HTC One Mini

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With great audio, a fast processor and a clear, high-res screen the ‘mini’ version of HTC’s flagship One handset has plenty to recommend it, but is it worth the £130 saving on its bigger brother?

Just like the Galaxy S4, the HTC One has its very own little brother. The HTC One Mini is a scaled-down version of HTC’s flagship phone and despite being a simplified device, it’s still towards the higher end of the market, retailing at around £370 in the UK. But if you’re an HTC fan, is it worth making the £130 saving versus the full HTC One?

Design

The first thing you might notice is that despite its name, the HTC One Mini isn’t especially, well, mini. It’s certainly not a huge device but at almost five inches long and 2.5 inches wide it doesn’t feel undersized, and being able to reach the whole screen with your thumb when holding the device one-handed is always a welcome feature.

It’s a good-looking handset with a premium, solid feel and aluminium casing on the front with plastic edges. The signature front-mounted speakers you’d see on the full HTC One are present here too and on the back the handset sports a central camera sensor, the HTC logo and a smaller Beats Audio logo at the bottom of the device.

HTC has even lavished some money on the buttons as well, which are aluminium rather than plastic. This adds to the premium feel and gives the user confidence that they have purchased a quality, reliable product. The handset has an iPhone-like slide draw for the SIM card though and you’ll need a paper clip or the supplied instantly losable pin to access. So the Mini certainly looks good.

Audiovisual

At just 4.3 inches the Mini does not have a massive screen, but it certainly makes up for any shortcomings with amazing quality. HD footage looks brilliant in 720 x 1,020 pixels – colours really pop and the crystal-clear display means that the Mini can easily stand as your primary mobile device for viewing videos.

The Mini delivers on audio quality as well, sporting the same front-facing speakers as its big brother. Sound remains clean and clear through the speakers even at high volumes and listening through headphones sounds great – proof that the partnership with Beats Audio was a wise one for HTC.

Camera

If there’s one area in which the Mini is unlikely to impress it’s on the camera. With just four megapixels in its rear facing sensor I wasn’t expecting anything amazing in terms of photos. However, while the resolutions of pictures is nothing special, other aspects of the images you’ll capture are pretty impressive.

White balance is bang on and colours are rich and accurate in good light. In poor conditions the camera does a decent job but white balance does become an issue when you use the device’s flash, with everything taking on a sickly green tint.

The front-facing camera is actually pretty impressive too. At 1.6 megapixels there’s enough detail to take good quality images with the same vibrant colours you’ll see in the rear-facing camera. It’s more than adequate for video calls if you’re a Skype user too.

Specs

Packing a fairly hefty dual-core Snapdragon 400 and 1GB of RAM the Mini certainly looks good on paper and delivered in practice. Processor-heavy apps such as Temple Run 2 load quickly and run smoothly and without lag, and simpler apps ran just as well. It’s a step down from the quad-core you’ll find inside an HTC One but the Mini’s hardware is plenty powerful enough to get the job done.

The Mini comes with a healthy 16GB of internal memory but the inability to expand through an SD card slot seems like a poor decision in an otherwise well-kitted out device. 16GB isn’t terrible but given the excellent quality of the screen and the audio output of the device you may well want to use it as your primary media player, and with just 16GB of storage you’re going to struggle to get much music or many movies on there before you’re forced to make sacrifices.

Full article in Mobile News issue 547 (September 9, 2013).

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