HTC One Mini Android phone
The One Mini is a downsized version of the HTC One that's difficult to recommend
- Attractive aluminium build
- Compact and comfortable size
- Excellent display
- Weak reception
- Battery life isn't great
- Questionable performance at times
The HTC One Mini has an attractive design and a great display, but an inflated on-contract price tag, less than stellar performance and poor reception make it very difficult to recommend.
Price$ 480.00 (AUD)
Smartphones continue to get bigger and bigger but not everyone wants to carry around a behemoth in their pocket. At least that's what HTC seems to believe. The HTC One Mini is a compact version of the flagship HTC One, aiming to deliver a similar user experience in a much more pocket-friendly size. The One Mini has an attractive design and a great display, but an inflated on-contract price tag, less than stellar performance and poor reception make it very difficult to recommend.
Aluminium with a dash of plastic
HTC wants you to believe the One Mini is just a downsized version of the One, but that's not exactly true. While it borrows many design traits off its bigger brother, this is a very different device. The main change is visible on the sides, which are now finished in a glossy, white plastic rather than bevelled edge aluminium. The use of plastic may feel less premium than aluminium, but the smooth edges make the One Mini very comfortable to hold. Better ergonomics is really what this phone is about and that's achieved thanks to a much smaller width than the original One.
The downsizing has resulted in tinny sounding speakers that are nowhere near as loud.
There's plenty of design similarities to the larger One, so the One Mini remains a very attractive device. It has a aluminium finish on the back, comes with dual, front-facing speakers called 'BoomSound', and uses a similar UltraPixel camera lens on the rear. The use of aluminium gives the One Mini a weighty feel but it's definitely not too heavy. Sadly, the downsizing has resulted in tinny sounding speakers that are nowhere near as loud as the ones on the larger HTC One.
The fit and finish of the HTC One Mini is reasonably impressive, though there are a couple of annoyances. The top-mounted power/lock screen button is again positioned too far to the left, so you'll still need to stretch your hand to reach it. The volume buttons on the right side sit too close to the edge and require a firm press to activate. There's also an inconsistent, visible gap between the speaker panels on the front and the plastic sides. It's not a dealbreaker, but definitely noticeable if you look closely.
The HTC One Mini has a 4.3in LCD3 screen with a 720p resolution of 1280x720. Despite the downsize in both screen size and resolution, the display is extremely impressive. It produces excellent colours, is bright and clear, and performs reasonably well in direct sunlight. Viewing angles are also superb. The decrease in resolution may sound like a downgrade on paper, but it's hardly an issue — unless you pit the One Mini side by side with the original One, and perhaps even pull out a magnifying glass, most average users won't be able to tell the difference.
Plenty of compromises but a decent user experience
The One Mini is clearly not as smooth as its bigger brother.
HTC is keen to state that the One mini comes with "no compromises" when compared to the original One, but this really isn't the case. The device runs a dual-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon 400 processor compared to the One's quad-core 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 CPU, has 1GB of RAM compared to 2GB, and comes with 16GB of internal memory instead of the One's 32GB. There's also no microSD card slot, though that limitation is one feature that's been carried over from the original One. Given the downgrade in internal storage capacity, the lack of removable storage is more of an issue on the HTC One Mini than its bigger brother.
Performance doesn't seem to be affected by the downgraded specifications, though the One Mini is clearly not as smooth as its bigger brother. We didn't encounter or experience any lag when using the camera, or playing graphically intense game titles, but the Mini can occasionally become sluggish when using basic apps like messaging and phone.
Where HTC doesn't compromise at all is on software.
Where HTC doesn't compromise at all is on software. What you get is a very similar user experience to the larger One. It runs the same Android software (4.2 Jelly Bean), almost the same HTC Sense 5 user interface and of course, the same BlinkFeed home screen feature that debuted on the One. Like the original One, we like most of the new fonts, graphics and animations on HTC's Sense software, save for a few ugly app icons that have been changed for no apparent reason.
There are a few new features. The most notable is a new shortcut menu in the notifications panel which includes toggles and switches for brightness, settings, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, power saver, auto rotate, mobile data, sound profile, Wi-Fi hotspot and screenshot. The toggles can't be edited but we do like the fact the menu can be immediately accessed by swiping down on the notifications bar with two fingers, just like stock Android.
Lack of NFC, no Infrared port, no optical image stabilisation.
The BlinkFeed home screen is front and centre of the HTC One Mini, but the idea of seeing social networking status updates and feeds every time you unlock your phone isn't appealing to us. Annoyingly, BlinkFeed must be one of your home screens, but at least doesn't have to be the primary one. Thankfully, the main elements of the One Mini's interface, including the app drawer, home screen and lock screen, are user friendly, though the default keyboard remains poor and is best replaced with a third-party option from the Play Store.
Other compromises include a lack of NFC connectivity, no Infrared port, and no optical image stabilisation (OIS) on the camera. We don't think these missing features are reason enough to avoid the One Mini completely, though just be aware that it's hardly a case of no compromises as HTC wants you to believe.
The biggest issue is mobile reception. When compared side by side with a Samsung Galaxy S4 (full five bars) and a Nokia Lumia 1020 (four bars) in the same North Sydney test location, the One Mini only managed to hold three bars of signal on Telstra's 4G network. Further, it couldn't even manage to connect to get a 4G signal in multiple locations where both the Galaxy and the Lumia easily could. Multiple callers during our tests also complained of poor outgoing voice quality, and reception seemed erratic at most times.
UltraPixel camera, decent battery life
Very good low-light performance is a highlight compared to most other smartphone cameras.
The HTC One Mini has an identical rear camera to the larger HTC One, sans optical image stabilisation (OIS). The 4-megapixel 'UltraPixel' camera uses a custom image sensor with enlarged pixels that the company says can absorb up to three times more light than most other smartphone camera. While very good low-light performance is a highlight compared to most other smartphone cameras, photos captured with the One Mini do suffer from plenty of image noise. You won't notice this if you're using your photos to upload to Facebook and Instagram but when you want to zoom or crop images the quality isn't as crisp as you would expect.
The HTC One Mini includes the ability to record a new media called "Zoe" which captures one second of video before you take the photo and three seconds after. It's useful for capturing an action shot which you may normally miss and the editing options are plentiful. Annoyingly, you can only share these Zoe files through HTC Share, which stores them on HTC's servers for a limit of 180 days. HTC has downgraded the front-facing camera on the One Mini from 2-megapixels to 1.6-megapixels, and the lens isn't ultra wide like its larger counterpart. Thankfully, full HD video recording remains of a very good quality.
The HTC One Mini has below average battery life. During our tests the 1800mAh battery lasted around 14 hours on average before needing to be charged. While this is better than many 4G-capable Android phones, it's still a below average result given the smaller screen size. Heavy users will likely need to top up the One Mini before the day is out.
The HTC One Mini is available in Australia through Telstra in glacial silver, and Vodafone in stealth black. While the $480 outright price through Telstra is competitive, the contract plan prices are less appealing given some of the Mini's downgraded features and reception issues.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- Android device updates: Nougat is coming to the Moto G4, G4 Plus
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCUser Researcher/Business AnalysisACT
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- TPProject SchedulerVIC
- TPSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- CCNetwork EngineersACT
- FTLead Change Manager- Culture & Process ChangeNSW
- FTPower BI Reporting DevelopersSA
- FTSenior C# DeveloperNSW
- TPSolution ArchitechtSA
- TPAnalyst Programmer (.Net)SA
- FTSenior Network Specialist - IPVPN EdgeVIC
- FTRACF Mainframe Security Analysts / Engineers - Multiple Roles - SydneyNSW
- FTLevel 3 Application Support AnalystVIC
- CC.Net Developer - SilverlightVIC
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- CCSolution ManagerSA
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTFunctional Consultant - CommercialsQLD
- CCTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- FTFull Stack DeveloperWA
- FTL&D ConsultantVIC
- FTNBN Sales Consultant / Account ManagersSA