Currently, the wireless industry's mantra is that good things come in large packages. But let's not just forget about the massive demographic of users that don't care about having the biggest phone on the planet. Samsung has already addressed this with the Galaxy S4 mini (albeit, with significantly lesser specs than the flagship GS4), and now it's HTC's turn with the aptly named One mini. The whispers were true: this little guy is a 4.3-inch device with 720p resolution and a nearly identical look to that of its older brother. According to the spec sheet (listed below), it isn't an HTC One in every sense of the name -- there's been a few drawbacks. However, you might be willing to forgo a lower-resolution, smaller display and other changes for a handier smartphone and what promises to be a lower price tag. So what are our first impressions? Read on beyond the gallery and video, and we'll fill you in.
Beginning our impressions with the outside, we were pleased to see that the mini looks exactly the same as the leaked images purported it to be. Its design hasn't strayed too far from the original 4.7-inch version released earlier this year; in fact, we would argue that if you only quickly glance at the phone, you likely won't realize the difference between the two. Under closer scrutiny, however, you'll notice that there are certainly deviations: the BoomSound speakers are a little smaller, the chamfered edges have disappeared and while the back is aluminum, the sides and front edges are polycarbonate. It lessens the phone's fanciness, but it doesn't exude a feeling of cheapness either -- those sides look and feel very similar to last year's One X. It's significantly lighter than the One, and is even just a tad thinner (it's 9.25mm, versus 9.3mm on the One).
The buttons and ports are all in the same place: there's micro-USB on the bottom and micro-SIM on the left, for instance. The volume is still on the right side, though it's offered as two separate buttons instead of a one-piece rocker. On the top, additionally, you'll find the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack, but the former unfortunately doesn't offer an integrated IR blaster.
In terms of the display, the mini features a lower-res 720p S-LCD3 panel, but don't let that little spec fool you; we were actually surprised at how much the screen popped out at us. In our brief time with the device, we did not once look upon the screen with disgust, so all but the pickiest of power users will likely not have any concerns here -- and anyone who craves a decent phone with a smaller screen won't feel short-changed. In fact, at least on this early model, the One mini's screen appeared brighter than the flagship model.
The mini will come with Android 4.2.2 out of the box, running Sense 5.0. Notably, it features the same excellent 4MP UltraPixel camera in the back with BSI, f/2.0, 1/3-inch sensor, no optical image stabilization, but several different levels of flash intensity and 2µm pixel size; the front is only 1.6MP, but utilizes BSI as well. ImageChip 2 is on board, as is Zoe, slow-mo video capture and Video Highlights.
Under the hood, a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 is running the show with 1GB of RAM (compared to a quad-core Snapdragon 600 and 2GB RAM in the One), and the battery is naturally a bit smaller at 1,800mAh -- there's also no NFC in this smaller model. As you might expect, the processor won't be able to handle the more power-hungry tasks as well as the One can, but we were more than satisfied by the response time and the performance of most basic tasks. The only area in which we're concerned is the Zoe and other Sense camera features (Video Highlights comes to mind) that performed so well on the One primarily because of the more powerful chipset, but we didn't get enough time to play with it in realistic conditions. At the very least, we were able to successfully take a Zoe and play it back with ease; we'll give it the full test during our full review of the device, which HTC tells us should be available in select markets sometime in August, with global availability in September; there's no official word yet on US availability or pricing, but we'll keep you posted if or when that changes.
We've got the mini spec sheet below so you can take a closer look at what you can expect. While it's not going to be a smaller phone with flagship status, it's still a decent compromise for folks who don't want to sacrifice performance in favor of size -- that is, as decent as we've seen these days.
|HTC One mini|
|Dimensions||132 x 63.2 x 9.25mm (5.2 x 2.49 x 0.36 inches)|
|Weight||4.3 oz. (122g)|
|Screen size||4.3 inches|
|Screen resolution||1,280 x 720 (341 ppi)|
|Battery||1,800mAh Li-Polymer (non-removable)|
|Rear camera||4MP, BSI, f/2.0, 1/3'' sensor size, 2µm pixel size|
|Front-facing cam||1.6MP BSI|
|Video capture||1080p, 30 fps (back); 720p (front)|
EMEA: 800/1800/2600 MHz
UMTS / HSPA+:
EMEA: 900/1900/2100 MHz with HSDPA up to 42
GSM / GPRS / EDGE:
All models: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
|Bluetooth||v4.0 with aptX|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 400|
|Entertainment||MHL, DLNA, BoomSound|
|WiFi||Dual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n, WiFi Direct|
|Operating system||Android 4.2, Sense 5 UI|
THE HTC ONE GOES COMPACT WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE HTC ONE MINI
HTC's ultimate 4.3" smartphone complete with HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC UltraPixel Camera™ and HTC BoomSound™
London, July 18, 2013 - HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced the HTC One mini, a compact version of the award winning HTC One, which has redefined the smartphone experience with revolutionary technologies including HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC UltraPixel Camera™ and HTC BoomSound™.
Available in 181 countries and across more than 583 networks worldwide, the HTC One has proven to be an unprecedented success across the globe, receiving multiple industry accolades since launch and increasing the company's brand awareness with young consumers to an all-time high of 87%
Answering the call of consumers who want the best in mobile technology in a body that slips easily into a pocket, the HTC One mini heralds an exciting period for the company, as it builds on its platform of innovation leader. Distilling the iconic design of the HTC One, this new addition to the family combines a 4.3" display and powerful dual-core 1.4 GHz processor. It also runs the latest version of Android with HTC Sense, bringing HTC's flagship mobile experience to style-seekers who demand premium looks and performance.
"We are proud to be behind the market's leading smartphone and now, with the addition of the HTC One mini, the best smartphone family in the world." said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. "The HTC One mini embodies everything that makes the HTC One a success on a smaller but equally eye-catching scale."
An object of desire Sporting a sharp and vivid 4.3" High Definition 720p screen, the HTC One mini boasts HTC's unrivalled design credentials. Available in Glacial Silver and Stealth Black, its striking aluminium unibody, slim profile and tapered edges both look incredible and feel great in the hand.
HTC BoomSound: mobile sound changed forever
The HTC One revolutionised the smartphone audio experience with HTC BoomSound's dual frontal stereo speakers. Powered by dedicated amplifiers to deliver less distortion and finer detail, the HTC One mini offers the same huge sound, delivering the raw power that will put you and your friends at the heart of the action, whether listening to music, watching videos or playing games. Beats Audio™ integration takes immersive audio to the next level, guaranteeing the best listening experience available on a mobile phone.
HTC BlinkFeed: Your favourite content all on one screen The HTC One mini puts your favourite content at the centre of your mobile world.
Transforming the home screen into a single live stream of relevant information, HTC BlinkFeed delivers social updates, news updates and photos directly to the place you need them most. Aggregating the freshest content, with more than 10,000 feeds served up daily from the most relevant and interesting sources, all the information you need is available at a glance, without the need to jump between multiple applications and websites.
HTC UltraPixel Camera with HTC Zoe and Video Highlights Never miss a moment with HTC's revolutionary camera experience powered by the stunning UltraPixel Camera and featuring HTC Zoe. Capturing 300 per cent more light than traditional smartphone camera sensors, HTC's UltraPixel camera captures photos in incredible detail and enhanced dynamic range, even in low light. HTC Zoe also brings special moments to life in three-second videos, enabling a range of advanced editing capabilities and creative flexibility.
With the ability to take awe-inspiring images and amazing self-portraits on the 1.6MP front-facing camera, you won't want to keep them to yourself. Watch your photos come to life in a living, breathing gallery and share special events with visually stunning 30-second shows, created automatically by Video Highlights – no professional editing software or skill required. Simply select your own soundtrack from one of the pre-loaded themes or from your personal music library, before sharing your videos online for everyone to enjoy.
The HTC One mini will be available in select markets from August and rolled out globally from September.
Mat Smith contributed to this post.