HTC unveils the One mini - can it repeat its big brother's success?

HTC unveils the One mini - can it repeat its big brother's success?

Summary: HTC has taken its award-winning 4.7-inch One Android smartphone and shrunk it into a 4.3-inch form factor.

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Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC's corporate performance has been distinctly gloomy recently, but the company can take encouragement from the almost universal praise heaped upon its flagship Android handset, the 4.7-inch HTC One.

Given that Samsung has produced a 4.3-inch Mini version of its flagship 5-inch Galaxy S4 smartphone, it's no surprise to see HTC follow suit with the HTC One mini, which the company officially announced on Thursday. Like Samsung, HTC is aiming to offer the majority of its flagship-phone experience in a scaled-down, more affordable package.

HTC's One mini has a 4.3-inch screen with a resolution of 720 by 1,280 pixels. It's powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.4GHz
HTC's One mini has a 4.3-inch screen with a resolution of 720 by 1,280 pixels. It's powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.4GHz. Image: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

Not so long ago, we were describing 4.3-inch smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S II and HTC's Desire HD as having a "large" screen. The same size screen now adorns these vendors' "mini" ranges.

In the case of the HTC One mini, it's a 720p HD display with a resolution of 720 by 1,280 pixels (342ppi). For those who find 4.7-inch and 5-inch screens hard to use one-handed, the One mini's smaller form factor is likely to be a welcome development. The new handset runs Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).

htc-one-mini-one
The One mini (above left) has the same metallic look and feel as its One sibling (above right), but shaves 5mm off the width, 5.4mm off the height and 21g off the weight. The thickness is virtually the same: 9.25mm for the One mini vs 9.3mm for the One. Image: Charles McLellan/ZDNet

In most respects, the One Mini's design is faithful to its big brother: it uses the same full-metal "zero-gap" construction with front-mounted BoomSound speakers, an "ultrapixel" rear camera with HTC's simultaneous multi-still/video Zoe functionality, and the BlinkFeed live home screen.

The new handset measures 63.2mm wide by 132mm high by 9.25mm deep and weighs 122g (by contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's vital statistics are 61.3mm x 124.6mm x 8.94mm and 107g).

htc-one-mini-main
The One mini runs Android 4.2.2 with HTC's Sense UI and BlinkFeed live home screen. (Photo: Charles McLellan/ZDNet)

As for the innards, the One Mini is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It supports quad-band GSM/GPRS, tri-band HSPA at up to 42Mbps download and LTE in the 800/1800/2600MHz bands (in EMEA).

Dual-band Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth (4.0) are present, along with DLNA and HTC Connect streaming media support.

The front-facing camera is a 1.6-megapixel unit that supports 720p HD video, while the main UltraPixel camera at the rear supports full-HD 1080p video recording.

The One mini introduces a tweak to the Zoe still and video capture feature by doubling the number of music themes available for the automatic highlights video, and adds the ability to choose your own soundtrack.

What's missing from the One mini compared to its larger sibling is the infrared remote control feature, Sense TV, and NFC support — basically for space reasons.

htc-one-mini-case
Accessories for the HTC One mini include a range of protective cases that double as a landscape-mode stand. (Photo: Charles McLellan/ZDNet)

GPS is present (with GLONASS support), along with a compass and gyro, accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors.

The One mini has an 1,800mAh Li-polymer battery for which HTC claims up to 20.72 hours GSM talk time and 500 hours on standby. Comparable claimed figures for the One with its 2,300mAh battery are 27 hours talk and 479 hours standby.

The rollout of the HTC One mini, which will be available in silver or black, starts in August, with Germany and the UK in the first wave of countries to get the device.

HTC wouldn't talk prices at the press preview beyond saying that, compared to operator tariffs for the HTC One, the One mini would be "two price points below".

To find out whether it delivers as good an experience as its big brother, wait for our full review. First impressions, however, are good.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, HTC, Mobility, Reviews

About

Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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10 comments
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  • Success

    Was / is the One a "success"? Didn't HTC's earnings disappoint? Live the product, but the jury is still out on its success.
    flyguy29
    • I was thinking the same thing

      It had better sell as well as it's "big brother" as HTC has seen it's sales in Android line drop to lead to disapointing quarters.

      Samsung seems to know what they're doing, so I can see where HTC's customers are going to.
      William Farrel
      • SD card slot

        and it'll sell even better
        warboat
  • I love my one, want them to scale up to a 7" tablet

    How about it, scale the HTC One up to a 7" tablet version. Leave screen res the same, maybe make the already awesome speakers slightly bigger but really it's just a scale up and I'll buy it in a heartbeat. Would be an Ipad killer!
    stiphy
  • no Menu button

    what's with HTC dropping the menu button and having a soft menu button on screen and wasting screen space on a phone.
    make the HTC logo a HOME button and give us back an off-screen menu button
    don't mess with what works best
    warboat
  • So wait

    This is really just a EVO 4G LTE? Or a metal version of the One X. Since it has basically the same specs... ANd the 4G LTE already has a metal chassis and Jellybean.
    Hopefully it sells though, HTC needs to sell more phones. Samsungs halfassed phones have dominated the market for too long now.
    Jimster480
  • Almost...

    Take away the Android and the Beats audio, and it could be a winner... The smaller size, and presumably solid construction are great. I would love to see it with the Ubuntu OS installed and some other audio system; I cannot fathom supporting any person/company that has a history of promoting gang violence and anti-police sentiment. That type of support on behalf of any major corporation is terrible CSR unless they are hoping to market to societal deviants.
    tomxfoolery
  • Samsung days countdown

    HTC makes a smart move with the One mini. More and more people gonna have the opportunity to experience the HTC difference. And they gonna just love it! Then Samsung reign will go dawn... :p
    spligen
  • Oranges and Apples... but wait!

    HTC phones are really great quality phones compared to Samsung. I have a Titan and my wife has a Samsung Focus S for about 1.5 years. Both run WP 7.5, both on AT&T ... There is no comparison when looking at materials used, quality of build, and software implementation, or performance in computing device OR phone mode. Same price, but nowhere near same level of devices. Now granted these are old devices, but, given their operating capabilities over and extended period of time observed, the difference is considerable between these manufacturers. Soon, she is getting a Nokia 920. I have not seen the latest from HTC so I am unsure what I will get. It WILL be another WP device. In some ways it was not as good as my iPhone 4 (like app availability, accessory availability, and iPhones are more commonly designed for and integrated in automobiles, hotel rooms etc.), but in the actual ways that count toward usability like screen size, removable batteries, telephone performance, ease of windows desktop integration (which, lets face it, the huge preponderance of us have at home and at work) the WP devices blew my iPhones away. As a computing device and browser, the Titan was head an shoulders above it and build quality was similar.
    Woned B. Fooldagan
  • Thanks

    Charles, you're my hero as always. I have been thinking about a new phone, and wanted more information on some of the "mini" models that are coming out. Thanks for giving me the information that I need!

    By the way, as you point out in the review, the "mini" label on a phone this size seems a bit out of place... especially when compared to my current HTC Wildfire...

    jw
    j.a.watson@...