HTC makes some great high-end devices, and we gave the One M8 one of the highest scores that we’ve ever given a device. But that’s a “flagship” phone, what about the mid-tier? Luckily HTC has you covered there as well, in more ways that one!

When diving to the middle, HTC had a couple ways it could go to keep the price of the device down. One option was to make the device smaller, the other was to drop the specifications – or both. We’ve already told you what we think of the HTC Desire 816 in our full review: a mid-tier phone with flagship DNA. Similarly, we’ve given the HTC One mini 2 the royal treatment as well: petite luxury, for a price. How do these two mid-tier siblings stack up?

The first, and most obvious difference is size. The Desire weighs in at 165g, but somehow manages not to feel particularly heavy in hand – just big (156.6 x 78.7 x 7.9 mm). You’d expect the One mini 2 to feel smaller. It does, and it doesn’t at the same time. The “mini” is thicker (10.6mm) than the Desire, but it doesn’t really feel that way thanks to the gentle curve that hugs your palm. It’s the height and width of the mini (137.4 x 65 mm) that stand in stark contrast to the Desire.

Compared to each other, the mini lives up to its name, however, with a 4.5-inch screen, the mini isn’t all that “mini” at all – it’s a fairly large phone, on-par with the Nexus 5 and the Moto X.

Both the Desire and the mini have 720p screens, but thanks to the smaller size of the mini, it wins out in picture quality: 326ppi compared to the Desire’s 267ppi. Both have front-firing BoomSound speakers that are loud and clear. Both are powered by a modest quad-core Snapdragon 400. The mini is clocked at 1.2GHz with 1GB RAM, compared to the Desire’s 1.6GHz with 1.5GB RAM. Their 13MP cameras are both decent (but not great) that do well in good lighting, but fall short in the shadows. Both are LTE-capable, but shrug the 5GHz spectrum and AC support when it comes to WiFi.

Other than size, the software on both look almost identical. What it really comes down to is build quality, screen size, and price.


There’s no doubt, the One mini 2 is built better than the Desire 816. The mini is solid and has just the right amount of heft to it. The Desire 816 is slippery, squeaky, and attracts more fingerprints than one would imagine could be possible. Although the Desire is clocked a little faster and has more RAM, it seems to respond just a little slower than the mini. You won’t notice the difference in everyday use, but it’s there.

The screen is really where most of your attention will be focused. With the same number of pixels, your deciding factors will be either the sharpness or the size of the screen – with the two being mutually exclusive in this comparison. Neither looks bad, but if you want something big, you want the Desire, whereas if you want something sharp, the mini is for you.

Lastly, there’s price. The mini costs around £100 more than the Desire. Is the better build quality worth that much? Probably not, but if you’re looking for a mid-tier device, either the HTC One mini 2 or the Desire 816 will suit you well!

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