There are some of us who think that bigger is not always better. There are some of us who can remember back when the Ericsson T28 and T29, The motorola V70 and V90, even the Nokia 8800 family were some of the most luxurious and desirable phones going. Sure they weren’t smartphones in the way that phones are now, but boy did they fit easily into a pocket and they looked darned good. Miniature was the thing for bling.
Now, with the HTC One mini, you’re getting what is possibly the best phone in the planet, but in a smaller package, right? Welllllllll, almost. This isn’t like the Galaxy S3 Mini or the S4 Mini, no sir. In this case, you’re getting almost all the bang of the original and therefore should be a few fewer bucks leaving your pocket for the cost of the phone, if not the contract. How did HTC do it? There are differences between the two devices, make no doubt about it.
From a UK perspective, they’re using the same bands 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands for LTE, so you’ll get your data just as fast on each phone. Neither phone is packing an external MicroSD card slot, so plugging into the cloud photo, storage and music services if you have a big library or are a large pic snapper. They both have bluetooth 4 which means it has the low energy profiles to use when wearables really take off and the front facing camera is the same one taking advantage of the Ultrapixel technology. The newest and lightest version of sense – Sense 5 runs on both handsets. The BoomSound speakers on top and bottom are both present and correct as is the Beats DSP for the phat beats when the mood strikes.
The original One does have a couple of pluses over the mini. Its a bigger phone and the Taiwanese manufacturer really tried to cram in as much as they could for their flagship phone.
The elephant in the room is the screen. Whilst they’re both phenomenal and you can see that HTC hasn’t skimped on either, the panel on the mini is 4.3 inches with a 720 pixel display against the 1080 on the 4.7 inch original (it’s still too early to be calling it a classic IMO).
There are also a few other things that aren’t available on the phone. For example, the NFC chip. Maybe you’ve used it, maybe you won’t miss it, but its always a nice-to-have, especially if Google Wallet or any of the other contactless style payment services really take off.
You also get a bigger 2300 mAh (vs 1800 mAh on the One mini) battery on the original One, but you need more battery to drive that extra screen real estate. That bigger battery is also needed to run the extra two cores in the Snapdragon 600. The One mini has a Snapdragon 400. From all the initial reviews, the Sense software is optimised so you don’t see any lag on the smaller phone. HTC have been masters of their shells since Windows Mobile so when they say you’ll get the same experience on both handsets, its one boast I believe.
Interestingly enough, the One mini is supposed to be fronted with Gorilla Glass 3 vs the older Gorilla gracing the front of the ‘older’ original so that’s a plus for the mini, however the balance swings the other way again as we consider that the primary camera on the One mini loses OIS (optical image stabilisation) and a lower resolution 1.6MP camera on its front.
There are a couple of other changes to the mini, such as less storage (16GB vs 32/64GB) and less RAM (1GB vs 2GB). You also lose the infrared port for controlling your tv/sky/media boxes and the new ac version of WiFi. Unless you have an 802.11 ac capable router, you really aren’t going to miss much right now, and very few routers indeed have the new spec at the time of writing.
Although the differences to start to add up, it really is a case of asking yourself whether you want the bigger, heavier beast of a monsterphone in your pocket, or will the more trimmer and svelte One mini be perfectly fine for your needs going forward? Accepted, there have been some tradeoffs, but IMO they aren’t compromises. There simply isn’t enough space for all that extra tech right now and have the same great design. If you can get practically as much as you do on the original One but get it in a smaller cheaper parcel, isn’t it worth having that option?