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

HTC has taken its award-winning 4.7-inch One Android smartphone and shrunk it into a 4.3-inch form factor.
Written by Charles McLellan, Senior Editor

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).

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).

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.

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.

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