HTC One mini review: Meet Junior

GSMArena team, 02 August 2013.

Connectivity misses a few things compared to the One

The HTC One mini has the usual quad-band GSM, plus several versions (for different regions or carriers) of 3G HSPA+ and market-dependent 4G LTE support.

The local wireless connectivity has Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and DLNA support (both client and server, for images, videos and music) and stereo Bluetooth 4.0.

HTC has conveniently designed a special options screen, when you connect the One mini with a PC. The long list of options includes Portable Wi-Fi hotspot, settings, USB and Bluetooth tethering (the phone becomes a modem).

HTC's Portable Hotspot can support up to 8 devices, you can WEP, WPA or WPA2 encrypt the hotspot and you can enable "allowed users" only to connect or leave it open for all (unsecure, but the quickest setup).

Options when connected to USB

The app can be set to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery in case you forget to switch it off when you are done with it.

The HTC One mini lacks a few connectivity options compared to the big HTC One - NFC, MHL and IR. No NFC means you can't easily send data to another phone (by a simple tap rather than the usual search and pair methods). No MHL means you can't connect the phone to a TV or attach USB storage. The IR blaster was used to control TVs and other home equipment (not to transfer data like in the old days).

Those are not necessarily deal breakers, but those are compromises you should be aware of before committing to the One mini.

Web browser with Flash and GIFs

HTC One comes with the latest version of the Sensed-out Android web browser. Most of its UI is out of sight, leaving the entire screen to the web page. And even when it does appear it consists of a single bar, which now holds the address field, the Tabs and Menu dropdown shortcuts.

Once you select some text, you can copy it, do a Google search with that text as the query or share the text over a message or social networking. Pages can be reflowed to better fit the screen and you can set things like default zoom, search engine and URL suggestion providers and so on. From the Labs setting you can enable Quick controls.

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The HTC One mini web browser

Tabs can be closed with an X button on their top right corner - they can't be swiped off the screen like you do in the app switcher. Incognito tabs are available if you want to browse without leaving traces. There's a popup blocker to stave off annoying popups.

You can also request the desktop version of a site, instead of the mobile one. Another cool feature is preloading search results that the phone believes are relevant, speeding up the whole process.

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Options Tabs History Bookmarks

The HTC One mini comes with full Flash support in the browser (it's disabled by default). We tested a couple of games and videos and everything worked like a charm. Flash has almost been weeded out of the mobile web, but there are still a few stubborn sites, so it's good to have as backup.

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Playing Flash games

Interestingly, while digging through the settings menu of the browser, we found that there's an explicit setting for GIF animations, which is disabled by default. GIF on Android has a spotty history, but keep in mind the One mini browser support animations, as long as you enable them first.

The Google Chrome browser also comes preinstalled on the HTC One mini. Its interface is easier to navigate but it doesn't offer Flash support. On the up side, it can synchronize the tabs you have open in other Chrome browsers (on a computer, tablet, other phone, you name it).

Full Office suite

Organizing is dully covered on the HTC One mini. Office documents are handled through the preloaded Polaris Office app. It supports Excel, Word, PowerPoint and more and lets you view and edit files on the go. It's great to see a full Office suite when even some flagships (*cough*Galaxy S4*cough*) don't have one.

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Polaris Office

We tested a couple of Word and Excel files and found the One perfectly capable of handling them. There's a PDF viewer too.

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Polaris Office editing

HTC even added a VPN app, KeyVPN, which you might need for your work, so it's great to have out of the box (and for free).