HTC One mini Hands-On: Hey There Lil' Speedster

It's been leaked on more than adult nappies, and now the HTC One mini (all lowercase, because it's so small, see?) is real. The idea is that it's a smaller, cheaper version of the our current favourite phone, the HTC One. But to accomplish such shrinkification and encheapenment, sacrifices must be made. Let's take a look.

Let's start with the obvious: The mini isn't really that mini. The screen size drops from 4.7 inches to 4.3 inches. The body goes from 5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches on the One, down to 5.20 x 2.50 x 0.36 inches on the One mini. The weight drops from 143g to 122g. Are these noticeable changes? Yes. Are they major changes? Not really. That said, we were able to reach the top, bottom and far corners of the screen on the One mini without having to adjust the phone in our palm at all, which isn't something we can say for the original One. It's definitely something a person with smaller hands would appreciate.

The build quality is almost identical, and that's a very good thing. It has that same, satisfying, solid feeling to it, with the curved aluminium back (available in black or silver). There's just no give to it. It also has the same stereo BoomSound speakers on the front and it was plenty loud and very clear. The screen drops from a 1080p Super LCD 3 to a 720p Super LCD 2, but it still has a more than adequate 341 pixels per inch (the One has 468PPI, though that's arguably overkill). It was nice and bright, colours looked good, and it was plenty sharp for reading small text.

The lower resolution screen may ultimately be for the good, because the processor has been downgraded as well. We're looking at a dual-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 processor (down from the quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 on the One). It also dropped from 2GB of RAM to just 1GB. But because the phone doesn't have as many pixels to push around, it felt just as snappy as its big brother. You'll probably notice the lack of power when loading up HD games, but for day-to-day stuff it's very speedy (see video).

The camera is basically the same F/2.0 4MP "UltraPixel" camera that murders low-light situations for the HTC One. The only difference is on the mini there is no optical image stabilisation like the One has, so you'll need a steadier hand. The battery also falls from 2300 mAh to 1800 mAh, which is a significant drop, but perhaps the smaller screen and slower processor will balance it out. Maybe. It will come running Android 4.2.2 (which is kind of funny since the US HTC One is currently still on 4.1. Thanks, carriers...) with HTC's Sense skin on top.

The One mini will be launching "internationally" in August and in the US shortly thereafter. Pricing and carriers have not be announced but we were told it would probably be about $US100. Wait, uhh, guys? That's how much US carriers Sprint and T-Mobile charge for the HTC One right now! The mini had better be cheaper than that, otherwise the only people who should buy this phone are people who reeeeeally need that 0.4 inches smaller screen despite the other disadvantages.

Other than that stuff, it's basically the same phone. 16GB of built-in memory (not expandable), LTE, NFC and all that jazz. Overall, we liked it. It was very comfortable to use and it's just a little bit bigger than an iPhone 5. Would we change to it from an HTC One? No. But our small-handed friends could certainly do much worse.


Comments

    Am I the only one that thinks referring to a 4.3 inch phone as "little" is fucking rediculous? I mean, if it's bigger than most other phones (like the iPhone compared to)....

    To me, it's hardly even a worthwhile distinction from the other big smartphones.. I think people who genuinely want a smaller phone would be more interested in something with specifications similar to this, but in say, 3-3.5 inch range.. Or perhaps even smaller.. Something ACTUALLY mini.

    I've always thought I would love a windows phone 8 device just wide enough for a single row of medium sized windows live tiles, or two small ones/two icons in Android side but long enough to make it usable/holdable.

      Let’s start with the obvious: The mini isn’t really that mini. The screen size drops from 4.7 inches to 4.3 inches.

      covered in the second paragraph.

        Now if only the manufacturers could consider this? Perhaps go teach kids in the third world to read, your talents are wasted here.

          'HTC One slightly smaller' doesn't have quite the same ring to it. This is hardly something worth this getting upset about.

            I'm always cranky in the morning before I have my coffee lol

      5 inches is the norm nowadays, by this time next year 5.5 will be the norm. Anything less than 5 inches is regarded as small. I feel sorry for you because unfortunately, majority rules and so the manufacturers want to keep the majority happy, so they put their best stuff in their best phones which are all 5 inch screen, bar Apple, who will eventually be making their screens larger for fear of losing customers. Minorities always get stiffed. They can't make enough money out of yous, so you lose.

    I think its great that there is a "mini" version however that isnt mini at all. My ideal phone size would be 4inch.
    Im waiting for a top range 8inch android tablet to come out, once i get one of those I will definitely be looking for a smaller mid range phone.

    *sigh* so, really it's not mini at all.

    The last phone to take "mini" seriously was the Xperia Mini (http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_ericsson_xperia_mini-3947.php). Those of us who appreciate little phones don't mind it being a bit thick. We want something *little*.

    Still too big... And now with even less battery!

    Why do manufacturers continue to pull this crap?

    Why would I upgrade from my SGS2? It's basically the same specs with 4.2. No thanks.

    Im hoping that this may drive the cost of the ONE down, maybe

    Why are more and more phone coming out without micro-sd card slots?

    Thanks for shrinkification and encheapenment, I will use these

    because SD slot was nothing but a feature to help differentiate from the iPhone. Just like how manufacturers use to include 'Flash' support on their mobile devices, even though it's terrible.
    Apple are innovators in more ways than one - they're not scared to push boundaries others haven't before (remember how everyone laughed at no user replaceable battery? it's becoming the norm now), but they only make products they're proud of and passionate about. They DO NOT include crap features just for the sake of being different to make a sale - they only do things they believe in, and that's what makes Apple unique and so great.
    Essentially phone manufacturers are realising that having an SD slot isn't really beneficial to the demanded feature set, so therefore why bother having it?

    16GB option only, non-expandable. Wow. I'm glad I went ahead with the 5s instead of waiting for this. HTC One 'standard' size all the way.

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