HTC’s 2014 flagship just got a baby brother! BoomSound, an aluminium body and HTC Sense 6 have been shrunken down to create the HTC One Mini 2.
We recently cast our eyes over the current ‘mini phone’ landscape. A trend that’s quickly become a popular area for manufacturers to explore with Sony, LG, Samsung and of course HTC having created the most prominent players in the space. Now HTC’s is offering up its second mini phone and a successor to last year’s HTC One Mini in the form of a sequel by the same name.
Now, off the bat, we’re sad to say that this is much more of a One Mini successor and not a scaled down HTC One (M8), which is reflected in its name; it’s not the HTC One (M8) Mini, although we wish it were. Sony remains the only company that’s really been able to distil down a nearly unaltered flagship smartphone experience into the smaller body of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.
HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review: Design
Drawing from the HTC One (M8) the One Mini 2’s body is predominantly a blend of brushed metal which wraps around the sides of the device. It’s significantly prettier than last year’s One Mini which had a body bordered by shiny white plastic, in the case of the One Mini 2, the phone is skirted by a matt rubberized plastic, and there’s far less of it.
The just like the One (M8) there are removable trays on either side, one for a nanoSIM, the other for a microSD card (any size up to 128GB). The front sees the characteristic BoomSound speaker grilles giving the Mini 2 a tall appearance the top grille sandwiched between the front-facing camera and brightness/proximity sensor.
The rubberised plastic also houses the headphone jack on the top and the microUSB port on the bottom. On the whole, the additional plastic on the body when compared to the One (M8) might look a tad less premium and precise, but it’ll probably age more gracefully as the hotspots for chipping and scuffing are plastic rather than metal.
HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review: Screen
The 4.5-inch 720p HD display is a tad larger than the One Mini’s screen, which featured the same resolution and technology. In essence the One Mini 2 features a lower pixel density than that of its predecessor, but in real world use, unless you sit them side-by-side it’s hard to tell, and even when you do, it’s barely perceptible.
It’s not the clearest or brightest 720p screen around, but it’s sharp and it boasts solid viewing angles too that for the majority of users means it’ll be more than adequate for snaps, movies and web browsing.
HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review: Performance and features
From the moment we powered the One Mini 2 on, the experience appeared almost identical to the One. The Mini 2 come running Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6 in tow. It’s fast to boot and slick to use based on our initial time with the device.
HTC’s Sense user interface is still one of the best skinned versions of Android around, with a snappy experience, considered customisations and a clear, clean aesthetic. BlinkFeed is present and correct as well, offering aggregated news from various sources, just one swipe away from the phone’s primary home screen.
The hardware running the show is a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor twinned to 1GB of RAM. It’s a step up from the dual-core chip of last year’s One Mini and doesn’t appear to strain under the demands of Android or Sense 6, although we’re yet to see how it handles full HD video files, high quality 3D games and other, more intensive apps.
Storage-wise you’ll find 16GB of internal space, the aforementioned microSD slot and, during the initial setup process, the chance to take advantage of an additional 50GB of Google Drive storage, which becomes linked to your account.
Connectivity is also pretty robust, with Bluetooth 4.0, dual channel WiFi a/b/g/n, NFC (which the last One Mini missed out on) and 4G. The only sticking point is a lack of IR blaster for controller your TV, a feature HTC has decided is reserved for its flagships only.
HTC One Mini 2 hands-on review: Camera
Aside from the size, the biggest difference between the One Mini 2 and its flagship sibling is the camera setup. The Duo Camera system is absent from the phone’s back with a single lens and LED flash in its place. The One Mini 2 actually uses a more conventional 13-megapixel BSI sensor, shunning the UltraPixel technology that HTC has worked so hard to push and opting for something more along the lines of the company’s latest mid-ranger, the HTC Desire 816.
Considering last year’s model retained an UltraPixel sensor, it seems odd to pull it from One Mini 2, as it shows that maybe the company doesn’t have as much faith in it as it makes out. Selfie fans will however appreciate the 5-meg snapper on the front and the fact that both front and rear cameras can capture in full 1080p HD.
Despite this disappointment of this being a high-end mid-ranger and not a pint-sized powerhouse mini flagship experience, we’d still recommend checking out the HTC One Mini 2. It’s a gorgeous device with a great user experience. All we have to do now is run it through its review paces for an honest final verdict. Stay tuned.