• Our HTC One Mini review: The Small One


    Since screen sizes have been creeping up with each new generation of smartphone, it was only a matter of time before companies started releasing smaller, less expensive versions of their flagship phones. The timing is perfect since Canadian carriers are now forced to offer 2 year contracts. Customers are forced to pick their poison.

    If you want a fancy phone youíll have to pay more than you used to each month.

    This is where the less-costly smaller versions come in. If you don't want to spend so much each month you can opt for a cheaper plan and get a less expensive phone.

    I checked out the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 Mini a while back and now itís time to give the HTC One Mini a twirl.
    What about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini?

    On Rogers, the GS4 Mini is $449.99 outright while the One Mini is $399.99. Both are $0 on contract.

    I reviewed the GS4 Mini a while back and I loved it. While itís down on specs compared to the full-sized GS4 the GS4 Miniís size and the fact that Samsung stubbornly continues to use hardware back and menu buttons makes the Mini the easier phone to use.

    Specs-wise, the mini versions of the One and the GS4 are quite similar. Both have Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processors backed by 1GB of RAM which are pushing 4.3Ē displays.

    The GS4 Mini has a higher clocked processor, a removable battery and support for MicroSD cards.

    The One Mini counters with a metal body, better sounding speakers, a higher resolution display which works better outdoors and a camera with better low light performance.

    Again, deciding between these two is going to be tough. The worst thing about the One Mini is that the 16GB of storage isnít expandable.

    The GS4 Mini is a more well rounded package in that itís flaws arenít as serious. The One Miniís camera is better indoors but outdoors it lags behind the GS4 Miniís.

    Here, Iíd call it a draw but if youíre buying either phone outright Iíd skip both and get either a Nexus 5, an Alcatel Idol X or Moto G.


    What about the Nexus 5?

    If the main reason youíre looking at the Mini is because of the price and NOT the size, then you might want to consider the Nexus 5.

    Outright, the One Mini is $399.99 on Rogers. While itís true that the Nexus 5 is $499.99 outright from Rogers you can pick one up for around $370 from Google Play. On contract, the Nexus is $49.99 while the Mini is $0

    While the Nexus 5 is a larger phone youíre also getting more phone for your money. It has a faster processor, more RAM, more free storage a bigger battery, more resolution and a larger display. The Nexus will also receive updates in a timely fashion though HTC has been pretty good about updates lately. In fact the Mini Iím reviewing just got an update from 4.2 to 4.4 while I was writing this review.

    The Mini gets points for its sleek metal body, more manageable size, better sound speakers and better low light performance. Itís also nicer to hold.

    Iím not crazy about stock Android but HTC Sense on the Mini is much worse. From the annoying BlinkFeed home screen to the home screen that is 4 icons wide while the app drawer is only 3 (you can change this to 4 wide by why 3 as default?). Iíve used a One on and off for almost a year now and I still donít like Sense. I do give HTC props for trying something different. Still, you can always stick on a 3rd party launcher.

    This is a really tough call which took me a while to decide. The Nexus is a better phone on paper, but the Mini has certain intangibles which are hard to understand unless you play with it. That said, of all the Nexus 5ís specs I think the 2GB of RAM makes it a slightly more attractive option if you multitask a lot.

    What about the Alcatel Idol X?

    The Idol X is available from Bell for $250 off contract. Itís $0 on contract but thereís less of a reason to consider the Idol X unless youíre buying it outright.

    The Idol X has 2GB of RAM, a bigger, higher resolution screen, memory card slot and I have to mention the $250 outright price again.

    The Mini has the edge with better speakers, plus better gaming performance because the screen resolution and SoC are a better match.

    If youíre not going to sign a contract then the Alcatel Idol X is really hard to pass up.

    What about the Moto G?

    The real wild card if youíre thinking about the $399.99 on Rogers HTC One Mini is that you can get a Moto G for around $200 though in Canada itís a TELUS/Koodo exclusive.

    The Moto G has similar specs including the 1280x720 display. On the downside, the Gís sold here only come with 8GB of storage which is not expandable.

    The Moto Gís speaker doesnít sound as good as the One's plus it doesnít have the One Miniís amazing metal body. The Moto Gís 5 megapixel camera is also much more suited for a entry level phone whereas the One Miniís is something youíd get in a more expensive phone.

    Then again, the Moto Gís lower outright price mitigates all of these cons.

    The Moto G is a phone you buy outright. Donít sign a contract to get it. Thereís almost no point to a phone subsidy if it only costs $200.

    So, if you can deal with the Moto Gís storage issues, inferior camera, lack of metal body and worse sounding speakers then the Moto G is probably a better bet. However, if youíre signing a contract, check out the HTC One Mini.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Our HTC One Mini review: The Small One started by howard View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. EricSony's Avatar
      EricSony -
      The Samsung S4 Mini has 16gb internal memory, not 8! At least the one I got from Fido does (so the Rogers version most certainly does as well).
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by EricSony View Post
      The Samsung S4 Mini has 16gb internal memory, not 8! At least the one I got from Fido does (so the Rogers version most certainly does as well).
      Thanks, fixed that. I remembered wrong.
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      These "mini" versions of their bigger counterparts are....cute, but overpriced. For what they are asking for them you might as well wait a bit longer and just get their bigger brothers. Better resale value to boot. There are some great choices now in the $200.00 and under club, with the Moto G being the tip of the iceberg. Samsung has the Light, Alcatel has a few contenders, and the Nexus is always looming at not too much more than that.
      I guess if your looking for smaller, then these might be a good item to consider, but other than that I don't see the point.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragon2knight View Post
      These "mini" versions of their bigger counterparts are....cute, but overpriced. For what they are asking for them you might as well wait a bit longer and just get their bigger brothers. Better resale value to boot. There are some great choices now in the $200.00 and under club, with the Moto G being the tip of the iceberg. Samsung has the Light, Alcatel has a few contenders, and the Nexus is always looming at not too much more than that.
      I guess if your looking for smaller, then these might be a good item to consider, but other than that I don't see the point.
      Good point, unless you want something small, the difference between an inexpensive flagship like the Alcatel Idol X and and a 'mini' version of a flagship is usually pretty small so if you were to take brand out of the equation the mini's could get squeezed out of the equation.
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      Good point, unless you want something small, the difference between an inexpensive flagship like the Alcatel Idol X and and a 'mini' version of a flagship is usually pretty small so if you were to take brand out of the equation the mini's could get squeezed out of the equation.
      Unfortunately most folks just don't realize that there are some good choices out there if they are willing to take brand out of said equation. That's why it's up to us big mouth---er---reviewers to let 'em know they exist 2014 will indeed be a big year for the off brands with low cost chip manufacturers like Mediatek stepping up their game with some nice, powerful chipsets that are bound to make a big splash. Here's to the near future
    1. EricSony's Avatar
      EricSony -
      Quote Originally Posted by dragon2knight View Post
      Unfortunately most folks just don't realize that there are some good choices out there if they are willing to take brand out of said equation. That's why it's up to us big mouth---er---reviewers to let 'em know they exist 2014 will indeed be a big year for the off brands with low cost chip manufacturers like Mediatek stepping up their game with some nice, powerful chipsets that are bound to make a big splash. Here's to the near future
      While there are those who blindingly buy a phone because it's a brand they like, there are others who buy those mini phones for the very fact they are mini. I tried the Samsung S4 for two weeks and returned it; never got used to talking into what would've been a tablet only a couple of years ago. I also appreciate a light phone and no other phone in the market has the screen size, weight and features combination that the S4 mini does, which is why I bought it. Not everyone is out to buy the biggest spec monster they can get for their dough, especially if they're only going to use it to make phone calls/text/browse 99.9% of the time, which is what the vast majority of owners do. The S4 mini weight nothing, has a great, perfectly-sized screen (and putting it side by side with the large S4, I have to get a magnifying glass to notice any resolution difference), has a great camera and does any task I throw at it reliably and fast (no hanging or lagging to be found anywhere). I'm a happy camper.
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Quote Originally Posted by EricSony View Post
      While there are those who blindingly buy a phone because it's a brand they like, there are others who buy those mini phones for the very fact they are mini. I tried the Samsung S4 for two weeks and returned it; never got used to talking into what would've been a tablet only a couple of years ago. I also appreciate a light phone and no other phone in the market has the screen size, weight and features combination that the S4 mini does, which is why I bought it. Not everyone is out to buy the biggest spec monster they can get for their dough, especially if they're only going to use it to make phone calls/text/browse 99.9% of the time, which is what the vast majority of owners do. The S4 mini weight nothing, has a great, perfectly-sized screen (and putting it side by side with the large S4, I have to get a magnifying glass to notice any resolution difference), has a great camera and does any task I throw at it reliably and fast (no hanging or lagging to be found anywhere). I'm a happy camper.
      Well I will say that I bought the Galaxy Light for exactly that same reason. I liked the smaller size compared to a 5" phone which are just too cumbersome to carry around in a jeans pocket,especially in the summer. I did find it to be a bit too small, though, a 4.5" screen is a sweet spot to me, good size without the bulk. As with all things, it will always vary from one person to another. One persons perfect phablet is another persons monstrosity....to each his/her own