HTC One Mini is cute and capable - review

2014-01-14 12:11
The HTC One Mini is a version of the One ideal for smaller hands. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The HTC One Mini is a version of the One ideal for smaller hands. (Duncan Alfreds, News24) (Duncan Alfreds)

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Cape Town - The HTC One Mini is the little smartphone that could. As a smaller (and cheaper) version of the HTC One, the phone performs most tasks that you ask of it.

Like the bigger brother One, the Mini - part of a new generation of devices based on high premium phones from manufacturers - boasts an aluminium body which gives it a high quality feel.

The rear curve of the Mini feels a little more prominent than on the One, but it's still comfortable to hold and though it's called the Mini, the display is 10.9cm and it's protected by Gorilla Glass like most top-end smartphones on the market.

Put into perspective, an 11cm display puts it at larger than the size of an iPhone 5s, and comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

Naturally, you won’t get the quad core processor of the One, rather the 1.4GHz chugs along and is competent to deliver most of the demands of chatting applications and multimedia.

Ultrapixel camera

On demanding applications like Real Racing 3 and Cricket T20 Fever, you'll notice slowdowns as the device takes shortcuts to cope with the graphics demands, but the experience is not terrible and the Mini has a healthy 1GB of RAM to produce gaming graphics.

Unlike budget offerings, HTC has included its ultrapixel camera seen on the One on the baby and it delivers crisp, high definition images and video in a smaller package.

On board, you have 16GB of user memory for pics and video, and while there's no SD card slot, it's an easy job to connect to a PC via the USB charging cable and simply drag and drop as you'd expect from standard cellphones.

But how is living with the Mini?

That curved aluminium surface may look beautiful, but one wonders how long it will remain scratch free in the day-to-day bustle without a cover, and in fact, this highlights a problem with the HTC brand: Finding accessories is difficult.

Many third party vendors simply don't stock anything related to the brand and you'll have to make do with similar, rather than exact if you wish to customise or protect the phone.

On the software side, you get Google Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) and thankfully, HTC has a reputation of regularly updating its operating system, so the One series should be among the first to be updated to KitKat, barring new devices that are launched with the latest OS.


The inclusion of dual front facing speakers adds a richer audio experience to the smartphone and should be expected from new smartphones, it is also LTE (Long Term Evolution) capable.

On paper the HTC One Mini is a slam dunk, but it has stiff competition in not only the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, but also from the imminent launch on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - which has a 2.2GHz quad core processor and 2GB of RAM.

Pricing though is key and the HTC One Mini is available from Cell C at R299 a month on contract.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

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