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HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

Today we’re looking at two mid-range Android smartphones from two of our favourite manufacturers HTC and Samsung. In one corner we’ve got the HTC Desire X, which costs from £200, battling against the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, which will set you back around £280. But which is best?


HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Design

With a soft touch black the finish the HTC Desire X is easy to grip, while touches like the metal camera mount edges looks and feels more premium. The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini looks like a miniature version of the Samsung Galaxy S3, with a hyperglaze white finish and silver trim, although plastic construction doesn’t feel premium, but the curved back and corners ensure it’s comfortable to hold.

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini main and side

Despite both being Android phones, control placement is slightly different, the HTC Desire X’s power button is located at the top, while the S3 Mini’s is on the side, with volume rockers on the opposing sides.

The S3 Mini has touch sensitive menu and back keys and you access open applications by holding down the solid middle home key, a method of navigation we prefer to the Desire X‘s trio of capacitive back, home and open application buttons

Winner: HTC Desire X

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 battery and controls

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Storage and connections

When it comes to internal storage, the Galaxy S3 Mini wins. Along with a microSD slot, it comes with 8GB of which around 4.5GB is usable and there’s also an 16GB option. The HTC Desire X has 4GB internal storage, but only around 1GB of this is usable, so a microSD is an essential investment if you plan on taking photos and downloading apps.

Both phones offer WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G, but not 4G (which isn’t really a surprise at this price point.
In addition the Galaxy S3 Mini offers WiFi Direct, dual-band WiFi. Neither phone has an NFC chip for contactless payments, although an NFC-equipped version of the S3 Mini is coming.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini screens

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini:  Screen

The HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini both have 4-inch screens with a resolution of 480×800, which is fairly standard at this price.

The Desire X has a Super LCD 2 panel, with more natural colours and blacks that aren’t quite as deep, but purer whites, although it’s not as bright as the S3 Mini. The S3 Mini uses a Super AMOLED panel, which means deeper blacks and bold, eye popping colours. It’s personal preference whether you prefer the saturated colours of the S3 Mini or more natural colours of the Desire X.

Off-angle viewing is good on both devices, although at more extreme angles the Desire X is better, with a blue tinge (you associate from AMOLED technology) visible on the S3 Mini.

Winner: Draw

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini off angle viewing and colours

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: OS

Both phones run Android, but the user experience is very different. The HTC Desire X uses Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich, a slightly older version of Android now (although many pricier phones are still awaiting the update), while the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini runs Android 4.1: Jelly Bean.

Both phones are heavily skinned with HTC Sense 4.1 and Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX respectively, and both let you customise multiple homescreens with apps, folders and shortcuts.

With its understated colours and attractive widgets we like the look of HTC Sense more, and it’s arguably easier to use. TouchWiz is more flexible though, with access to the Samsung App Store and cool features like motion controls and pop-up play.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Performance

Both phones include dual-core processors, the S3 Mini has the dual-core Cortex A9 with 1GB RAM, while the HTC Desire X has the 1GHZ Qualcomm S4 processor with 768MB RAM.

We ran a couple of benchmarks and the Galaxy S3 Mini was more powerful, although in real-world use the phones are pretty much equal when moving around the UI – especially if you delete lots of the pre-installed widgets. When browsing the Galaxy S3 Mini loads the page first, but the HTC Desire X renders the page first. A 3D game like Temple Run 2 and YouTube videos launch a split second quicker on the Galaxy S3 Mini.

Inside the HTC Desire X there’s an 1800mAh battery, while the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini has a 1500mAH battery, we found we needed to charge both at the end of the day, although both are replaceable, so you can pick up a spare if necessary.

Winner: Draw

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini games

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Camera

Both Androids include a 5-megapixel rear-facing cameras complete with LED flash and autofocus activated by tapping the screen. Delve into the menu system in either phone and you’ll find an evenly matched selection of features, including ISO, White Balance, Macro, Smile Shot, Panorama and Continuous autofocus,  along filters and scene modes while the HTC Desire X, which also offers HDR mode.

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini test shot street scene
HTC Desire X (left), Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (right)

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (test shoot zoom in)
Close-up of the flagpole, HTC Desire X (right), Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (left)

Photos taken using the HTC Desire X have bolder colours, while colours from the S3 Mini are more natural. But we were less impressed by the HTC’s white balance, indoors and out, which tended to be pinkish. The HTC Desire X takes sharper photos outside, but examine pictures closely and noise is more of problem and it struggles to reveal detail in high-contrast situations, in comparison to the S3 Mini

The S3 Mini is the best for video, capturing sharp and clear 720p HD movies, with respectable sound, in contrast the Desire X shoots at a maximum resolution of 800×480, resulting in much softer, if more vibrant movies.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

HTC Desire X and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini camera

HTC Desire X VS Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Verdict

We like the design of the HTC best – it’s a stunning phone, with a good screen and decent camera and HTC Sense is incredibly user friendly. The Galaxy S3 Mini is more versatile, with more storage,  better video performance and slightly more RAM, interestingly despite looking and feeling cheaper. But with performance so close, is it really worth paying £80 more, if you’re a Samsung fan yes – otherwise probably not, or wait for the price to drop.



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