From the HTC One to the HTC One Mini: Wife's weekend experiences

From the HTC One to the HTC One Mini: Wife's weekend experiences

Summary: The HTC One was the first Android device my wife was pleased with, but after testing out the smaller HTC One Mini she is convinced that is the better device for her.


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  • HTC One Mini

    A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend some time with the HTC One Mini. HTC sent an unlocked international one to evaluate last week and since I personally have no reason to go with a mini version I decided to conduct an experiment and have it tested by someone who the smaller size may appeal to so my wife spent time with it this past weekend.

    My wife and I both use T-Mobile HTC One devices and I am perfectly happy with it. My wife likes it too, but it is a bit large for her hand and it has slipped out a few times. The second she saw the HTC One Mini in my hand, she asked to hold it and then told me I couldn't have it back.

    What did HTC take out of the One to make the One Mini?

    After holding the One Mini and immediately deciding that the smaller size was more desirable, my wife asked what was different from the HTC One she is fond of. The following are the differences between the One and the One Mini:

    • Size: The One Mini is 5.4 mm shorter, 5 mm narrower, and just 0.05 mm thinner. The One Mini is 21 grams less in weight as well.
    • Display: The One Mini has a 4.3 inch 720p display at 341 ppi compared to the 4.7 inch 1080p 468 ppi display on the One.
    • Processor: A dual-core 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 400 is used on the Mini instead of the Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7 GHz model.
    • OS: The One Mini launches with Android 4.2.2, while the One is still officially at 4.2. I have since made the SWITCH so am enjoying the many benefits of 4.2.2.
    • Memory: The HTC One Mini has half the RAM (1GB) and half the internal storage (16GB).
    • Wireless: The One Mini lacks NFC, 802.11 ac, and an infrared port.
    • Camera: The One Mini has no optical image stabilization and the front facing camera drops from 2.1 megapixels to 1.6 megapixels.
    • Battery: The One Mini has an 1,800 mAh battery, compared to 2,300 mAh on the One.

    As I look at the differences here, I realize there is no way I could accept moving from the One to the One Mini as I take lots of videos and photos, load up plenty of apps, and regularly use my One as a remote for home and hotel TVs. The 4.7 inch display device fits well in my hand and I find it to be one of the smaller high end smartphones available today.

    On the other hand, the smaller size is the most noticeable difference and the one specification that grabbed my wife's attention at first. She has only installed about five additional 3rd party apps with a focus on using her smartphone for social networking, phone calls, and taking pictures. She didn't even know the One had an IR port or NFC so losing these two features has no impact on her.

    Wife's feedback on using the HTC One Mini

    My wife enjoyed using the HTC One Mini this weekend and plans to continue using it for the next week before I have to return it to HTC. It looks like I will have to see about switching her from the full size One to the One Mini in the future though, based on this direct feedback:

    • Size: In my initial hands-on I felt the HTC One would challenge the iPhone 5 as a one-handed device and my wife could not stop commenting on her ability to use the One Mini with a single hand. She said, and her texts verified this, that her ability to enter text was more accurate with far fewer mistakes. She hasn't dropped the One Mini and found it fit into her pocket much more easily.
    • Phone functionality: I'm not sure if my wife's One is faulty or if the size of the device just isn't right for her, but she often sounds poor on the One and experiences regular proximity sensor failures (calls switch to mute, speaker mode, and hang up). On the One Mini, that isn't even optimized for T-Mobile USA, she sounds fantastic and has yet to experience any kind of proximity sensor issue. The One Mini may be sized better to fit her face, but this needs a bit further investigation.
    • Performance: My wife felt the One Mini was more responsive than the One so obviously the difference in processor and RAM hasn't affected her usage. She said the battery charged faster on the One Mini, it has less capacity, and easily lasted more than a day for the last three days.
    • Camera: My wife took about 30 photos over the past three days and saw no difference in the image quality compared to the One.

    This long weekend experiment was a success and now I have to try to pry the HTC One Mini from my wife's hands. I do think there is a place for a smaller sized device like the HTC One Mini, iPhone 5, and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and even though smartphone enthusiasts like me want the latest and greatest that doesn't always mean the specifications have to be the highest.

    We don't yet know which US carrier(s) will be getting the HTC One Mini and what price we will see it launch at. With the HTC One at $199, on contract, I imagine we will see this at half that price or less. The version my wife and I tested out is an international unlocked one with support for AT&T and T-Mobile. We used a T-Mobile USA SIM and noted that 3G and H network status showed up in the status bar. This model does not have the 1700 MHz HSPA+ network for T-Mobile, but seems to work fine on the refarmed T-Mobile 1900 MHz network. I did not see T-Mobile LTE support on this HTC One Mini.

    Related HTC One and HTC One Mini coverage

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Reviews, Smartphones

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  • Fair opinions

    And a good example of why choice is good!

    Hopefully it'll work for her well.

    Unfortunately, I've seen a couple of people not want to get the mini version of certain phones, because the will be seen to be "cheap" by not buying the top premium line (by the phone fashion police).
    • Agree, One Mini has nearly same premium feel as the One

      The great thing about the One Mini is that it still feels like a premium product with the metal design and curved back. It's an awesome device that is good for some and not others.

      Even if the One and One Mini were priced the same, my wife would still pick the One Mini because it fits her better and meets her needs just fine.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • What about heat?

        My One gets warm doing certain things.
  • 2 criteria here

    Between this model and S4 Mini there appears to be two design criteria. Smaller physical size and less expensive. Some features are removed and/or watered down for good reason, ie smaller size means smaller battery means less battery life unless you also water down the power consumption. However some things seemed to be missing for no good reason other than keeping cost down. If this phone doesn't have LTE I'd lump it into that category.

    I'd like to see a third option, premium features but smaller size.
    • Motorola Droid Mini

      Unfortunately the Motorola Droid Mini is only on Verizon but it sports all the same features as its larger Motorola flagship cousins and 4.2.2 Jelly Bean but 720p screen. It even has 2 gb ram and same processor. The only mini thing about it is the screen. Too bad they couldn't fit in a removeable battery and micro sd slot and it is only on Verizon. I'm hoping that the Moto X won't be too big and a removeable battery and micro SD slot since that is supposed to be available for the four major US carriers.
  • My only problem with HTC

    is after the 2nd drop their devices start to look cheap and odd things happen as a result. Maybe it's the cheap glue or they went skimp on the double-sided tape. I've had more than 3 phones from them and all suffered from similar issues. I can no longer support this manufacturer. Good luck to those that do, but it won't last....
  • Most of the performance w/ a smaller screen.

    I really would like to see more high-end devices in the 4.3" screen form-factor. I realize not all of the components can be high-end due to space constraints, heat dissipation, etc. But, getting a device with near top-of-the-line performance at a screen size that works best for my hands would be ideal.
  • HTC is too big

    It doesn't fit well in my pocket. "It's just too big" (That's what she said) In any event, I am going to give the Mini a try. I need something with a smaller girth.
    Rustie Kuntsz