Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
HTC HD Mini smartphone
The HTC HD Mini is a cut down version of the HTC HD2; it is sleeker and slimmer mobile phone device overall.
- Elegant design, HTC's UI works well, very good music playback, Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS
- Expensive for its performance, poor camera, App Store needs more apps
The HTC HD Mini looks like a pretty good deal. It might not be a super-charged device but does most things well enough. It has a good looking and usable UI, and touch input works well.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The HTC HD2 is a 4.3in smartphone that runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and uses Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional and HTC's Sense UI + TouchFLO as its OS and UI respectively. Now there is the HTC HD Mini, a smartphone with a more petite build and a less powerful processor. In fact, there isn't much in common between the two phones and so the HD tag seems kind of strange. What's up with that, HTC?
The handset is not available from Australian teclos, but online retailer MobiCity is currently selling it for $469 with a 12-month warranty.
HTC HD Mini: Features
The HTC HD Mini ticks all the right boxes in terms of features. The WinMo OS ensures that it is a pretty powerful calling and messaging device and HTC has done their bit to enhance its features. For one, the contacts app has been upgraded to include your Facebook contacts and this integration works quite well. There’s also HTC’s Peep app that’s a pretty comprehensive tool for Twitter users.
The phone also comes with Office Mobile productivity suite that lets you view and edit Word Docs, Excel Sheets and PowerPoint Presentations. There’s also the Adobe Reader LE app you can use to view PDF documents.
On the hardware front, although the HTC HD Mini might not be as well endowed as the HD2, it is no slouch. It is powered by a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, has 384MB RAM and 512MB ROM. The Mini has a 3.2-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, with a resolution of 320x480 and colour output of 65K. It supports microSD cards up to 32GB, has a 3.5mm jack for headphones and a microUSB port. It supports Wi-FI and 3G and also has GPS and A-GPS support but unfortunately no built-in GPS navigation tool and only the free Google Maps. For imaging purposes, the HTC HD Mini has a 5MP camera with autofocus but no flash.
HTC HD Mini: Design and usability
HTC is now famous for manufacturing phones with minimalist and under-stated designs that still manage to look elegant and very classy. Everything from the HTC Hero to the HTC HD2 has embraced that design philosophy and the HD Mini is no different. The Mini is a sleek slim phone that takes a lot of good things from the HTC HD2’s look and makes it more compact. It also feels really solid in the hand we're pretty sure it will survive a couple of falls. The phone’s back has a smooth rubberised finish that makes it easy to hold.
The 3.2-inch screen definitely looks beautiful and colourful but unfortunately, the 65K colour output means that colour banding is visible at times. Also, the HTC HD Mini's screen loses a lot of visibility under direct sunlight.
The HTC HD Mini sports the same delectable combination of HTC’s two UIs - the Sense UI and the TouchFLO - that was found in the HD2. The new UI completely blankets Windows Mobile’s own interface and all we can say is thank heavens for that. The entire time we were using the phone we were hardly ever accosted by the WinMo interface. HTC’s UI is smooth, snappy and great to look at. It has bold design elements that make the phone better looking. The touch is responsive and accurate and that carries over the virtual QWERTY keyboard in landscape mode. However, there was some accuracy missing when using the QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode, but that was mostly to do with the screen’s smaller size.
HTC HD Mini: Web browsing and multimedia
The HTC HD Mini gives you the choice of using either Opera Mobile or Internet Explorer to browse the Web. Since no one in their right mind would prefer the latter over the former, you will be quite satisfied with Opera Mobile. The browser still can’t render Flash but it offers a bunch of other features including multi-tab support and bookmarks and download managers.
We were very disappointed with the HTC HD Mini’s 5Mp camera. First up, outdoor shots looked good but there was clearly some loss of details. In indoor shots the noise levels shot up, there were artefacts that were clearly visible and images also looked strangely smudged. The camera shot strictly average videos with not so great voice recording and overall quality.
The music playback, on the other hand, was very good. The audio came through loud and clear through the headphones, albeit a little bright. Mids were also slightly overpowering, but overall the HTC HD Mini offers great music playback. The HD Mini’s speaker was loud, albeit a little thin and the bundled earphones were also fairly decent.
Video playback was also good although some videos looked dull and washed out, but frame-rates were crisp. The downside is that the HTC HD Mini doesn’t support DivX or XviD and you will need a third party converter to transfer most movies and videos to the phone.
Call quality on the HTC HD Mini are clear in spite of being a little too thin and sharp. The Mini’s battery lasted me over a day of regular usage which is quite good.
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