Review: HTC One Mini 2

If you loved the look of the 5 inch metal-bodied One M8 but didn’t want that 5 inch size, HTC’s One Mini 2 may fit the bill, even with its awkward name.

Features

Big phones may be the trend of the moment, but not everyone fancies a big phone, and so manufacturers are now making pint-sized editions of those bigger devices.

We saw that last year for HTC’s 2013 One with the One Mini, and now we’re seeing the same thing with the 2014 edition of the One being made into the One Mini 2.

While the name is a touch confusing, the specs are at least familiar, with an update on last year’s handset and a different design brought in to bring the handset closer to what HTC offered in the current incarnation of the One flagship.

Inside the handset, HTC has upgraded last year’s dual-core Snapdragon 400 to a quad-core version of the same chip, now running at 1.2GHz and working alongside identical memory and storage, with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage. In a change from last year, however, the storage can now be upgraded with a microSD slot.

Android 4.4 “KitKat” is also here, running with HTC’s latest version of its Sense overlay, now in version 6.

Connections are mostly standard, though a little under what flagship models offer, with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Near-Field Communication (NFC), GPS, and Category 4 4G LTE mobile connectivity, with a microUSB port, of course, found on this handset at the bottom.

The camera is also different from HTC’s old One Mini and current One (2014), with the Ultrapixel sensor rated for 4 megapixels in each swapped out and replaced with a 13 megapixel shooter, while the front megapixel is straight out of the One M8 and is rated for 5 megapixels.

This technology sits under a 4.5 inch high definition display, showing off 1280×720 with 326 pixels per inch and protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3.

Buttons on the HTC One Mini 2 are mostly on-screen, now that HTC is reliant on Google’s on-screen soft buttons, with the few remaining physical buttons handled by the power button up top, and a volume rocker on the right edge.

Ports are equally limited, with a 3.5mm headset jack up top and a microUSB charge and data port at the bottom edge.

Slots are also limited, with only two to speak of: SIM and expandable memory.

The SIM is different from last year’s One Mini, with microSIM being switched out for nanoSIM, a move which brings the One Mini 2 in line with the other HTC handsets, all of which have adopted nanoSIM, while a microSD slot has been added for expandable memory, something which wasn’t present last year.

The battery is rated for 2110mAh and is not removable.

Performance

Handsets may well be getting bigger, but not everyone wants or needs a phone that fits the 5, 5.2, 5.5, and 6 inch sizes top-end devices are now fetching. In fact, some people want downright smaller handsets, because while it might be important to take the web with you, it should never be uncomfortable in either a hand or a pocket, and for some people, big phones are certainly that.

Enter the miniature range of handsets, and on HTC, that’s the “One Mini” devices. Last year, HTC made waves with the One Mini, a pint-sized version of the 2013 One with a metal body, lowered specs, and the Ultrapixel camera from the original. This year, though, HTC is changing the formula slightly, remaking the 2014 One for a different pocket.

Does it work, or would you be better off with the full 5 inch model?

Pick up the handset and it’s hard not to be impressed, with an aluminium body similar to the HTC One M8 shrunk down and brought to a smaller size. It’s not exactly the same, with the brushed metal a touch shorter at the bottom, cut off before it reaches the glass on the front of the phone, with plastic holding the bottom and top together.

The look is simple, though, and easy on the eyes, with more of what we loved about the One M8, except smaller.

Basically, if you loved the look of this year’s One, but wanted it in a smaller more pocket-friendly size, the One Mini 2 is that phone. Sure, it has a terrible name — seriously, HTC: One Mini 2… what were you thinking?! — but it has a fantastically modern look.

In the hands, that excellence continues, because metal is almost always superior to plastic. That’s a feeling we can’t escape, with only a few exceptions to the rule, and most of them from the hockey puck polycarbonate that Nokia used to use, which it too is beginning to pull away from.

Overall, though, the One Mini 2 feels great in the hands, with a slick and soft metal back, slight rubberisation on the side that makes it easy to feel for, and a width that bodes well for both small and large hands to grip with ease.

Even in the pockets, the HTC One Mini 2 is extraordinarily comfortable, with a tiny size making a comparatively small impact on your clothing as you walk, and making us long for the days when phones didn’t tear holes in our garments.

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