The HTC One Mini is a smaller version of the HTC One. It improves upon its predecessor’s already stellar design while managing to be both smaller and cheaper. It’s a bit bigger than an iPhone 5, with a 720p 4.3 inch screen. The HTC One Mini has a dual core Snapdragon 400 processor that operates off of 1 GB of RAM and has 16 GB of internal storage. The One Mini has two cameras (one on the back and one in the front) and uses the BoomSound technology the HTC One introduced to produce loud, clear sound from its built in speakers.
The One Mini features a simple, modern design. It feels like HTC has elected to design the phone none of us knew we wanted. Made from smooth aluminum, the phone feels smooth and fancy in your hand. The volume keys are two separate buttons for ease of use and not the one solid bar that too many developers are turning to in order to frustrate our attempts to actually use them. The screen is covered in Gorilla Glass 3, a scratch resistant polymer that proved up to its task in our week of testing. We were impressed with how the phone looked, felt and sounded.
The One Mini has Android 4.2.2 out of the box. While this isn’t the absolute latest version we still were happy with the way this phone handled everything we threw at it. The pre-installed apps are a bit hit or miss — some reviews we’ve seen have raved about Blinkfeed while we hated it’s Windows 8 style interface that only told us things we’d rather check elsewhere — but we found it easier than ever to simply download new ones to replace whatever we didn’t like. While we had some issues with the built-in video player. the web browser was exceedingly better than expected, with easily toggle-able Flash and the ability to support over twelve tabs. We also appreciated the on-screen keyboard, featuring Swype-style word tracing. While it was easier to get from letter to letter on the One Mini than on some other phones we tried, we did encounter a problem where we accidentally hit the keyboard language button a few times and switched our typing auto-correct to German. This wasn’t too difficult to fix and after a few minutes of searching we were able to disable the button altogether, but it’s worth noting that you’ll probably want to turn off this feature should you decide to purchase the One Mini.
The camera on the HTC One Mini is a “low” 4 megapixels. This doesn’t negatively affect picture quality at all and instead allows the phone to have a faster shutter speed, lower exposure time and better low light photographs. Overall, we thought the pictures we shot were excellent. The One Mini does forgo any sort of image stabilization, which means you’ll want to hold the phone as still as possible when you take pictures, but the exposure time is low enough that we didn’t have any real problems.
Calls on the One Mini are excellent, as you might expect. The BoomSound really does make a difference when you’re using the built in speakers, even for simple phone calls. The One Mini features Beats by Dre Audio, the world’s most hyped two setting software equalizer, but that shouldn’t factor very much into any decision you make regarding it. We were impressed with the phone’s contact list as well as its call clarity.
The One Mini has two major problems: first, its battery life is worse than you would expect from a ‘small’ smartphone. By using various power saving modes we were able to get the battery to last a couple days in between charging, but if you’d like to have your phone’s screen on at full brightness 24/7 the One Mini might not be the right phone for you. Second, storage is lacking. The One Mini has only 16 GB of internal storage with no SD card slots. That might sound like a lot, but as soon as you start cramming music and videos on there, you’ll run out real quick.
Overall, we liked the One Mini a lot. It’s solidly the best phone on the market right now at it’s price point. With the improvements that it’s made over the HTC One, we’re proud supporters of the direction HTC is taking and we’re quite happy to use the One Mini while we wait for the next model.