HTC One Mini Review

HTCOneMini2
The HTC One Mini cuts a few slices out of the basic HTC One recipe, but still remains a satisfying smaller Android handset.

HTC One Mini: On the plus side

The HTC One remains my favourite Android handset released this year (although I’m very keen to give the Note 3 a proper test), so the prospect of a smaller HTC One, given my own general preferences towards smaller handsets was quite a welcome one.

The thing about the HTC Mini is that it shows where the Android market is really going — and it’s not in a Mini direction. This is a 4.3″ 1280×720 341ppi screened phone; by way of comparison the original HTC One has a 4.7 inch 1920×1080 468ppi LCD screen. That’s not a huge gulf in size terms, and as such it’s not particularly Mini.

It’s still an exceptionally nicely designed handset, and in the mid-range tier that the HTC One Mini sits in, that’s something of a rarity. It’s perfectly feasible to pick up a cheap Android handset these days, but they’re almost all terribly plastic, clunky things in the lower tier price bracket. The HTC One Mini isn’t, and that’s well worth noting. You don’t quite get the cool factor of an aluminium unibody design — the sides of the HTC One Mini are plastic — but it still looks quite good.

The HTC One Mini uses the same “ultrapixel” camera as the HTC One, with a 4 megapixel resolution. That doesn’t sound like much, but the use of larger sensor sites means it’s a camera that shoots above its weight. When the One launched, it was pretty much the camera for the others to beat, but in the meantime, Nokia’s launched its Lumia 1020. It’s an unfair test, but I pitted the two against each other shooting a quick shot under my desk, where Mini-MechaGodzilla lurks. Here’s the HTC One Mini:

HTCOneMini_MGZ

And here’s the Lumia 1020.

Lumia1020_MGZ

The Lumia 1020 takes a better photo — but then it costs twice as much, so it most certainly should. For a camera in this price range, the HTC One Mini acquits itself very well indeed, although many of the features in its “Zoe” camera app have been duplicated elsewhere in the meantime.

HTC One Mini: On the minus side

It’s not entirely “Mini” in size, given that the HTC One wasn’t a colossus anyway, but there are other factors in the HTC One Mini’s construction that show its slightly budget style. The processor drops to a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400, which means it slides down the benchmarking scales a little; it managed 1371 to the original device’s 2735.

There’s only 16GB of storage onboard, and, like its bigger brother, it’s totally sealed, so 16GB is all you’ll ever have. NFC has also been chopped out, and while the rear camera is mostly identical, the front camera is now a 1.6MP camera, which means it’ll only shoot at 720p where the HTC One manages 1080p.

Blinkfeed, HTC’s social-magazine-homescreen concept is also still part of the HTC One offering. I didn’t much like it in the HTC One, and I’m still not sold on it.

HTCOneMini1

All of these are factors that, frankly don’t detract that much from the HTC One Mini’s value proposition given its price, but there is one factor where HTC’s made cuts that will affect how you use it, and that’s the battery. The HTC One has a 2,300mAh battery, and with reasonable 4G LTE use, it’d just about last a day before needing recharging.

The HTC One Mini’s sealed battery is only 1,800mAh.

That’s a recipe for a battery going flat before the day is out, and as such any user needs to be aware of it. With lower usage I managed OK, but if I was seriously pushing the HTC One Mini, it’d run out of juice well before it turned into a pumpkin again.

HTC One Mini: Pricing

Telstra offers the HTC One Mini on a $60 contract plan with a $2 handset repayment over 24 months. That comes with $600 “worth” of calls, unlimited SMS and 1GB of data for a minimum monthly cost of $1488. If you want it outright, Telstra will also sell it for $480.

Vodafone will offer the HTC One Mini, but has yet to reveal pricing; it’ll be with Telstra first on September 17th. Mobicity’s currently selling an imported version for $589.95.

HTC One Mini: Fat Duck Verdict

I have to admit I was a little disappointed in how large the HTC One Mini actually was; in my head I imagined something a little smaller in the hand.

That’s a minor concern once you get to use it, however. It’s still playing second fiddle to the full HTC One, but if you’re after a mid-range Android with a strong style focus and you’re a mid-range user in terms of power, it’s a worthy contender.

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