Pros: really great to use with one hand, attractive design, 4G, and useful features like Zoe Mode and Boom Sound.
Cons: doesn’t support NFC and lacks a memory card slot.
Verdict: Wrapped in an attractive and stylish, svelte package, the HTC One Mini still fits in the best of the HTC One’s features, such as 4G support.
The original version of the HTC One got a five star rating. HTC hasn’t missed any of the best features off this handset.
One problem with smartphones is that they seem to be getting bigger and bigger. As a result, companies have started to include ‘mini’ versions of their flagship models. Samsung did just that with the Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4 smartphones. HTC has followed suit with the HTC One Mini, a smaller version of the HTC One.
Doing it again
Outwardly, you might think you’re looking at the original HTC One instead of the mini version. Looks wise, there’s a strong similarity. The HTC One Mini is just more slender, and has a longer look to it. In reality, the size of the HTC One Mini is a little smaller than the original. The HTC One had dimensions of 137 x 68 x 9.3mm. By contrast, the One Mini is 132 x 63 x 9.25mm. Not a lot of millimetres less, but they make a big difference. Surprisingly far more comfortable to grip in one hand, and use, it is the 122g weight that means it won’t weigh down your pocket.
Our favourite thing about the HTC One was the beautiful metallic finish. We were pleased HTC kept this rather than use it to save a bit on the overall price. The handset feels just as robustly built as its larger sibling, with the same scratch resistant finish. HTC’s aptly named Boom Sound speakers are also included, on the front of the chassis.
Apple set a trend in having the SIM card slot accessed by a pinhole slot, and HTC are following. Therefore there’s not access to the rear, and the battery, nor is there a memory card slot. You get 16GB of storage, but with 11GB available for use. For most users that is enough, but it won’t do a huge music collection, or a large apps collection, or an avid photographer.
The original HTC One has been updated with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and rather than stint, HTC are including the operating system here too. The interface matches the One as well, with the five desktops and BlinkFeed homepage. This streams updates, and headlines, from social networks and news feeds.
There were a number of news feeds you could access when we looked at the handset. These included the FT, Guardian, Reuters, Mobo, TechCrunch, FourFourTwo. BlinkFeed can be customised, so that, for example, it only refreshes when you’re on a WiFi connection. Handy for making sure you don’t use up all of your data allowance without even realising it.
Hey good looking
The truly stunning 4.7-inch display was an impressive feature on the HTC One. The One Mini has a smaller 4.3-inch screen, but the high-res display is still glorious. With its 341ppi resolution it outdoes the iPhone 5 from Apple. Not quite up to the Galaxy S 4’s 441ppi – a little bit unnecessarily high. The level of sharp detail you get is apparent as soon as a 1080p video is loaded. There’s no blurring, and the viewing angles are generous.
On the downside, the One Mini’s display isn’t as bright as we’d want. Not good for viewing outside in the glare from a sunny day. However, that’s probably not so much an issue in the UK as it might be in, say, Spain.
The return of Zoe
Stepping out of the megapixel race the competition is running in, HTC boldly went with an Ultrapixel lens on the HTC One. This doesn’t have a large number attached like a megapixel camera would, but it does have a very strong, and adaptable, lens. Photos were sharply detailed and looked great. This Ultrapixel technology can be found in the HTC One Mini too, with most of the features available. The only one we couldn’t find was optical image stabilisation. We were impressed with the resulting images.
Detail is lost when shooting an image at a distance. At least, the photo isn’t as clear as we have achieved on phones in the same price range. Closer images come out beautifully sharp and detailed though. Where the camera comes into its own though is inside, when used in dim lighting. The lens lets in enough light that shots come out grain-free, with realistic colours. Overall colours are vivid too, but the sort of rich tones you get on the Sony Xperia SP’s camera remain our preference. One major plus on the HTC One Mini is the super fast shutter button. Images are taken almost immediately after hitting this, and that’s really appreciated.
For a bit of fun try out the Zoe mode. This cool feature grabs 3 second videos, then it cuts footage together making a video out of it set to a soundtrack that you choose. We love how this makes a great momento of an event or a day on, for example, holiday. And you don’t have to do any hard graft. Just share the results on your favourite social media.
The front-facing camera is pretty good too. There’s the same crisp pictures, and the countdown you get on the HTC One. Makes it easy to take stunning profile pics everytime. The front camera on the HTC One takes a much wider angle picture, but with the Mini you could probably still squeeze in a small sized group shot.
It wouldn’t really be an HTC phone to rave about if HTC hadn’t included its Boom Sound. The audio is good enough to listen to music or watch movies without the need for earphones. The powerful dual speakers outdo nearly all other smartphones.
Also included is Beats Audio, a standard these days for HTC. We never thought it quite the treatment that others did, but still it does improve sound on old and poor quality tracks. It could only be turned off in settings, rather than the notifications menu (as it used to be, a much faster route). But the impact on battery power is minimal so that’s not so much of an issue.
We rather thought HTC would cut back by skipping on the 4G support, but no. There’s 4G LTE included so the phone is reasonably future-proof. At the moment only EE offer 4G, but prices should come down when the data network spreads and other providers join in. Vodafone is about to launch.
Unfortunately, the HTC Mini does have one casualty to its smaller size. There’s no NFC support, so no transferring files quickly or using it for contactless payments at the shops offering this option. Not a major deficiency though.
Another area where HTC had to cut back to fit the One into a mini size is the processor. No longer the muscled quad-core, this is now a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm. We did find that it handled everything we threw at the phone with ease. Our testing used the latest games, an action game, and a racing game. Frame rates were perfect, so this phone should last a while.
There’s no lacking where the battery performance is concerned either. Reasonable, moderate use saw the One Mini last 24 hours, and still have a quarter of its battery left. From a single charge we got around five hours when playing non-stop video on the HD screen.
It might be called the HTC One Mini, but it is only a little smaller than the HTC One. That said, it is much easier to hold, lighter in the pocket, and still has most of the impressive features we loved on the One, including the design, superb camera, and Boom Sound.
Dimensions : 132 x 63.2 x 9.25mm
Weight: 122 g
Screen size: 4.3 inch
Screen Resolution: 1280x720 pixels
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 342PPI
Processor speed: 1.4GHz
Battery capacity : 1800 mAh
Onboard Memory: 16GB
Memory card slot: microSD
Camera : 4 Ultra-pixel (HTC Zoe), 1.6 mega-pixel (front-facing)
Operating system: Google Android (Jelly Bean 4.2)
Wi-Fi / Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes/Yes/Yes/Yes
Bluetooth/NFC : Yes / No
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