 20.7 megapixel camera tucked away in the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. It rivals entry level cameras and outperforms most smartphone snappers by a significant margin. It also has a 2 megapixel front facing camera and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps.
The HTC One mini uses HTC’s divisive UltraPixel technology in its 4 megapixel camera. It’s better than you’d expect a 4 megapixel camera to be and it really holds its own in poor lighting, but as an all round camera it’s a fair bit worse than the one in the Xperia Z1 Compact. The One mini also has a 1.6 megapixel front facing camera and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini above has an 8 megapixel main camera along with a 1.9 megapixel secondary snapper and it can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. In well lit conditions it can take better pictures than the HTC One mini while in low light the HTC has the edge, but again it’s worse than the Z1 Compact overall.
The Z1 Compact has a fairly good 2300 mAh battery which can last for up to 600 hours on standby or 18 hours of talk time. The HTC One mini has a smaller but longer lasting 1800 mAh battery quoted for 692 hours of standby or 20 hours and 40 minutes of talk time. The S4 Mini has the weakest battery life as its 1900 mAh battery will run out of juice after 12 hours of talk time or 300 hours of standby.
Both the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and the HTC One Mini come with 16GB of onboard storage, but while the Xperia Z1 Compact has a microSD card slot the HTC One mini doesn’t. The Galaxy S4 Mini only has 8GB of internal storage but like the Z1 Compact it can be expanded with a microSD card.
All three handsets support Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G LTE and Bluetooth 4.0, but the Xperia Z1 Compact also supports NFC and the S4 Mini supports both NFC and infrared.
Sony, Samsung and HTC have all done a good job of shrinking down their flagships to more pocket sized dimensions, but there are some key differences between them, as while the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact really is just a smaller version of the Xperia Z1, the HTC One mini and S4 Mini have lower specs than their big brothers making them more mid-range.
With that in mind the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is indisputably the best of the three. It’s by far the most powerful, has the best build quality, the most impressive camera and the most storage potential. It also has a stunning screen.
The HTC One mini has a similarly impressive screen, the best battery life and almost as good a build but it’s the least powerful of the three, has a good but not great camera and is lacking for connectivity options.
While the S4 Mini has the worst screen, the worst build quality and disappointing battery life, leaving it in last place overall, though it does have an impressive range of connectivity options and a reasonable amount of power.
All that said the top end specs of the Xperia Z1 Compact come with a top end price tag of £449 SIM-free, while the HTC One mini is available from around £300 and the S4 Mini can be had for just £270. So yes, the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is the best of the three, but the HTC One mini is arguably the best value.
Have you read 3G's reviews of the above mini smartphones?
How does the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact fare against the Apple iPhone 5S?
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