The HTC One mini 2 is the successor to the HTC One mini smartphone that was released in August of last year. It is a 4.5 inch Android smartphone that essentially follows up on last year’s petite One offering, adding some of the design ethos and styling that we saw on the recently launched flagship the HTC One M8, without necessarily bringing all the M8’s hardware features. Allow Mobile Geeks to guide you through the new smaller One, the HTC One mini 2.
The HTC One mini – the One in Miniature
Before we delve deep into the HTC One mini’s successor, let me just recap where HTC took us with the first miniature version of the One. As many manufacturers are wont to do, HTC created the HTC One mini as a smaller, more affordable mid-range iteration of the highly acclaimed flagship HTC One smartphone. The 5 inch display was shrunk down to 4.3 inches and ended up being 5.4mm shorter and 21 grams lighter.
The signature design philosophy of the HTC One remained mostly intact with a physically similar uni-body device, but the internal processor platform, system memory and internal storage were all re-tuned to suite a more mid-range price point. In terms of cameras, HTC persisted with their UltraPixel approach and placed 4MP rear facing camera of a similar ilk the one that dived opinion on the HTC One. The popular BoomSound stereo speakers also returned albeit in smaller, slightly quieter form.
It is fair to conclude that in most respects HTC had succeeded in transplanting a very well received flagship smartphone in to smaller frame with a lower price tag . Fans of the HTC One may not have been blown away with its smaller, cheaper brother but it’s easy to see HTC’s motivation to address the needs of users for whom a $6-700 dollar premium and a 5 inch screen would be too much.
HTC One mini 2 – One M8, in Miniature?
Perhaps the first issue to address is where or not we should consider the HTC One mini 2 as a true a successor to last year’s HTC One mini, or if it would be more accurate to describe the HTC One M8 as its nearest brethren. In fairness it is probably most accurate to say that the genealogy of the One mini 2 is a mixture of both.
In terms of looks and design, the One mini 2 is dead ringer for the One M8, but the internals components, in many respects are similar to what we had on the One mini. Would it be fair to say the One mini 2 looks like an M8, but drives like a One mini? Not far off… but before we get caught up in a typhoon of comparative ones and minis, let’s look at today’s review device in more detail.
HTC One mini 2: Full Specifications
• 4.5″ Super LCD2
• 1280 x 720 (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
• Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8226)
• Quad-core 1.2 GHz (Cortex-A7)
• 1GB DDR3L RAM
• 16GB Internal Storage
• microSD Support up to 128GB
• 13MP w/LED Flash (4128 x 3096)
• 5MP Front Camera, 1080p@30fps
• BoomSound Stereo Speakers
• HSPA+, LTE Support
• Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0
• A-GPS, GLONASS
• Micro USB 2.0 port (MHL Compatible)
• 137.4mm x 65mm x 10.6 mm
• 137 grams
• 2,110 mAh battery
• Available colors; Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver, Amber Gold
• Android 4.4 with HTC Sense UI v6
Check out this full video review of the HTC One mini 2:
The first thing that strikes me straight away is that the trend for ever increasing handsets and display sizes continues with the mini’s 4.3 inch screen becoming 4.5 inches on the mini 2. The same 1280 x 720 resolution is used, as is the materials used with a Super LCD3 panel and Corning Gorilla glass.
The mini 2 as a result is almost 4mm longer than the One mini and at first glance you might even be forgiven for mistaking the mini 2 for its larger brother the M8. This is also true because in terms of styling and look, the mini 2 is very similar at a glance.
In terms of processor, HTC have again opted for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 platform that we saw on the One mini, a cost down version of the Flagship 800 series that performs reasonably well, especially when driving non-Full HD displays. 1GB of RAM is this time accompanied by 16GB of storage, something that I am personally very happy to see, while the device reverts to a much more traditional path with its rear 13MP camera.
HTC One mini 2 Photo Gallery
Design and Build Quality
The design of the recently launched flagship, the HTC One M8 was in my opinion probably the best feeling handsets ever, with a metallic bullet-esque feel that was well balanced and classy. It built on the success of its predecessor with a uni-body aluminum chassis that felt very strong with being overly heavy or bulky.
The mini 2 recreates the feelings and emotions I felt with the M8 with some familiar feeling caveats too. Like the first One mini, the uni-body design is slightly less apparent due to plastic lines that creep alone the back side of the device. Your fingers will feel them out as rims that appear to be joining separate aluminum pieces. The plastic rims are less pronounced than on the One mini, but they are still very much detectable to the touch.
So if it is not actually a uni-body chassis, does it feel less good in the hand as a result? In truth no. It feels great. The chassis itself may consist of several parts, but the in hand feel is still very, very good. In many users in fact may prefer being able to more easily wrap their fingers around a slimmer and slightly more rounded device.
The black plastic lines that we see drawn across the back of the device, join to become part of one piece at the edge, forming a thin plastic band upon which the front face is fitted. It doesn’t quite deter from the overall metallic finish, the plastic used is hard and black and lends itself to the device’s overall appeal quite well.
The One mini 2 is more rounded than the M8 with a peak thickness in the center of 10.4mm. This is 1.2-3mm thicker than the flatter feeling M8 and One mini, but being a more rounded device, that extra thickness doesn’t alter a really good in hand feel, in fact being rounder and thicker arguably makes it feel pretty comfortable in the hollow of your palm. One issue I found with the device’s more rounded form was how it kind of rocks from side when used on a flat surface like a table. Unless you tap the screen dead on center, it will rock from side and become quite the nuisance.
Overall, the HTC One mini 2 once again is solid and feels as good as anything in this smaller 4.5 inch form.
The display looks to me to be pretty similar to what we saw with the HTC One mini; a 720p Super LCD2 capacitive multi-touch panel with a pixel density of 326ppi protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 – in fact very similar to what we saw on the One mini, just at a larger 4.5 inch size. Despite not being a full HD screen, at 4.5 inches the 720p LCD2 that we have here looks great, even when you compare it to the One M8. It’s bright, the viewing angles are really good, and colors look fantastically vivid and punchy.
Overall the display gets a thumbs up from us. In terms of brightness and clarity it competes very well with other mid-range devices, including recent 720p displays we have seen on larger devices like the new HTC Desire 816. What you have on the mini 2 is much brighter, pixels are presented very crisply and clearly proving that 1280 x 720 looks great at 4.5 inches.
In terms of processor performance the HTC One mini 2 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 series system-on-chip, but it is a different 400 series model than we see used on the One mini and the more recent HTC Desire 816.
The Desire 816 we reviewed just last week runs an MSM8928 chip clocked at 16GHz, while last year’s One mini used a MSM8930AA clocked at 1.4GHz. The HTC One mini 2 uses the lowest clocked SKU with the MSM8226 clocked at 1.2GHz.
On paper there are in fact a few clear differences between the three chips mentioned above. The One mini’s MSM8930 uses Qualcomm developed Krait cores – two of them. While the Desire 816 and HTC One mini 2 use four ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The Desire 816 enjoys a higher 1.6GHz clock however.
Below you can see a table of benchmark scores comparing three of the latest HTC devices; the HTC One M8, HTC Desire 816 and today’s HTC One mini 2.
HTC One M8 / HTC Desire 816 / HTC One mini 2: Benchmark Comparison
|HTC One M8 Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz (MSM8974AB)||HTC Desire 816 Snapdragon 400 1.6GHz (MSM8928)||HTC One mini 2 Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz (MSM8226)|
|GFX Bench T-Rex||28.2fps||5.9fps||5.8|
|3DMark - Ice Storm||20594||4839||4567|
|Sunspider (lower is better)||669.6||910.2||1198|
The results are both interesting and resounding with the HTC mini 2 coming in last place on every benchmark test. The Desire 816 beats it comfortably with its higher clocked ARM Cortex-A7 cores.
The unsurprising thing about these scores is the wholly predictable fact that the Snapdragon 801 surpasses the competition by pretty substantial margins, especially when it comes to the GPU intensive 3Dmark and Anomoly 2 tests, where the Adreno 330 GPU dominates with a score of 20,594 with the Snapdragon 400 series failing to breach 5,000 points.
None of this really surprises us too much, the HTC One M8 is a current flagship that has to deal with a substantially larger number of pixels on its Full HD display. The Desire 816 is a substantially larger device at 5.5 inches, which means it can perhaps afford a little more leeway in terms of heat from the processor compared to the smaller HTC One mini 2. This may have helped it accommodate the higher clocked variant processor for that extra performance edge.
Watch the HTC One mini 2 being benchmarked in full in the video below:
We installed a bunch of new gaming titles and cranked the settings to the max to see if the synthetic benchmarks we saw earlier would be in evidence during game-play. In truth we found that the Adreno 305 GPU handled everything we threw at it, including titles like Nova 3, Dead Trigger 2, NBA2K13 and more.
Check out our gaming video of the HTC One mini 2 below:
The rear facing camera on the HTC One mini 2 differs from all previous One series devices thus far, eschewing the UltraPixel 4MP sensor for a more mainstream 13MP MegaPixel shooter. The actual camera and sensor array actually felt pretty similar to the implementation we saw on the HTC Desire 816 we reviewed just last week. We are basically looking at a decent camera that takes reasonably good photos at a much higher pixel count than those we saw on the HTC One M8, without all the bells and whistles that the M8 pioneers.
Most standard features are accounted for and implemented well; in terms of modes, there are basically three main shooting modes, Camera, Video and Selfie. The M8 in contrast gives you six modes to choose from, adding Zoe, Dual Capture and Pan 360 – non of which are available on the mini 2. The settings options however do offer plenty of choices that can help you achieve the right shot; these include presets for indoor, outdoor and HDR as well White Balance, Exposure and ISO settings plus a range of filters that allow you to delve in to the world of Instagram in real time.
One of the filters includes a Depth of Field sensor which offers blurring of an immediate objects foreground. It’s a poor substitute for the genuine depth sensor on the M8, which allows post-production focusing, but it works reasonably. The Selfie mode also has the countdown feature to allow to you to pull the right face at exactly the right moment… not that it helps me much.
Overall the camera feels like a solid enough shooter with plenty of options and features that will equip most users with the means to take decent if not astounding photos. High-end phones will doubtless perform better under harsher conditions and offer more cutting-edge features too.
HTC One mini 2: Example Photo Gallery
The HTC One mini 2 again knocks the ball straight out of park with its BoomSound speaker system. The reality is that HTC is way ahead of the competition is this regard, following up on what we experienced with the HTC One M8 and HTC Desire 816 with a full and even bassy sound that can really crank it up when pushed to the limit. The end result is awesome and particularly enjoyable when playing video games where you get a real feeling for bullets whizzing past your head thanks to the genuine stereo experience.
The HTC Sense UI v6 debuted on the HTC One M8 a few months and in fairness, not a great deal has changed here on the HTC One mini 2. The UI looks fairly minimalisitic, clean, uncluttered and refined with good simple navigation between menus and sub-menus. It is also great to see that bloatware and vendor specific apps have been kept to minimum too; the HTC that we have (calculator, calendar, clock etc) all look good and keep to HTC’s general simplistic design. Plenty of widgets are available most of which are the classic Google widgets that we’re now used to and fond of.
The Sense UI v6 is slick and very responsive too. We experienced very little, if any lag, but found that the 1GB of memory did mean that recently used apps were actually being closed in the background with regular impunity, a niggle but a good reason to prefer a 2GB device , which the HTC One mini 2 is not.
We believe the final price for the HTC One mini 2 will in the region of 470 Euros or 450 US, but that has yet to be confirmed by HTC. If this pricing is accurate then the mini 2 is less aggressively priced than many would have liked. The HTC One M8 is available now for just under 600 Euros and is one of the best smartphones that money can buy, so is the mini 2 worth three quarters of the M8? I am sure that users who prefer a smaller 4.5 inch device will find the asking price reasonably easy to swallow.
The HTC One mini 2 is in many ways a really scaled down version of the One M8, with killer looks and the same really strong build quality that we have come to expect of any HTC One series device. Overall it is a great smartphone, and one that I am sure fans of the first mini will enjoy.
There are some annoyances that I personally find to be worthy of highlighting again here; the uni-body design has again been fudged in favour of a unifying plastic ring that we believe holds the device together, it doesn’t affect overall hand feel too much, but I just feel HTC could have done a direct replica chassis in this 4.5 inch form. I would have been so much more impressed. Also, the changing button position once again leaved me scratching my head. We encountered left side positioning for both the power and volume buttons on the Desire 816, a decision that left me asking why.
Here again today, we are puzzled why HTC would move the power button (arguably the most important button on the device) to the top left? What are you up to HTC? Trying to confuse me with every new launch? I really think consumers like consistency in their products, especially when it comes to ergonomic concerns like button placement.
Despite its faults, the HTC One mini 2 is a great phone, with solid hardware, cams, software and one of the most solid builds you will ever find on a 4.5 inch smartphones today.