spent sometime with AT&T’s HTC One Mini today. To be candid it’s the first Android I’ve used that includes “carrier bloatware”. All of my other Android handsets and tablets that I’ve used have been pure Google (i.e. Nexus edition). So what I expected was a slower, more cumbersome UI. However, that’s wasn’t the case, despite the added junk that lay on top of the Android OS. That isn’t to say it’s devoid of lag all together, but for the most part is a relatively fast device, perceptually speaking of course, but still not quite as fast the Galaxy S4. It’s hardly a fair comparison, as the HTC One Mini includes the slower Snapdragon 400 processor and half as much RAM (1GB) under its hood. But impressive nonetheless.
In the hand the HTC One Mini feels right at home. The curved back and dimensions fit perfectly in my hand and the materials used feel high end. It even sounds high end when laying it down on a table, which is to say it doesn’t make that familiar plastic sound thanks to the metal back. Aesthetically the One Mini isn’t all that different from its big brother, save for the plastic bevel that surrounds the phone. This particular piece is finished in white, and could serve as a reminder to be careful how this phone is treated.
Unlike other Android handsets that house their microUSB port center to the bottom of the handset, the One Mini’s is off-center to the right and joined by an adjacent microphone port. Adding to the One Mini’s one handed abilities is a lock/power button that is top left of the phone that facilites easy one handed operation. There are also the familiar stereo speakers on the face of the phone, housed above and below the 720p display. And while many of you may be skeptical, trust me when I say they make a massive difference in audio quality.
And speaking of display, the One Mini’s drops to 720p over the One’s 1080p display, but it’s a reasonable caveat to its size. It’s of the Super LCD3 ilk, and although it offers an impressive viewing angle, solid color reproduction, its viewing angle isn’t quite as wide as Samsung’s Galaxy S4, but by no means a sticking point.
The One Mini’s camera is the same as the full-sized One, and while I’ll leave that to a full review, I’m frustrated by the low pixel count. Nevertheless, I applaud HTC for trying something different with respect to the actual pixel’s size.
Ditch the carrier bloatware, and there really isn’t anything wrong with the One Mini. It’s speedy, doesn’t feel bogged down, and everything that Google has supplied it with (Google Voice, Google Now, etc) works in typical solid Google fashion.