HTC One Mini 2 review

The HTC One Mini 2 is the brand's new pared-down version of the HTC One M8

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great M8 design

  • +

    Impressive battery life

  • +

    Excellent speakers

Reasons to avoid
  • -


  • -

    It's evolution not revolution

  • -

    Is it that bit too long?

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This pared-down handset looks like a smaller version of the HTC One M8 and behaves like one, but it's a different phone entirely. Read more in our HTC One Mini 2 review

The HTC One Mini 2 is NOT a smaller version of the HTC One M8, but actually that's ok.

Unlike the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact HTC has decided that its smaller phones will still aim to achieve the same goals that its flaghship phones do, but in a number of different ways.

Other rivals include the iPhone 5c and to an extent, the cheaper Motorola Moto E and Moto G.

The HTC One Mini 2 is not the miniature powerhouse you were expecting; instead it's leaner than that, with battery life getting as much focus as the screen. Is that a bad thing? Of course not, and here's why.

HTC One Mini 2: Size and build

Take a glance at the HTC One Mini 2 and it's clear that HTC is onto a good thing - it's a stunning phone and every bit as good looking as the HTC One M8.

The combination of brushed metal with black plastic accents feels premium, while a slight increase in weight over the last one actually helps it feel more planted in the hand.

The phone is also thicker, however despite its 10.6mm thickness the curved back helps negate a lot of that plus it allows more room for hardware and battery.

If we had any complaints about the design then it would be its length. With the phone already featuring a 4.5-inch display the addition of the bezel at the bottom can sometimes make using the screen a little awkward, a problem which will surely be accented if you have smaller hands.

HTC One Mini 2: Features

The HTC One Mini 2 sports the same software as the M8, which means you'll get Android KitKat 4.4.2 as well as HTC's new Sense 6 UI.

One important thing to note about Sense 6 is that it's definitely not a revolution in design, more a refined evolution of what was already there.

That's not a bad thing – Sense is one of the best Android UIs out there, it's simple, streamlined and extremely nimble. That said it would have been nice to see HTC shake things up even a little for its new range.

Improvements on the old UI are useful though, the ability to completely remove BlinkFeed is genuinely handy for those that would rather opt-out.
This combined with the ability to set custom home screens means Sense 6 feels a whole lot more customisable.

Where issues arrive however is with HTC's own integration features, it wants to connect to Facebook, Twitter and pretty much any other social network you have, tying in your contacts and images.

This would be great for those that love a socially connected phone but for those of us that don't want Facebook 24/7 it can be a little annoying constantly having to refuse access when you first start using the phone.

On an unrelated note it's worth mentioning the BoomSound speakers on the One Mini 2. Each boasting their own digital processor the speakers are once again some of the best to appear on a smartphone.

HTC One Mini 2: Screen

It's become quite clear over the past 12 months that a Full-HD screen isn't the be all and end all of a modern smartphone. Advances in screen technology mean that 720p displays and above can look just as good as any Full-HD panel.

As such, the Mini 2 comes with a 4.5-inch 720p display and it's brilliant. Pixel density is superb which means the Mini 2 is perfect for reading text or watching films.

Viewing angles were also impressive however we found viewing in direct sunlight did seem to cause a few problems, nothing drastic but worth noting.

HTC One Mini 2: Camera

The Mini 2 comes with a 13MP camera, which is interesting for two reasons. The first is that it isn't the Duo camera you'll find on the HTC One M8 and the second is that it isn't the Ultrapixel camera you'll find on the old HTC One Mini.

Why? Well, we asked the chaps at HTC and they've yet to respond but we can only assume the answer to both of those is cost.

That said, this is by no means a bad sensor, in actual fact it's really rather good. The focus is incredibly fast while the lens can handle a great range of distances without blurring or imperfections.

The UI is a triumph as well, particularly useful when using the 5MP front-facing camera. There is, we're sad to say, a 'Selfie mode'. Thankfully despite the name it is a genuinely useful feature as it'll count down to the shot with large numbers – perfect for setting up landscape shots with groups.

HTC One Mini 2: Battery

HTC has upped the battery on the HTC One Mini 2 to 2100mAh from 1800mAh in the original.

This not only makes sense because of the larger screen but also because of the increased power coming from the processor. It's a smart move and not just compensatory in its implementation.

Instead HTC has done some tinkering and what you're left with is a phone that has a pretty solid all-day battery life.

This includes music on the way to work, regular checking of social media, emails and also watching a few videos on YouTube. By the time we'd got home the battery was down to between 15-20 per cent, more than enough considering it was unplugged at around 7.30am.

HTC One Mini 2: Performance

This is another area where it becomes clear this isn't just a shrunken down version of the HTC One M8. Luckily it's nowhere near the drop in specs that Samsung seems to implement on its 'Mini' smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Mini 4.

Instead HTC has opted for a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor along with 1GB of RAM.

Now on the surface that actually doesn't sound like very much, and in truth it isn't, but somehow HTC has managed to make all the hardware work together in such a way that it feels as quick as any flagship phone.

The added bonus of this reduction in power is that the One Mini 2 isn't as battery hungry as its rivals. If there is one downside it's that HTC's multi-tasking is a bit of a cheat.

Rather than keep the app completely running, it seems to place it in stasis, so when swapping apps you'll see a short delay in which the phone restarts the app. Visually it looks like an image loading on a web page.

HTC One Mini 2: Verdict

The HTC One Mini 2 is a solid improvement on what was already one of the best smaller-sized handsets out there.

The build quality is fantastic and it actually feels and looks better than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact while the addition of a microSD card slot is extremely welcome.

It's not a revolution in how you can cram power into a smaller package, instead it's a leaner creation, focusing on doing the small things well while making it through to the end of the day.

If you're after innovative new features and gimmicks then the One Mini 2 isn't for you, this is a phone that isn't looking to change your life completely, just make it markedly easier.

HTC One Mini 2 release date: June 2014

HTC One Mini 2 price: TBC, probably around £380 SIM free

Thomas Tamblyn

Thomas Tamblyn studied journalism at the University of Westminster, where he was a contributing presenter at the award-winning Smoke Radio station. He then moved to as a Staff Writer where he proceeded to write news, reviews and features on topics such as phones, electric vehicles, laptops, gaming, streaming services, headphones, tablets future tech and wearables.