HTC One Mini 2 android smartphone

The small screen alternative iPhone 5 owners have been looking for

HTC One Mini 2
  • HTC One Mini 2
  • HTC One Mini 2
  • HTC One Mini 2
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • HTC Sense 6 with Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Metal body
  • BoomSound speakers

Cons

  • Too tall for a mini smartphone
  • Watered down specs

Bottom Line

The One Mini 2 will meet the needs of any iPhone 5 owner who relished the small form of their Apple smartphone. Sculpted from metal, studded in black and wearing the marks of precision craftsmanship, the Mini 2 truly is a sight to behold. Knowing HTC could have made this smartphone smaller yet is disappointing, but it’s a gripe easily overcome.

Would you buy this?

The task ahead of HTC’s One Mini 2 is borderline insurmountable. The smartphone is charged with making the technology found in HTC’s flagship One (M8) available in a pocketable 4.5-inch form factor. The miniature smartphone has big shoes to fill as the HTC One (M8) earned a 4.75 rating after its stint in the Good Gear Guide labs, and that’s the highest rating given in all of 2014.

The best looking smartphone, only smaller

Trickling down the DNA pool from the One (M8) to the Mini 2 is a metal-clad body finished in brushed stainless steel. Few signs tell the Mini 2 is kinder to wallets: a plastic alloy rims the face of the smartphone, and the inserts running across the back are raised ever-so-slightly for a finish that’s less polished. Otherwise the design retains the same charisma defined by the 5-inch One (M8).

The Mini 2 cuts down on the One’s height by a centimetre, is thicker by a millimetre and lighter by 23 grams. Turning on the screen reveals this smartphone could’ve been smaller yet.

The One Mini 2 will meet the needs of any iPhone 5 owner looking for an upgrade

HTC smartphone’s are undeniably tall, but we forgive the smartphones nonetheless because behind the growth are BoomSound stereo speakers. These front-firing speakers are wired to amplifiers and deliver unparalleled audio from a smartphone. However, the Mini 2 adds to that height with an alarming surplus of bottom bezel.

From where the screen stops to where the smartphone ends measures 2 centimetres, with a whole centimetre in height dedicated to displaying the HTC badge. Using this black strip to house capacitive buttons would’ve freed up some of the screen’s real estate and justified its presence. Unfortunately this wasted space serves only as a nameplate.

“What’s 2 centimetres, anyway?” some might be asking. This 2 centimetres is the difference between the Mini 2 resting in pockets and disappearing altogether. Frankly, the ‘Mini’ moniker is a misnomer as this smartphone stands as tall as Samsung’s towering 5.2-inch Galaxy S5.

Get past the contradiction of a tall-mini smartphone and the Mini 2 will prove a worthwhile companion. The 4.5in screen has a high definition resolution and the same 326 pixel-per-inch density found in Apple’s iPhone 6. Brightness levels are spot on and viewing angles are ripe. Coupling the screen with the aforementioned BoomSound speakers lends itself to an enjoyable multimedia experience.

Balanced hardware meets balanced software

Inside is hardware less promising than the bigger One (M8). There’s a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 4G modem and 16GB of internal storage. Adding more memory is possible with the Mini 2 taking MicroSD memory cards up to 128GB in size.

The camera on the Mini 2 serves as a strongpoint

HTC’s software has grown economical in time and, working with this hardware, the One Mini 2 continues to run smooth. Its Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system is overlaid in HTC’s Sense 6 user interface. Some manufacturers discount Android’s appeal with their overlays, but HTC certainly isn’t one of them. Changes include a different design aesthetic and a news aggregator called BlinkFeed. Missing is the company’s SenseTV as the Mini 2 lacks an IR blaster.

Powering the Mini 2 is a 2100 milliamp-hour battery. The smartphone will last a day without charge and, if the occasion calls for extra stamina, simply enable ‘extreme power saving mode’. The mode deactivates all functions other than calls, messages and emails, in order to deliver extended battery life. Good Gear Guide’s testing found the office’s HTC One (M8) could last for 10 days in standby when extreme power saving mode was enabled.

The messaging app, dialler and notification blind
The messaging app, dialler and notification blind

Extreme power saving mode, the music player and gallery
Extreme power saving mode, the music player and gallery

13 megapixels, What DuoCamera?

Further differentiating the Mini 2 from the One (M8) is its rear 13 megapixel camera. The high resolution rear camera replaces HTC’s 4MP Ultrapixel and DuoCamera combo found on the One (M8). This, we believe, is not to the detriment of the miniature smartphone.

Photos captured with the Mini 2 impress for a smartphone in its price point. It benefits from HTC’s camera user interface, which is advantageous for its simplicity and range of shooting modes. Most photos at full resolution are sharp, well coloured and have little image noise. The flash is surprisingly quick in dark environments; however, image noise is prevalent in these photos. Overall, the camera on the Mini 2 serves as a strongpoint.

HDR disabled - Taken with the One Mini 2
HDR disabled - Taken with the One Mini 2
HDR enabled - Taken with the One Mini 2
HDR enabled - Taken with the One Mini 2
Flash on - Taken with the One Mini 2
Flash on - Taken with the One Mini 2
Crop at 100 per cent resolution of the photo above - Taken with the One Mini 2
Crop at 100 per cent resolution of the photo above - Taken with the One Mini 2

Nestling alongside the front speaker is a rich camera. The front camera can capture photos at 5 megapixels and, like the rear camera, can record videos in Full HD resolution.

Final thought

Just this week Apple, defender of small smartphones, launched two jumbo variants of its iPhone 6. Meanwhile, Samsung continues to enlarge displays with its 5.7in Galaxy Note 4. Even LG’s flagship warrants the “phablet” colloquialism with its 5.5in screen. Finding a smartphone that feels more phone is getting tougher.

The One Mini 2 will meet the needs of any iPhone 5 owner who relished the small form of their Apple smartphone. Sculpted from metal, studded in black and wearing the marks of precision craftsmanship, the Mini 2 truly is a sight to behold. Knowing HTC could have made this smartphone smaller yet is disappointing, but it’s a gripe easily overcome.

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Read more on these topics: Apple, Android, htc, iPhone, Sense, Sense 6, One (M8), One Mini 2, 5
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