HTC One mini preview: First look
The HTC One is certainly one of the smartphones of the year and has come a long way towards helping the Taiwanese company out of its financial woes. It was only logical then that HTC will try to capitalize on that success by bringing the same formula to other parts of its portfolio. We already got the upscaled version with the Butterfly S, so now it's time to shrink the design with the HC One mini.
Over the last few years large phones (that grow ever bigger) have managed to claim a monopoly on good specs it seems, which made many (including quite a few members of our team, we even started a petition) yearn for a compact, but premium Android. The Galaxy S4 (the arch rival of the One) already got its mini version, but that one made too great a compromise with the screen. Let's see if HTC has done better.
HTC One mini at a glance:
- General: Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, quad-band UMTS/HSPA, LTE
- Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
- Dimensions: 132x 63.2 x 9.3 mm, 122 g
- Display: 4.3" 16M-color 720p (720 x 1280 pixels) Super LCD 2 capacitive touchscreen, 341ppi pixel density; Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Dual-core 1.4 GHz Krait 300, 1GB RAM, Adreno 305
- OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Sense 5
- Memory: 16GB storage
- Camera: 4 megapixel auto-focus camera with ultra-pixels; LED flash
- Video camera: Full HD (1080p) video recording at 30fps with HDR
- Front camera: 1.6MP front-facing camera; 720p@30fps video
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, standard microUSB port with MHL and USB host, GPS receiver with A-GPS and GLONASS, 3.5mm audio jack
- Battery: 1,800mAh Li-Po
- Misc: Aluminum unibod with polycarbonate frame, Beats Audio, BoomSound stereo speakers on the front, HTC Zoe
Some might frown at the idea that a 4.3" smartphone qualifies as mini, but the truth is this size hits a sweet spot. It has enough screen estate to provide enjoyable multimedia and gaming experience as well as enable decent productivity, yet it still allows a smartphone to fit into virtually every pocket.
And the 720p resolution is just right too - the Galaxy S4 mini screen is also 4.3" big but the qHD resolution and 256ppi pixel density spoil the premium feel somewhat. The plastic body didn't help the One mini competitor either.
This is important - there are plenty of mid-range reasonably compact phones already. What we want (and really hope HTC has delivered here) is a compact phone with high-end specs. The HTC One mini spells out premium with an aluminum unibody design and UltraPixel camera with dedicated ImageChip 2, plus BoomSound (stereo speakers on the front with a dedicated amp).
HTC has delivered the best software it has too - Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box with Sense 5. The Sense customizations include the BlinkFeed news and social media aggregator, Zoe camera and Video highlights.
Could this be it? The dream phone with good specs, without a huge screen you have to overpay for, even when you don't want it in the first place? At first glance there are only a couple of things that might prevent the HTC One mini from achieving glory. It has a lesser chipset (1.4GHz dual-core Krait CPU, 1GB RAM) compared to both the original One and the Galaxy S4 mini and its storage is limited (just 16GB with no option for expansion).
We only got one short day with it, so we are not sure we'll be able to answer all questions, but we'll do all we can to cover as much of the hardware and software of the HTC One mini as possible. Join us after the break.