HTC has always had an edge when it comes to hardware design. Their phones, have consistently won awards, with last years HTC One (M7) taking home a slew of awards throughout the year. The HTC One (M8) followed in its footsteps improving on the design and again has been an industry leader when it comes to design.
HTC released small(mini) and large (max) versions of the HTC One (M7) and this year, have followed up with the HTC One Mini 2 – based on the HTC One (M8) release. Like it’s predecessor, the HTC One Mini 2 has lost a lot of the internal specs of the higher end flagship, but it retains the elegance of design that the M8 brought to the table.
The One Mini 2, brings a smaller form-factor handset offering consumers an option to purchase a phone with a premium, award winning design and smooth performance at a lower end price-point.
The HTC One Mini 2 has launched on the Telstra network as an exclusive, which comes as no surprise given the long running relationship between Telstra – who launched the Desire – and HTC. The phone is available on a variety of contracts, beginning at just $64 per month on a 24 month contract.
The phone is no ‘cheapie’ pre-paid handset, so for that kind of money, is the HTC One Mini 2 worth your hard earned money? Let’s find out.
- Sleek unibody design
- Camera takes good shots & is easy to use
- BoomSound front speakers provide enhanced audio experience
- Battery life could be better
- Outdoor usage can be hard with the lower res screen
- Relatively expensive compared to other phones on the market
Hardware and Build
Under the beautiful unibody aluminium exterior of the HTC One Mini 2 is a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, paired with 1GB of RAM. The processor, has been a source of contention for many potential customers for the One Mini 2, with HTC delivering a phone which in theory is slower than its predecessor, but look again. The original HTC One Mini came with a 1.4GHz Dual-Core processor, while the HTC One Mini 2 comes with a Quad-Core version of the Snapdragon 400. Though it has a slower clock speed, in theory it should perform a little better, while also keeping costs low.
The HTC One Mini 2 comes with just 16GB of internal storage, of which 5GB is reserved for the OS. There is a bright side in that you can expand the memory with a microSD card, with the One Mini 2 supporting cards up to 128GB in size.
HTC has taken great care to build features from their higher end line into the One Mini 2. HTC has included front-facing Boomsound speakers mounted on the phone, above and below the 4.5” (1280×720) HD resolution screen. Also above the screen is a front-facing 5MP camera, which should take on all your ‘Selfie’ needs.
But the HTC One Mini 2’s camera chops don’t end there, moving to a 13MP camera on the rear. And if you think the HTC One Mini 2 is a looker from the front, then that 13MP camera on the rear will show off the Aluminium Unibody in all its glory, with the rear camera mounted in the middle top region with the LED Flash located just to the right of the camera. The HTC Metal branding is located exactly in the middle at the rear of the device. The cutout edges of the phone feel like they could have done with a little further refinement to make them smoother, I guess HTC just weren’t able to get this done.
Powering the HTC One Mini 2 is a non-removable, relatively small 2110mAh Lithium-Polymer battery.
The HTC One Mini 2 is made from 70 percent brushed metal, a drop from the 90% metal content in the HTC One M8. The rim of polycarbonate on the sides, bottom and top of the Mini 2 helps to marry the back to the two panels above and below the display along with the Gorilla Glass 3 sheet covering the front. The Polycarbonate is made of a black matte which looks pretty good and certainly goes well with the brushed metal.
The Mini 2 feels polished and refined and sits comfortably in the hand. Looking at the device the volume rocker is located on the right hand side, just underneath the microSD card tray. I have to say the volume rocker sticks out slightly more than the ones on my M7 and I feel HTC could have look at placing them more within the aluminum frame a bit more, if only to make it more refined and more up market.
At the top of the device we have the 3.5mm Headphone jack located off centre towards the right hand side of the device, with the power button located more to the left hand. Going around clockwise at the right hand side we have the MicroSD card slot located just above the volume rocker with the bottom right hand of the Mini 2 housing the MicroUSB charger port which is the right side up.
On the left hand side towards the curved edge you’ll find the Micro Sim Card tray which like the MicroSD Card slot need to be opened via the card tray tool.
The HTC One Mini 2 houses a slight bigger display to the previous model, with HTC increasing the screen size from 4.3” on the original HTC One Mini, to 4.5” on the HTC One Mini 2. HTC has retained the 720P resolution display of the original, so the pixel density has dropped from 342ppi to 326 in the One Mini 2.
HTC have decided to stick with Super LCD2 technology for the Mini 2 and I have to say, the screen is still just as stunning as the original. Colours are still lucid whilst the black and white ends of the spectrum are just as good, though not as deep in the black as AMOLED.
If you have the brightness up quite high, you tend to find that sunlight readability can be an quite an issue. The glass tends to be super reflective, also making glare an issue. A matte screen protector may save you from this, but then you would have a screen protector on your One Mini 2 – almost the equivilant of hanging fluffy dice in your brand new Ferrari.
This all aside, the screen is still impressive and can certainly handle anything you put at it throughout the day.
The One Mini 2 comes with a full quiver when it comes to wireless connectivity. There’s the usual specs: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, dual-band WiFi and LTE and HTC have included 3G/HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps as well as 4G support to cover the 1,3,7,8,28 LTE Bands. You’re not going to be able to run the HTC One Mini 2 on Every LTE network in Australia, but you’ll be fine on the Telstra network.
I was unable to miracast so this feature was a little disappointing. However the IR sensor, which is hidden by the black band surrounding the One Mini is still able to be used without hassle.
2.5V amplifier is located in the headphone jack, meaning wireless streaming to bluetooth headsets or streaming to wireless bluetooth speakers require you to still be plugged in.
There is one gripe I do have with the One Mini 2, which namely relates to the GPS which was slow to find my location. That said I am sure this could be fixed with a software upgrade hopefully.
Compared to the original HTC One Mini, the One Mini 2 does come with a much larger battery, stepping up from an 1800mAh battery in the One Mini, to an again, non-removable 2110mAh battery in the One Mini 2.
With the 2110mAh battery, the One Mini 2 can generally last the day if used sparingly. If you’re a heavy user though, you may want to keep a wall charger or portable battery pack handy to charge your device at work or on the go.
HTC have included its power-saving mode within the settings to help ameliorate some of this. The power-saving mode enables you to control what apps or services can still work on the device over the course of your day or once the battery reaches a certain percentage (generally around 40%-50%). However if you are a heavy user, even the power saving settings are not really going to stop you from draining the battery in just a few hours
Battery power though is constrained by size, and with an almost identically sized body as the original, HTC has managed to increase the size of the battery. Without a major change in battery tech in the near future, it’s safe to assume that HTC will have to work on optimising software to achieve battery savings. We’ll wait eagerly for the next round.
With a 1.4GHz Quad-Core Snapdragon 400 processor, Adreno 305 GPU and 1GB of RAM, the HTC One Mini 2 isn’t going to blow you away. What it will do is continue to plug away with minimal effort and get you through. There’s a reason that Qualcomm is a market leader in the mobile processor market.
For the most part the HTC One Mini 2 doesn’t generally suffer from lag or slowdown. However like all mid-range phones, there were spells when a faster processor would help.
It’s long past the point where lag on home screens is a ‘thing’, that said, the home screen carousel and app drawer response is excellent. Jumping in and out of the sort of applications you use daily such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or even into Gmail, or into a browser to catch up on the days news are certainly quick and stutter free as well.
The One Mini 2’s excellent performance at an OS level also carries over into the gaming side of things. I found playing Asphalt 8: Airborne, on the One Mini 2 a flawless experience with no frames dropped and a consistently high frame rate.
Though they’ve opted for a lower end CPU in the HTC One Mini 2, it seems that HTC has also chosen not to skimp on performance. The One Mini 2 should see you through for the most part on your day to day use.
Like most HTC smartphones entering the market, the One Mini 2 comes with two front facing Boomsound speakers. The speakers are paired with Boomsound enhancement integration software which HTC has used since parting ways with Beats Audio. I really only noticed some small difference between the Beats Audio integration on the M7 and the Boomsound enhancement on the One Mini 2. That said, the speakers seem to have been optimised to ensure sound and clarity hasn’t suffered that much.
Audio through the headset was about the same, with only a small difference in my opinion but Boomsound enhancement does seem to work quite remarkably well.
One small note and this could be an issue if you use bluetooth wireless streaming to your own speakers at home or at the office or on the go, is that under the Boomsound enhancement doesn’t work as the 2.5V amplifier is integrated into the headphone jack, requiring you to plug in manually.
The One Mini 2 also comes with HD voice calling which is pretty clear. Even when placing the call on speaker, the One Mini 2 came through with flying colours.
The HTC One Mini 2 comes with a single lens 13 MP camera instead of the Duo Camera Ultra-Pixel arrangement of the HTC One M8. While you miss out on some of the fun effects of the Duo Camera setup, the 13MP sensor can produce some impressive photo’s.
The One Mini 2 benefits from HTC’s camera user interface, which in itself is very simplistic for its range of shooting modes. The majority of full resolution pictures taken with the 13 MP rear camera are quite sharp, well coloured and have little image noise.
The LED flash is able to operate quite quickly in dark environments, however image noise is quite detectable and prevalent in these photo shots, which is to be expected. Overall I have to say that the Mini 2’s camera is quite impressive and serves as one of the device’s strongest selling points.
The front facing 5 MP camera is also quite impressive. It certainly can still produce rich tones and colours and is able record videos in Full HD resolution. If you’re a selfie addict, this is a smartphone you want to consider using.
The Mini 2 comes with HTC Sense 6 which again seems very light skin over android, with just some tweaks of course. It also runs Android 4.4.3 straight out of the box.
There is also a small suite of special features which have been packed into the One Mini 2 such as Do Not Disturb mode, an improved version of BlinkFeed, and an Extreme Power Saving Mode that goes to some extent in helping extend the battery life of the One Mini 2 by letting you use only the phone’s basic functions.
As you would expect from any Android smartphone, all of Google’s services come pre-loaded on the One Mini 2. As you would expect, you also get an additional 50GB of free Drive storage for 2 years so storage which is welcomed addition.
The One Mini 2 also comes with some of HTC’s basic own software as well including Polaris Office 5, KeyVPN and a stock-tracking app as well as enabling car or kid mode which are interesting and certainly in the case of kids mode, could possibly be replaced under Android Lollipop (5.0).
HTC One Mini 2
- 2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
- 4G: LTE 700 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600
- Dimensions: 137.4 x 65 x 10.6 mm @ 137 g
The One Mini 2 is certainly an improvement and it honestly is not only a beautiful device, but also a very capable and relatively powerful device. Given the price and the high end market HTC are trying to place the One Mini 2 in though, you should be seeing better battery life from the phone.
There’s a large market for a smaller form-factor phone with higher end specs. The Sony Xperia Compact series have certainly shown what can be done in this range. HTC has a fair way to go before standing their One Mini range up against the likes of the Z3 Compact, given the price, you may just want to update to the higher end One M8 and enjoy the benefits of a larger screen and faster processor.
That said, if you are after a phone that doesn’t compromise on design quality and offers a nicely performing handset in a more compact shell, then the One Mini 2 could be the device you’re after.