HTC One Mini review

The HTC One Mini is a scaled down version of the popular HTC One Android phone

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Snazzy design

  • +

    Great size

  • +

    Strong camera

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Slower processor

  • -

    Unexceptional display

  • -

    Shorter battery life

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The HTC One, had everything going for it but did you find it just that bit too big? Well, check out the newer, smaller HTC One Mini

Update: HTC One has launched another pared down version of his current flagship phone - the HTC One M8. Check out our HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review

The HTC One is a gorgeous, powerful smartphone that feels fantastic in the hand thanks to its all-metal back and looks sensational because of the highest-resolution screen yet seen. But its size made it feel just too big for some hands.

While every manufacturer has been cruising towards bigger screens so that 5-inch displays are becoming the norm, HTC recognised that there's an audience for a well-built, classy phone for those who think the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen is quite big enough, thank you.

set to go head to head with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the Nokia Lumia 625, the HTC One Mini is strikingly similar to the HTC One.

The same speakers sitting at top and bottom of the display to offer that Beats Audio Boomsound, same aluminium back with central HTC logo and so on. In fact, if it weren't for the white plastic edge, you'd be hard put to tell it apart from the bigger phone without a tape measure.

HTC One Mini: Size and build

The white plastic frame, instead of the HTC One's aluminium edging, is the only element of the new handset that's less than premium, and even so, it doesn't look bad, it's just a slight style change from the original. It's visually a little more dominant compared to the One where the black screen stretched to the very edges of the screen.

And the glossy edge is arguably more comfortable to the touch. And it's when you touch it that you really feel the difference. This is a lot lighter (122g instead of 143g) and feels superbly right-sized in your fingers, the gently curving back making it feel thinner than it is. The measurements, if you'd like to know, are 132 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm.

Some of the features on the Mini have been cut back, and one of these is visible. The power button on the HTC One was the infra-red emitter that let the phone work as an actually quite serviceable remote control. That's been left out of the Mini so the button is the same white plastic as the frame, on the silver version of the phone.

The Mini has the same colour choices as before, Glacial Silver and Black. As last time, this phone is a sealed unit, so there's no flex or creaking as you move it in your hands.

HTC One Mini: Features

The feature list is pretty similar to the HTC One, though there are some, like the infra-red, which are left out. So there's no NFC in this handset. I'm sure NFC will have a big future, but for now we suspect it's one of those things that people boast their phone possesses and then never, ever use.

Like video calling or compatibility with South American networks. Its absence doesn't seem to have done Apple's iPhones any harm.
So it's not a big thing that it's missing here.

A bigger compromise has been made in the processor which drops from a quad-core 1.7GHz model on the HTC One to a dual-core 1.4GHz chip here. Though we wonder if this isn't mostly a numbers game – the phone performed well and at speed throughout.

HTC's BlinkFeed is a feature that has been transferred intact from the bigger phone. This, if you haven't seen it, is a highly appealing feed of Facebook, Twitter and favourite sites, presented in an attractive format. It's a cute way to keep up to date with your social networking without having to launch individual apps.

HTC One Mini: Screen

Since the HTC One managed to include the highest-resolution display ever on a phone, it's no surprise that this smaller phone doesn't match it. Where the One has a remarkable 468 pixels per inch, this phone only manages 342ppi. That's a big drop, but it still beats the iPhone's Retina display. And it looks great.

Sure, it's not Full HD like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 or Sony Xperia Z. But this is a noticeably smaller screen than those and the 720 x 1280 resolution seems more than enough.

HTC One Mini: Camera

HTC took a big risk with the camera on the HTC One. Though we know that more pixels isn't better per se, to install a 4MP sensor on the One where rivals were sporting 8MP, 13MP and even, on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, 16MP, was pretty brave. It's the same sensor here.

The thinking, borne out thrillingly by the photographic results the phone can achieve, is that it's better to have fewer pixels on a bigger sensor so those pixels can be bigger and so draw in light more accurately and effectively than a smaller sensor crammed so tightly with pixels that they can't hardly breathe.

The camera also introduced Zoes, moving photos which are fun to use. And you can combine them into 30-second movies where the phone does most of the heavy lifting. This time around there are new soundtracks available, too. This is a great camera, one of the best available on any phone.

HTC One Mini: Performance

As mentioned above, the slower processor didn't make the phone seem sluggish. And the RAM built in is 1GB against 2GB on the HTC One.

Even so, the phone was nippy at all times and its performance seems as strong as the bigger HTC phone and other handsets like the Galaxy S4. And the metal back, like on the earlier model, was no impediment for the phone signal which was strong and consistent. Call quality was good, to boot.

HTC One Mini: Battery

Battery life on the HTC One Mini is good, though not as long-lasting as the bigger One or phones like the Nokia Lumia 925. It'll get you through the day with no problem, but daily recharges are recommended.

HTC One Mini: Verdict

Is this the best HTC phone? Not quite. The HTC One is a strong contender for best phone ever (from any manufacturer) and the lower specs here stop this phone from beating it. But if you have hands that find the HTC One just too hefty, or if a big phone isn't your style, this is a sensational phone with a decent processor and excellent camera.

It's about as good-looking and well-built as the iPhone 5, against which it's very serious competition. It holds up well against other mainstream attention-getters like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Sony Xperia Z. In fact, it's really only beaten by HTC.

HTC One Mini release date: August 2013

HTC One Mini price: £380 | Compare HTC One Mini tariffs and deals