HTC One mini 2 review
Is the HTC One mini 2 really the cutting edge of compact?
The compact smartphone market is heavy with competition for the likes of the HTC One mini 2 so I had to find out if this miniaturised version of the HTC One (M8) could live up to its hype.
As soon as you get your hands on the HTC One mini 2 you will realise that it is well suited to the size of your hand, which is a characteristic that has been lost in phones that have screens of 5 inches or more.
HTC has pitched the phone as the ‘most grippable Android phone ever’ and I have to admit that the tapered edges provide a grip that does lend itself well to one-handed operation.
The weighting is also hand and pocket friendly at 137 grams and this sits at the same level as other compact models such as the 137 gram Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.
The same premium look and design of the HTC One (M8) is present and the 137 x 65 x 10.6mm shell houses a 4.5” high-definition display that I thought was extremely eye-catching, boasting 720 x 1280 pixels at a density of 326 pixels per inch.
The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and although it was tempting to grab a HTC One mini 2 and bang it against the side of a table to test out its strength, I have finally opted not to!
Phone Set Up
The main thing that all HTC owners will want to do as soon as the phone is out of the box is set up HTC BlinkFeed to deliver real-time social network updates, breaking news stories and sports news onto the home screen.
You can switch the home screen to run in standard Android mode but I highly recommend users don’t. I discovered that BlinkFeed is actually pretty user friendly if you know a trick or two:
- BlinkFeed Stream - If you have scrolled down a long way through the feed then you may wish to jump back to the top of the stream. To do this simply tap the notification bar at the top of the screen (where the clock, battery status and network signal is displayed) and you will jump back to the top of the feed.
- Post a social update - You can do this straight from BlinkFeed by pulling down slightly on your BlinkFeed stream and then hold for a moment until a menu bar slides down from the top of the display. You will notice a pencil icon in the menu and you can tap this to choose a social network such as Facebook or Twitter and then be able to write your update.
- Post on a friends Facebook timeline - Tap the ‘Post to’ button and then simply choose a contact from your address book.
- Protect your tariff’s free data allocation - You can do this by setting BlinkFeed to only update when connected to Wi-Fi. Pull down on the stream again and hold for a second to bring up the menu and then select ‘settings’ followed by ‘auto refresh’ and ‘using Wi-Fi’.
The HTC One mini 2 is powered by Android KitKat so you get a healthy dose of Google features such as Google Maps, Search, Google Now, Voice Actions and a calendar for setting daily schedules, reminders, meetings and appointments.
But it is once again HTC’s input that makes this mini smartphone so special:
- HTC Zoe Highlights - This sharing app is pretty fun to use and it allows you to create, share and remix video clips and selfies, taken on the 13 megapixel camera. The Remix function gets your friends involved by allowing them to add in their own videos, photos and soundtracks to create brand new Zoe Highlight videos.
- HTC BoomSound - The HTC One mini 2 may be a smaller version of the HTC One M8 but that doesn’t mean that it can’t pump out a beat. The dual frontal stereo speakers have built-in amps that are housed in over-sized speaker chambers and combined with bass and treble balancing software there is certainly no need for additional speakers.
All of the connectivity options such as GPS, NFC, Bluetooth and 4G are onboard while smooth gaming and stutter free video playback can be enjoyed thanks to a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2HGz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
Camera & Video
The front and rear camera package is to be applauded.
I was delighted to discover a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera combination with LED flash, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and panorama mode.
Video can be captured at 60 frames per second at 720p quality or 30fps at 1080p. I found this extremely useful when managing the memory that is expandable up to 128GB and the 60fps mode is pretty handy when you want to capture fast moving subjects.
The selfie hasn’t been overlooked either with an on-screen countdown timer giving you time to prepare the perfect pose.
Built-in Touch Up software is also onboard making it pretty easy to enhance lighting, adjust the palette to produce natural skin tones, eliminate red eye and adjust facial contours.
The 2100mAh battery promises up to 16 hours of talk time when the phone is running on 3G. This is however slightly less powerful than the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact’s 2300mAh battery but on a par with that of the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini.
Written by: Michael Brown