Review: HTC One Mini

Style over substance.

Rating 3.5 /5
 
Review: HTC One Mini
Pros:
Impressive design; Sturdy build; Sharp screen; Elegant UI; Great sound quality.
Cons:
Disappointing camera; Expensive; Limited storage.

HTC One Mini
Street Price: Rs 30,000


In this world full of oversized phones, it’s great to see a handset that justifies the world ‘mobile’. We are talking about the HTC One Mini, which retains the aluminium styling of HTC’s top-dog. It also comes with the much-hyped 4 “Ultrapixel” camera. For Rs 30,000, it competes with the likes of Nexus 5 and Nokia Lumia 925. So is it good enough to hold its ground?



Aesthetics And Hardware
The One Mini looks every bit as premium as the original One. In fact, it fits perfectly in hand due to its relatively smaller screen size. With its metal-clad body, it can kill any other Android phone when it comes to aesthetics. The minimalistic design approach makes it look elegant, while the unique front-facing speakers make the phone stand out. The construction is top-notch, the phone feels sturdy in hand. The company has paid attention to even minute details.



The display is 4.3-inch with pixel dimensions of 720x1280. For scratch resistance, HTC has gone with the latest Gorilla Glass 3. The display is reasonably bright. When it comes to colour reproduction, we’ve seen much better screen in this price range. The sunlight legibility is just about ok. With HD resolution, the screen looks very sharp.

The phone packs in dual-core Snapdragon 400 chipset clocked at 1.4 Ghz. In the photography department, it offers a similar 4 "Ultrapixel" camera as its older sibling. Other features include 16 GB of internal storage (12 GB user accessible), 1 GB RAM, 1.6 megapixel front-facing camera, Beats audio enhancement, and 1800 mAh Li-Polymer battery. It lacks microSD card slot. The handset's call quality and signal reception during the tests were good. The phone has the usual connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G. The phone’s network reception and call quality are spotless.

Software And Performance
The HTC One Mini runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with HTC Sense UI on top of it. One interesting interface element BlinkFeed has been inspired by Windows Phone platform. It aggregates news and events from multiple websites in a list of tiles. The app menu scrolls vertically as compared to the sideways swiping list.

 

The phone only sports two capacitive keys for Menu navigation - Menu and Back. There's no dedicated key for multitasking, but you can bring up the app switcher by double tapping the Home key. The colour scheme and icons are nicely done, they complement the phone's elegant design. The UI has the cohesiveness that's missing in most Android skins. In fact, I find it better than the "pure" Nexus interface.

The phone performs most tasks effortlessly. There's no hint of a lag or slowdown during menu navigation. The transition effects are smooth too. Having said that, the phone struggles with gaming and there are occasional hiccups during full-HD video playback. It's nowhere near the performance offered by the similarly priced Nexus 5. Moving onto synthetic benchmarks, the One Mini scores 15,314 in AnTuTu. In comparison, Nexus 5 clears the same test with 28961.

Multimedia And Camera
With Beats Audio enhancement in tow, the One Mini offers excellent music output. Especially, those who prefer bass will love it. There's no way to quickly toggle Beats Audio enhancement. You have to go all the way to phone settings for that. Video player is basic and doesn't support most video formats out of the box. Fortunately, there are plenty of great third-party video players in the Play Store.

The 4 "ultrapixel" (marketing mumbo-jumbo) camera offers called Zoe. It offers many images post processing effects such as skin smoothening, red-eye removal, and anti-shine. Sequence Shot is an excellent feature that combines multiple images in a single frame to convey the action. All these features are really interesting, but unfortunately it disappoints with the most important aspect, which is image quality. Even on the slightest of zooming in the pictures become grainy. The colours are off too. Click here for the full resolution shot. Speaking of video recording, the One Mini can produce 1080p videos at 30 fps. The quality is quite decent.

Battery
The smartphone's 1800 mAh Li-polymer battery easily lasts for a day and half under normal usage. In our video loop test, it managed to power the device slightly over 7 hours.

Verdict
The HTC One Mini hands-down the best looking Android phone under 30k. The phone’s clean user interface does full justice to its elegant design. As far as the look and feel goes, HTC has nailed it. We also liked its screen sharpness and sound quality. On the other hand, its camera and performance are not up to the mark. If HTC gets the price down by around five grand, we wouldn’t recommending this phone. However, at the moment the LG Nexus 5 and Nokia Lumia 925 are much better options in this price bracket.

Features: 3.5/5
Design And Build Quality: 4.5/5
Performance: 3/5
Value For Money: 2.5/5
Mojo: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Specifications:

  • 4.3" LCD screen with 720x1280 pixels, Goriila Glass 3.
  • 4 Ultrapixel camera,  1.6 MP front facing camera.
  • Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1.4 GHz Dual-core processor, Adreno 305 GPU.
  • 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage. Lacks microSd card slot.
  • 3.5mm jack, Beats Audio enhancement.
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, A-GPS.
  • Android 4.2.2 with Sense 5.
  • 1800 mAH battery.
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass.


TAGS: Mobile Phones, Android, HTC

 

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