It’s easy to forget that HTC launched a Windows Mobile phone this year, especially when everyone’s been raving about the Desire and Legend. The HTC HD Mini is an attractive device and, as its name suggests, it fits well in a pocket. Read our review to find out if HTC’s small offering is worth buying.
What we like
At a time when large phones/tablets are all the rage it’s refreshing to hold a touchscreen phone as small as the HTC HD Mini. HTC has added a variety of cute details such as exposed screws at the back and a yellow interior, which you can only see when you peel the battery cover off.
The HD Mini’s 3.2-inch screen is very responsive and easy to use with one hand. HTC has added its Sense user interface to Windows Mobile 6.5, making it a lot more usable – it’s relatively easy to flick from weather information to photos for example.
At the top of the HD Mini you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone jack which means you can listen to music with your own headphones. The music player supports MP3, WMA and AAC files, and is easy to use – music sounds good and we like that you can skip to the next track by flicking up the track’s album art.
Other noteworthy features include Wi-Fi and GPS, which worked as expected. As with any phone running Windows Mobile 6.5 you can access emails over Exchange and Outlook works a treat for reading and responding to emails.
What we don’t like
HTC’s Sense user interface definitely makes Windows Mobile 6.5 easier to use but it didn’t always run as smoothly as we expected. On several occasions the HD Mini froze and we had to restart it – it may have been a problem with our review model of course.
We’re huge fans of Opera’s mobile browsing solutions but the HD Mini’s Opera-powered browser was awkward to use. Zooming in and and out of websites didn’t feel very natural and sites didn’t look great on the HD Mini’s screen.
Unlike the HTC Magic or HTC HD2, the navigation keys at the bottom of the screen are touch-sensitive and we would have preferred mechanical ones. A dedicated camera key would have been nice too. You have to tap the screen to take a picture, which isn’t easy when you’re taking a picture of yourself.
We weren’t blown away by the Mini’s 5-megapixel camera but it takes reasonable pictures in daylight. The lack of flash meant that shots in low light were a no-go.
Windows Mobile 6.5 isn’t horrible to use but it’s not exciting. There aren’t many decent Windows Mobile apps and with Windows Phone 7 just around the corner we don’t think there’ll be many developers willing to create apps for this platform in the future.
If you’re looking for a compact Windows Mobile phone then the HTC HD Mini is a good option but we’re not sure we would buy one. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Microsoft is about to launch a brand new mobile operating system and apps designed for it won’t work on Windows Mobile 6.5.
If you’re not bothered about Windows Mobile 6.5’s issues then we would also suggest checking out the HTC HD2, which also runs Windows Mobile 6.5, and is a much better phone in our opinion thanks to its enormous screen.