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HTC One Mini hands-on review

We test drive HTC's pint-sized Android smartphone
Thu Jul 18 2013, 09:46

TAIWANESE PHONE MAKER HTC's One Mini smartphone is finally out in the open, following months of speculation and leaked images.

As its name suggests, the HTC One Mini is a downsized, cheaper version of the company's flagship HTC One smartphone, which has been one of the firm's most popular handsets. Clearly aware of this, the HTC One Mini takes tips from Samsung's Galaxy S4 Mini and goes after those who don't want to fork out for a top-end smartphone, but want to benefit from premium features.

On first glance, the HTC One Mini looks identical to its top-end sibling, boasting the same premium aluminium unibody design, arguably one of the HTC flagship smartphone's most appealing features.

HTC One Mini features an aluminum and plastic casing

However, on closer inspection it becomes clear that HTC has cut some corners to keep the price of the One Mini handset low. Rather than retaining the flush, smooth design of the HTC One, the HTC One Mini has been built with a plastic edging. While this feels like it could withstand a hefty knock or two and is likely to protect the handset from scratches, it does cheapen the design somewhat and makes the handset feel a little chunkier in the hand.

Speaking of size, the HTC One Mini is small, and despite its frustrating plastic edging it still sits comfortably in the hand. The device measures 132x63x9.25mm and weighs a mere 120g. HTC has even removed the handset's NFC capability to keep it small, and we doubt that many people will miss this underused feature.

For those not so keen on the Glacial Silver model we got to test, HTC said the handset will also be available in Stealth Black.

The HTC One Mini features a downsized 4.3in HD 720p screen with a pixel density of 341ppi. While this sounds pale in comparison to the HTC One's 469ppi HD 1080p display, it didn't leave us disappointed. Although it's perhaps not as crisp as the screen on the flagship HTC One handset, we noticed that colours were noticeably more vibrant on the HTC One Mini than on other smartphones at this price point.

HTC One Mini features a 4.3in screen

The handset is powered by a dual-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and while a dual-core chip is unlikely to impress many nowadays, we noticed no lag whatsoever while using the handset, with the HTC One Mini quickly opening Angry Birds and Facebook. We have yet to benchmark the phone, but will be sure to do so during our full review.

While the HTC One Mini's screen and processor have been downgraded, the handset features the same 4MP Ultrapixel camera as its larger sibling, complete with f/2.0 aperture, BSI sensor, HD video recording and HTC's camera software features.

HTC One Mini has a 4MP Ultrapixel camera

We had a brief play with the camera, and it seemed to perform identically to that on the HTC One. However, we weren't very impressed with HTC's Ultrapixel technology on the HTC One, with the camera struggling to handle bright lighting conditions.

The HTC One MIni also features 16GB of non-expandable internal storage, 4G LTE support and a 1,800mAh battery, which HTC claims will offer up to 20 hours of constant talk time. We'll be putting that to the test shortly.

Unlike the original HTC One, the HTC One Mini ships running the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This gives the handset a handful of additional features, such as the ability to remove the launcher bar from the bottom of the screen, although there are no groundbreaking changes included in the update.

HTC One Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean is skinned with the same HTC Sense 5.0 user interface found on HTC One. This means that HTC's Blinkfeed widget is at the forefront of the handset, and while we found this to be a nice feature, we chose to remove it from the homescreen on our HTC One.

We have yet to fully explore the HTC One Mini's software, but will do so when we have more time with the handset.

First impressions
It's hard not to like the HTC One Mini. Although we weren't too fond of the handset's plastic edging or Ultrapixel camera technology, the handset offers a smaller, more manageable version of the HTC One flagship smartphone at a discounted price. We noticed barely any performance differences between the two handsets, and although the screen has been downgraded significantly, it still outshines the screens that are on most of the other mid-range handsets on the market right now. µ


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