The HTC One mini 2 is what its name implies, a miniature version of the flagship HTC One M8 – at least it tries to be. That statement carries a lot more than one might surmise. I’ve previously talked about how people assume and expect a “mini” version of a similarly named flagship to be a miniaturized version of the same — and are disappointed to discover that it is not. The same is true of the HTC One mini 2 — except for the disappointment.
The HTC One mini 2 is an aluminum-clad smartphone with a super-premium feel, running a great build of Android, and has amazing built-in sound. However, implying that this, like any “mini” version of a similarly named flagship, is that flagship in a smaller package does both devices a disservice. In this case, however, the disservice may be more to the flagship than to the mini.
I pulled out both the HTC One M8 and the HTC One mini 2, and used them side by side for a week. More often than not, I favored the “mini” over the flagship. While that sounds strange, it’s only until one realizes that the mini isn’t very “mini” at all — it sports a 4.5-inch Super LCD2 screen under a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. While that may seem small by today’s standards, a 4.5-inch screen isn’t diminutive — nor is the device itself. Sure, it’s much smaller than the flagship, but it’s still good-sized and let me do everything that I needed to do without straining to do so.
Michael Fisher gave the HTC One mini 2 the full-review treatment back in May 2014, and rated fairly well, coming in at a solid 8.1. Now that some time has passed, how does it stack up? Do my thoughts mirror those of Michael’s? Let’s answer those questions and more in our HTC One mini 2 Review Rebuttal!
Everything about the HTC One mini 2 feels good. The case is well designed, stands up to everyday use, and just feels good in the hand. It’s easy to operate and manipulate with just one hand — especially when compared to the HTC One M8 and similarly sized phones.
Here’s where we really expected the mini to flop. With a Snapdragon 400 SoC, the same class that’s set to power Android Wear smart watches, I wasn’t impressed — not with the line on the spec sheet anyway. Once I had put that behind me and started using the device, I noticed something curious: the mini performed well. It wasn’t as snappy as it’s higher-spec’d sibling, but there wasn’t any particular “lag” to mention either.
I really put the mini through its paces. It was my daily driver for a solid three days. Each day requiring only an overnight charge, and supplemental charging when using GPS for navigation. Even with its 2,100 mAh battery, it got me through each day without a challenge. That’s saying a lot, since each device that comes through the Utah field office typically gets more use than average users put their devices through.
As you might expect, the camera is one of those concessions HTC had to make. It’s a fair shooter, but pales in comparison to almost every smartphone in this model year. If you’re content with something that takes adequate snapshots, and aren’t going to be snapping much in low-light situations, you don’t have anything to worry about.
The camera in the One mini 2 is “decent”, but not “stellar”. If you rely on very high resolution images from your smartphone, this will be the dealbreaker for you.
The 4.5-inch screen on the One mini 2 will be what many consider the perfect size.
With a resolution of 720p, it’s not shabby either. Images looked good and text was very readable.
Viewing angles weren’t great and colors seemed somewhat washed out — especially blacks, which were more like “dark grays”.
Ironically, unless you knew what you were missing, you probably won’t notice these shortcomings.
The HTC One mini 2 is built exceptionally well and feels great in-hand. The size is perfect, without sacrificing much — unless you need a really high-end camera.
I don’t suspect anyone will be unhappy with the One mini 2 as their daily driver, and it’s rugged enough that I suspect it will last for a good, long time with normal use.
Then there’s the price. HTC makes good hardware, but it prices that hardware a bit high. Compared to its competition, at £360 it’s just too expensive to justify buying. If one lands in your lap, hang on to it! If you find a special deal, don’t hesitate to pick it up!
However, if you walk into a store with cash-in-hand, and have to make a choice between the HTC One mini 2 and another similarly spec’d smartphone, I just can’t justify the extra cost.