It also affords iPhone users to jump over to a phone with a similar construction, which is an area we’ll touch on first, because like the HTC One, the design and build here is excellent.
While most smartphone makers seem to have an obsession with variants of plastic, HTC bucked the trend this year when it decided to use an aluminium unibody for the HTC One, going back to what we remember when it first came out with the Legend several years ago. In the smaller One Mini, it continues that trend, albeit with a slight change to the design.
That change is a glossy plastic edge, making the handset have a two-tone look (white and silver on our review device), while also making it a touch easier to grip thanks to that use of plastic.
The design is pretty close, though, and even includes the same HTC BoomSound dual-speaker configuration on the front, the two soft buttons for back and home, and the front-facing camera at the top right. The rear cameras are the same 4 megapixel – sorry, Ultrapixel – modules, but the flash location is now above instead of to the right of the camera.
Overall, we’re delighted to see aluminium is still being used, which goes a long way to make the handset feel strong and sturdy. Close up, the metal doesn’t feel quite as finished as it was in the One, and we noticed a few scratches early on (which could easily come from other reviewers using the phone before us) as well as a slightly rougher feeling from the metal speaker grill.
From an operating system point of view, the One Mini arrives with one of the latest versions of Android, 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean,” which is being rolled out to HTC One owners right now.
HTC’s modifications are all here, such as the customisable shortcut dock with app menu link in the middle, multiple home screens with widget selection, and two choices of grid size as well clock and weather forecast in the menu.
HTC’s magazine-inspired feed of news and social updates is here too, left over from the HTC One and still called “Blinkfeed.”
Support for social networks is included – such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook – but unfortunately you can still only select the news feeds approved by the service HTC relies on for Blinkfeed to work.
If you use other services, tough luck, because not only can you not add your own RSS feeds, but you also can’t remove Blinkfeed.
You can opt to not make it your default homescreen, which is precisely what we did, since it was just so frustrating that we couldn’t add news sources that we wanted.
Using the phone is just as easy as most handsets, even with the smaller screen.