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Honey I shrunk the smartphone. Top ‘mini’ handset roundup

Want smartphone specs in a smaller package? Welcome to the world of ‘mini’ smartphones.

Typically, the bigger the smartphone, the more powerful it is. But what if you don’t have giant’s hands? You still want to be able to pick up a well-specced handset, just one that isn’t the size of a bus, well that’s where mini phones come in.

Manufacturers have used the growing size of their top handsets to make room for an extra class of smartphones, practically out of thin air. The HTC One Mini, Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and LG G2 Mini are all shrunken down versions of their full-sized namesakes.

To say they’re small in the world of smartphones as a whole is a little inaccurate, most of these phones are still bigger than the top handsets of 2012, but they are at least, more manageable.

So why buy mini beyond the size? Unlike mid-range handsets, phones bearing the ‘mini’ name still aim to dole out an experience as close as they can muster to their bigger brothers. Now, three out of the four phones here don’t quite live up to this promise per se, but are still pretty powerful on paper and in practice.

The LG G2 Mini is at the base of the pack, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, an 8-meg camera and a 4.7-inch qHD screen. It’s most distinctive feature is the new Knock Code security system, which lets you tap at certain points on the screen, in a certain order to unlock the handset.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Mini, which has a slightly smaller and more vivid 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED screen, boasts a gig and a half of RAM and double the capacity for microSD expandability, by up to 64GB. Also, like the full-fat S4 it features a ton of camera modes and its well connected too.

Mini phones

The HTC One Mini is unmistakable next to the full sized One, sharing its aluminium bodywork, 4-Ultrapixel camera and boasting a higher resolution 720p HD screen then the previous two mini phones. Being one of HTC’s latest handsets it also sports the company’s distinctive BlinkFeed-laden slick take on Android.

Then finally we come to the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. It may not have a Full HD screen like the regular Z1, but aside from that, and its size, it’s the best example of what a mini phone should be.

You get true flagship specs with its Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, waterproof design and most impressive of all, a 20.7-megapixel snapper with Sony’s EXMOR RS sensor. Not to mention a big battery means that it easily lasts two days on a single charge.

So, if you like the look of your favourite phone maker’s latest handset, keep your eye out for a mini version on the horizon. They prove that for most, bigger isn’t always better.

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