Of the high-end Android-powered smartphones on the market today, the HTC One ranks pretty well. Its specifications are impressive. Its in-hand experience is to die for. Those front-firing speakers and aluminum body? They’re the icing on the cake! The phone itself is bigger than some people feel comfortable with, and “big” usually means “more expensive”. To combat those concerns, while riding on the coattails of the One, HTC has the One Mini on deck — which may just be a plasticy mess!
To save money, HTC may be abandoning the IR port in the One Mini, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — unless you’re trying to keep up with the “other guys” by including it. In which case, by taking it out, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
A lot of times when people picture a “mini” version of a phone, they think it’s the same phone in a smaller package. In most cases this simply isn’t true. From what the rumor mill is spitting out thus far, the HTC One Mini will likely have a 4.3-inch screen that dials down the resolution from 1080P in the One to 720P in the One Mini. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s most certainly not the same thing. For example, after having used a Galaxy S 4 with its 1080P display for several days, the 720P resolution on my Nexus 4 pales by comparison.
The processor and RAM in the “Mini” are likely to be dialed down as well. Many may cry foul, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. With a smaller screen on which to render images, significantly less processing power is needed. Keeping the specs identical would be like putting a V8-engine in a Volkswagen Beetle. On the other hand, if the components aren’t balanced properly, you might end up with a Smart Car engine instead.
Similarly, the battery in the HTC One Mini sounds like it’s going to be on the small side: 1700 mAh. With the scaling down of the display and the components, this may not be a bad move. Smaller batteries take up less space, and may be less expensive than those with bigger capacities.
We’ll just have to trust that HTC will strike the right balance.
Here’s where things get messy.
To save even more money on the One Mini, HTC may be doing away with their aluminum body, or changing it and adding plastic. Plastic isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the HTC One brand is synonymous with quality. It gets that quality from the aluminum construction which feels durable and solid, and gives the phone just enough heft to make you feel like you’re holding something substantial in your hand. Compare that to the Galaxy S 4 with its plastic back and metal-colored plastic trim.
The leaked images that we’ve seen of the HTC One Mini seem to imply that the aluminum on the phone will be scaled back a lot. The edge-trim may be plastic with the metal butting up against it, or the metal may be used just for accents rather than construction. If the latter is the case, HTC is missing the point, or is taking too many cuts to try and save costs in materials and construction.
Plastic trim (with an aluminum back) could add some durability to the edges, reducing dings and dents in the metal. Plastic is more forgiving in some cases. Deep in my gut, I’m afraid HTC may be trying to save too much money (and will go to something more Samsung-like in construction), rather than adding plastic strategically to help with durability.
Plastic is slippery. Plastic holds fingerprints and skin oil longer. Plastic doesn’t look or feel as high-end as does aluminum.
Too much plastic, or plastic done “wrong”, could make the HTC One Mini a plasticy mess.
Image credit: (cc) Capt’ Gorgeous