Most helpful positive review
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly good mid-range phone, too bad only on AT&T
on October 10, 2013
I've had a chance to use the HTC One Mini for the past month. As the name suggests, it's the little brother to the HTC One. Compared to its big brother, it's a little bit smaller in dimensions, with a smaller 4.3" 720P IPS screen, slower dual core CPU, 16GB memory and smaller battery at 1800mah. Honestly, I thought the phone would be a decent, but not great, device when I first picked it up, simply because of all the sacrifices for what appears to be a pretty minimal reduction in physical size. Yeah, it's actually not that smaller compared to the bigger HTC One.
But I was pleasantly surprised. The phone is slightly shorter AND narrower than the HTC One. Even though it's still a fairly large device given the screen size, the reduction is just enough to make the phone easily usable with one hand. I can't stress this enough - this is the biggest (and probably only) advantage the Mini has over its big brother. Well, that and the price. It feels great in hand, and I don't have to stretch or reposition my hand and fingers to reach every corner of the screen. Big plus in ergonomics.
The other compromises in tech specs are reasonable given the mid-range nature of the device. The slower CPU and smaller screen help to reduce the impact of the smaller battery - they use less juice. The resulting battery life is decent - I got through a day easily with average usage - about 2 to 2.5 hours on screen time, 4G LTE (60%) and wifi (40%). With heavier usage, you probably would need a quick recharge in the afternoon. The camera is largely the same as the Ultrapixel (large 2um pixel sensor) camera on the HTC One, with one exception - the Mini's camera doesn't come with optical image stabilization (OIS). OIS helps smooth out the shakes and vibrations when taking photos and videos. But I guess HTC had to differentiate the Mini a little bit from the more expensive One.
The Sense 5 user interface is refined and subdued - classy and minimalist in nature compared to the cartoony Samsung Touchwiz and LG's. The phone feels buttery smooth in everyday use - no lag at all.
The solid all-metal construction from the HTC One is here as well with one minor modification - the phone's edges has a plastic bumper. It takes a little bit away from the premium look, but it's otherwise identical to the One and blows every other Android phone out of the water.
The dual speakers facing you is a large reason the phone is a bit bigger physically - you need the space for the speaker grills! But it's 100% worth it. This phone sounds every bit as good as the HTC One, and really is the BEST sounding smartphone on the market. Period. There's NOTHING that comes close. If you care about sound quality, this (and the HTC One) is the phone to get.
Overall, this is a very well designed phone with good all-around performance. The mid range specs are reasonable since this is not a flagship phone, and is priced accordingly. It's really a shame that the phone isn't available on more carriers!