HTC One Mini vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: What are consumers giving up for small size?

HTC One Mini vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: What are consumers giving up for small size?

Summary: Like Samsung, HTC announced a smaller version of their flagship Android smartphone with lower specifications. More pocketable devices make great tablet companions, but are consumers willing to give up specs for size?

HTC One Mini with metal chassis, BoomSound, and Zoes coming soon
(Image: HTC)

Regular readers know I am a huge fan of the HTC One; and the 4.7-inch display has never once left me wishing for a smaller device. However, there are consumers who want smaller phones; for these folks, HTC has announced the HTC One Mini. There are also rumors of an even larger Maxi, but we'll leave that for another day.

Just a couple of years ago, many of us thought that 4.3 inches was the largest-sized display we would see -- or even want -- on a phone. Size then took off and now we see phones with displays of 5.5 inches and more, which I personally find a bit too big. Samsung announced the Galaxy S4 Mini a couple of months ago and we'll soon have a model from HTC to compete with it.

Galaxy S4 Mini
(Image: Samsung)

Like the new HTC One Mini, the Galaxy S4 Mini also lowered some of the specifications for the smaller, less expensive device. When compared to the HTC One, we note that the IR functionality and OIS are missing, the processor is rated lower, RAM and internal storage is halved, the battery capacity is lower, and the front facing camera has fewer megapixels. When the Galaxy S4 Mini is compared to its bigger brother, we also see lower processor performance, reduced internal storage, lower resolution display, and lower resolution camera.

The HTC One and Galaxy S4 offer different software and hardware experiences and the Mini versions of both keep that difference in place. When compared to the HTC One Mini, we see that the Galaxy S4 Mini has more RAM (1.5GB vs 1GB); larger and removable battery; smaller internal storage (but also comes with microSD card slot); and lower resolution (960x540 compared to 1280x720) display. On paper, the Galaxy S4 Mini may look like a better option, but I prefer the design, Sense 5 experience, and unique camera experience of HTC's offering.

I'm meeting with HTC at lunch today and will get some hands-on time with the new HTC One Mini. Given the superb design of the HTC One and the One Mini having much of the same design features, this may be a great lower cost HTC device. Now we will see if consumers are looking to stem the tide of going bigger with these new Mini smartphones.

Related ZDNet HTC One articles

Topics: Mobility, Android, HTC, Samsung, Smartphones

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  • Smaller size - same specs

    I'd like to buy device with 4" dispaly and exactly the same specs as their biggers brothers.
    • Higher Specs Require Larger Volume

      @m.lanta, I agree with you. It would be great to have a smaller phone with the same specs, but unfortunately phones are very densely packed with electronics and there are concerns with heat dissipation. When making a smaller device, the designers have to make trade-offs (such as less memory, smaller battery, etc.) to get it to fit into the smaller envelope.
      • To a degree...

        I think you're right Kelty. However, the iPhone is even smaller so you would think they would be able to at least match those specs.

        I think it's more about the marketing decisions to go smaller AND cheaper with their hardware specs in order to achieve the smaller and lower cost versions of their flagship phones.
        • Exactly, iPhone is small AND expensive`

          The iPhone 5 is small and packed with higher specs. However, it is also very expensive at $200, $300, and $400 for a subsidized unit. I imagine we will see these Mini Androids come out at half the big brother subsidized costs.
          palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
          • Cheaper

            If the financial end it the primary consideration, then that might weigh heavily for some users. But with most of the major US carriers now offering 'pay as you go' pricing for their smartphones, more people will be going for the high end phones, or at least that is what they expect/want to happen.
          • Expensive?

            You forgot the residual value of the phone after 2 years or so. 2-year old iPhone is sold at least 2x more money than any of these above. Proof: iPhone 4s is sold over $450 on Ebay or Craigslist. Look at 2 year-old Galaxy S3: less than $200 and nobody buys it.
            Cun Con
          • Expensive?

            "Cun Con.. Look at 2 year-old Galaxy S3: less than $200 and nobody buys it."
            You can't look because the Galaxy S3 has only been out for 1 year!
      • Smaller

        Well, it can be done. IPhone 5 does it, and while the battery is small compared with the others, use life is great.
    • Same specs

      I'm not sure that is quite feasible, if they want to get the price lower as well, since squeezing the components into the smaller form factor usually increases cost.
  • I think the GS4 Mini takes the crown!

    I saw this comparison of the two, and I think it might be right - the Galaxy S4 Mini just takes it
    It's a slightly more highend smaller cousin, you might say!
  • Are you kidding me?

    So he wrote this article and already made his decision to opt for the HTC over the Samsung and he hasn't even seen the HTC yet? Talk about biased!
  • He is meeting with HTC at lunch today

    shows his colours
  • Smaller smartphones.

    Humm. Looks like Apple had it right all along. For many of us, like those with small hands, small pockets, and still wanting an excellent phone, Apple has it covered, in spades. If you want it all in one small package, no devalued camera, RAM or processor, the iPhone 5 already has it. If you are all right with a 4mp camera, but want a bigger screen to show the fewer pixels, the the HTC One is a nice looking phone. But since the smartphone is my primary camera, 4mp just doesn't cut it.
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