When a company announces the budget version of a popular device, things often go in one of two directions. On one hand, there are devices like the iPad mini and iPod nano, which strike a chord and become more popular than their pricier predecessors. But then you have phones like last year's Galaxy S3 Mini, which used a valuable brand to sell some pretty underwhelming hardware. Which side of that fence does the new HTC One mini fall onto? Let's put it up against the standard HTC One, and see how its specs (and other features) compare.
The HTC One mini really isn't that "mini." Hell, three years ago, this would have been considered a huge phone. It's only four percent shorter and seven percent narrower than its flagship sibling. Thickness is identical, or at least it is down to a few hundreths of a millimeter.
The One mini is about 15 percent lighter than the One.
The One mini mostly sticks with the One's acclaimed aluminum design. Both phones have a plastic (polycarbonate) band around the edges, but that band is wider and more pronounced on the mini.
The One mini gives you 84 percent as much screen real estate as its big brother does. It isn't as sharp either, with only 44 percent as many pixels as the One's 1080p screen has.
With that said, when you're comparing 300+ pixel per inch (PPI) screens with 400+ PPI screens, you're basically splitting hairs between "very sharp" and "ridiculously sharp." We don't expect many people to find much to complain about with the One mini's 341 PPI display.
The One mini doesn't have the quad core Snapdragon found in the One, but HTC didn't put some low-end stinker in there either. Qualcomm designed its Snapdragon 400 chip for devices just like the One mini: mid-range pricing with performance leaning more towards the high-end than you might expect.
Here's another downgraded component in the One mini, but 1 GB of RAM shouldn't be too much cause for concern either.
This could be limiting for some people. Neither phone has a microSD card slot, so that 16 GB of storage in the mini (which goes down several gigs after you account for Android and HTC Sense) isn't a ton of space. One mini owners might need to rely more on cloud syncing and external backups than they would on some other phones.
The One mini also gets the One's four megapixel "UltraPixel" camera. It should deliver the same quality low-light photography that you'll find in the One. Both phones also give you HTC's "Zoes," which are short three-second clips, which you can use to pick the perfect still or save as-is.
One thing missing from the One mini's camera is hardware-based Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The One does have OIS, which helps you to avoid camera shake.
HTC did throw in some software-based OIS on the One mini, but we wouldn't hold our breath on it working as well as the One's version.
The One mini has a lower-capacity battery, but it's also powering a lower-resolution display, so it's possible that actual uptimes will be pretty close.
HTC didn't skimp on mobile data in the mini. Like the larger One, it will ride speedy LTE networks, where available.
HTC also skipped near-field communication (NFC) in the One mini. For what it's worth, we rarely use NFC-based features in the smartphones we have lying around. With NFC-based mobile payments not yet catching on, this probably won't be a deal-breaker for most customers.
There's also no Infrared (IR) Blaster in the One mini. The prime use for the One's IR blaster is for turning your phone into a TV remote control. This can be a handy feature for those times when the remote is just out of reach, but One mini owners won't have that luxury.
The One mini ships with the newest version of Android (at least until Android 4.3 launches, as soon as next week). Some carriers have pushed out the 4.2 update for the One, but many more carriers are still sitting on 4.1, so, in some cases, the One mini could have the advantage here.
Both phones ship with the HTC Sense manufacturer UI (that is, unless you buy the Google Play Edition of the HTC One). Sense 5 again includes BlinkFeed, a Flipboard-like news and social feed hub, that resides permanently on your home screen.
The One mini starts shipping in August, and launches globally in September. It's almost hard to believe, but the standard One has already been on the market for over four months.
While the HTC One mini definitely pulls things back a notch or two, it's far from being a bargain bin phone that you'll want to avoid like the plague. On the contrary, its internal components would have been hovering near the high-end just a year ago, so you're still getting a quality piece of kit. And though its smaller screen size could be a drawback for some, its smaller overall surface area could be a plus for those who prefer smaller phones.
The biggest mystery is pricing, but HTC is obviously aiming for the mid-range here. What this adds up to is a lower bar of entry for one of the best phones of the year. And though it technically isn't as powerful as the One, the One mini doesn't appear to cut enough corners to be considered a certified turkey.
Stay tuned to Gizmag for more on the One mini. In the meantime, you can check out our review of the full-sized HTC One.
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