HTC One mini review: Meet Junior

Meet Junior

GSMArena team, 02 August 2013.

Unboxing the One mini

The HTC One mini came with the exact same accessories as the HTC One - a compact charger with a detachable microUSB cable, a SIM ejector tool and a one-piece headset with spare tips. The headset is an in-ear design and has cool red accents and flat, tangle-resistant cables.

HTC One mini review
What's in the HTC One mini box

HTC One mini 360-degree spin

The HTC One mini measures 132 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm compared to 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm for the big HTC One. It doesn't sound like much of a difference, but you can really feel it when you hold the One mini in your hand, especially the width. It has also shed some weight and now weighs 122g (the One is 143g).

Design and build quality

The HTC One mini is little else, but a downscaled One on the outside - premium aluminum, with the solid feel of a unibody phone all whipped into an attractive design. While the 5" Butterfly S went with polycarbonate (perhaps due to weight considerations), the HTC One mini should earn as much praise for its design as the regular One did.

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HTC One mini next to the HTC One

The mini also differs from the One in the polycarbonate strip that runs along the sides of the phone. The regular One has it too, but the one on the mini is thicker, covering the entire sides. We think this is an advantage - plastic can take a knock, while aluminum is more brittle (it dents and its paint peels off more easily when hit). We wish HTC had used the same matte plastic as on the One, this one is glossy and doesn't look quite as good.

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Polycarbonate lines the sides of the One mini

Cutting down "only" 5mm from the height and width of the HTC One to make the mini might not sound like much, but that's because it's difficult to picture. In reality, the One mini feels noticeably more compact than its bigger siblings. It's roughly the size of last year's HTC One S, which is impressive as you are getting a pair of stereo speakers at the front.

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HTC One mini in the hand

Display

The screen is gorgeous - with 720p resolution it's not quite as sharp as the 1080p screen on the One, but at this size, spotting the difference takes some effort. It has great viewing angles and great colors too. Speaking of colors, the screen on our One mini has a warmer white balance than the screen on our HTC One.

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The 4.3" 720p screen is great

Here are the two screens under a microscope:

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HTC One mini HTC One

The HTC One mini screen is very similar to that of the regular HTC One. The brightness is very high, higher than even the big One, let alone AMOLED screens. The contrast is amazing, making for one of the better viewing experiences on a smartphone.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung I9195 Galaxy S4 mini 0 166 0 396
HTC One mini 0.15 177 1197 0.5 685 1361
HTC One 0.13 205 1580 0.42 647 1541
HTC Butterfly 0.14 173 1200 0.45 501 1104
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
Sony Xperia Z - - - 0.70 492 705
Oppo Find 5 0.17 176 1123 0.51 565 1107
Samsung N7100 Galaxy Note II 0 215 0 402
LG Optimus G Pro - - - 0.41 611 1489
Nokia Lumia 920 - - - 0.48 513 1065
LG Optimus G 0.14 197 1445 0.33 417 1438
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320

The screen is fairly reflective though, which hurts its sunlight legibility. It's this reflectivity that brings down the sunlight lebibility noticably below the level set by the HTC One. It's not by much, but it's enough.

The Galaxy S4 mini screen brightness is not that high, but the lower reflectivity makes its display much easier to read out in the sun.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.970
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.680
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • HTC Desire C
    1.300
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.180
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

We find the One mini screen to be worthy of the One name, unlike the uninspiring qHD unit of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.

Reader comments

  • foxthemad

Hi guys. I was just wondering a few things about your methodology when benchmarking. Do you run the test several times and write down the best result? Just asking as I just ran some of those benchmarks on my Mini, using Android 4.3 (stock HTC) and fo...

  • AnonD-226684

HTC one mini is superb it's look like iphone 5 but minus points is it's inbuilt storage no expandable memory and most important battery back up ...

  • Anonymous

This review was done on August 2nd and you STILL can't purchase an HTC One Mini in black. The specs were ho hum back when this review was done. By the time HTC actually manages to manufacture them to meet demand this phone will be next to useless. Fa...