HTC One mini 2 evaluate: A worthy new addition to the premium One clan
HTC created what was undoubtedly among the best smartphones of final yr with the unique One. That was later adopted up by the One mini, which was shocking within the sense that the handset maker hadn’t earlier than tried a slimmed-down, scaled-again model of any of its flagship units. HTC’s nemesis Samsung established this development when it launched the Galaxy S III mini, and it impressed many discussions concerning the ethics of slapping the identify of prime-tier handsets onto lesser units. (Sony clearly made an government choice to keep away from the “mini” epithet for its Xperia Z1 Compact, which is truly only a smaller, however equally specced model of the flagship Z1.)
One mini 2
- Beautiful design
- Premium, brushed-aluminum chassis
- Nice basic efficiency
- Cheaper than the M8
- Not a lot of a specification improve from the One mini
- Digital camera efficiency is disappointing
- Not notably low cost
HTC’s One mini 2 is a unbelievable-wanting telephone with a lot of the One M8’s attraction. Beneath the brushed-aluminum physique is succesful inner hardware, even when it isn’t an enormous enchancment over final yr’s One mini. The thirteen-megapixel digital camera leaves rather a lot to be desired, however if you’d like the M8’s premium design at a less expensive worth or in a smaller type issue, you will not be disillusioned.
The moral challenge is kind of moot now we all know what to anticipate from a smartphone donning the mini title. HTC did a very good job of translating most of the premium parts that made the One such a stand-out gadget within the smaller, cheaper package deal of the 2013 One mini, making it a pretty choice in its personal proper (cheeky branding or not). Now, HTC has its new darling, the One (M8), and a shot at making one other respectable variant with the One mini 2 resulting from launch subsequent month. Clunky identify apart, the mini 2 provides a hanging first impression because of its M8-like, primarily aluminum casing. Past that, has HTC carried out sufficient to make the mini 2 a worthy companion to the M8, or are we coping with a poor, albeit glamorous imitation?
It might be referred to as the One mini 2, however there is not actually something “mini” about it. Fairly shut in measurement to the OG One, the mini 2 is certainly not dwarfed by the M8, though it is noticeably shorter. (On that topic, I am not bought on how the M8 is proportioned, particularly the size.) Similarities aren’t shocking, in fact — the gadget is supposed to seem like the M8, in any case, and fortunately it’s extremely arduous to inform the distinction when proven one after the opposite. There isn’t any secondary digital camera on the again of the mini 2; the flash is a special form; and the secondary mic has moved. However in any other case you’ve got obtained that very same beautiful, brushed aluminum with polycarbonate seams that consumes a lot of the rear, and a few of the sides of the handset. There’s a slight decline in engineering tolerance in contrast with the M8, nevertheless. Look very intently and you will see the odd, skinny hole between polycarbonate and metallic, or that the nano-SIM tray does not sit as flush to the physique because it might do, as an example. I’ve the grey model of the system, however the mini 2 may also are available silver and gold choices, identical to the M8.
On the brand new M8, brushed metallic makes up ninety % of the chassis. That is scaled again to 70 % on the mini 2, which continues to be wholesome protection and the identical quantity of metallic cladding as on the unique One (M7). The rim of polycarbonate that marries the again to the 2 panels above and under the show, and the Gorilla Glass three sheet overlaying it, is a delicate matte black that retains consideration targeted on the extra premium materials — the white plastic used on the M7 and first One mini was much more conspicuous. The quantity rocker and microSD tray on the correct aspect are inside the aluminum panel’s boundaries and made from metallic themselves. The identical is true for the nano-SIM tray on the left-hand edge, though I am confused as to why HTC selected that format for the mini 2 and M8. It isn’t a quite common one amongst Android units, which means potential consumers will both want a brand new SIM or danger damaging their present one by way of mutilation, which simply appears pointless.
On prime of the gadget, we have now the headphone jack and plastic energy button, with the micro-USB port on the underside edge. HTC’s trademark BoomSound stereo audio system sandwich the show, and a multicolored notification LED is hidden inside the prime grille, whereas the first mic is hid within the decrease. On the highest metallic panel, too, sits a pair of sensors and the entrance-dealing with digital camera. There is a affordable bezel surrounding the 720p show, although not an unattractive quantity. The distinction between the M8 and One mini 2 in contrast with final yr’s fashions is the absence of Android gentle keys, which at the moment are discovered on-display when the telephones are in use.
The One mini 2, like the larger M8, is sort of merely a shocking system that screams “premium.” It is mild sufficient, however strong and durable at 137 grams (simply over four.eight ounces), and the curved again contours to the palm properly. The mini 2 is sufficiently small to be simply usable in a single hand whereas not feeling cramped, and there is no one factor you’ll be able to level out and say that HTC has actually skimped on in creating this smaller handset. The design and brushed-metallic exterior are among the many major causes I can see individuals being drawn to the gadget, and I am glad to see HTC taking the identical philosophy of restricted compromise it did with the primary One mini.Show
In the identical method that the M8 has a barely bigger show than the earlier One, the mini 2 additionally bumps the display measurement as much as four.5 inches from four.three inches on the primary mini. The decision has stayed the identical at 720p, which continues to be loads of pixels regardless of a drop from 341 to 326 ppi. At these sizes, I defy anybody to level out significant variations in acuity. HTC’s caught with its Tremendous LCD2 know-how for the mini 2, and there is not a lot to complain about. Colours are lucid, and the black and white ends of the spectrum are simply nearly as good. You’ll be able to crank the brightness as much as retina-singeing ranges, though glare does have a barely damaging impression on daylight readability. The auto-brightness setting responds properly to the surroundings and even overcompensates now and again. Viewing angles are additionally excellent, with glare being the one drawback previous forty five levels.
In case you’re vulnerable to the odd YouTube binge, or have a tendency to make use of your every day commute to make amends for some TV, then you are able to do a lot worse than the One mini 2. The dimensions of the show does not lend itself to prolonged viewing periods essentially, however the 720p decision means crisp, HD content material performs with none annoying letterboxing. Paired with the stereo BoomSound audio system, the One mini 2 is a passable cellular media participant for when you do not have a much bigger display to observe or higher audio setup to take heed to.Software program
You get one of the best of each worlds proper out of the field on the One mini 2 — so long as you want HTC’s Sense 6 UI operating over Android four.four.2 KitKat, that’s. You’ll be able to take a look at our deep dive on Sense 6 within the M8 assessment, however it’s value noting that not all of the tweaks obtainable on that system have made their approach onto its miniature counterpart. The brand new gesture-unlocking function referred to as Movement Launch is not obtainable on the mini 2, and the Zoe digital camera app is not but suitable, regardless of being pre-put in on the handset. HTC tells us you’ll use it someday this summer time when it is “completely prepared.” Thankfully, Zoe’s neat multimedia collage function is accessible by means of the gallery app.
In any other case, you get the identical Sense 6 expertise as on the M8. Particular options embrace the brand new Do Not Disturb mode, an improved model of BlinkFeed, and an Excessive Energy Saving Mode that extends battery life by letting you employ solely the telephone’s primary features. I can not say what carriers will do with the mini 2 once they get their arms on it, however my evaluation unit is nearly solely devoid of bloatware. All of Google’s providers come pre-loaded, as you’d anticipate — you get 50GB of free Drive storage, too — in addition to a few of HTC’s software program for primary product help and enabling child or automotive modes. The one belongings you may need to take away, however cannot, are Polaris Workplace 5, KeyVPN and a inventory-monitoring app, however I can see how that trio is perhaps helpful for enterprise varieties.
For those who’re new to HTC’s Sense pores and skin, the primary departure from inventory Android is visible in nature. It is truly my favourite taste of producer pores and skin as a result of it is clear and lightweight, and thus has minimal impression on efficiency regardless of being closely custom-made. The skinny font fashion Sense employs seems nice on the mini 2’s show because of its 326 ppi, and it marries properly with the handset’s tight, premium design. Sense can also be fairly self-explanatory and consumer-pleasant — the fast-settings menu particularly. The one gripe I’ve with HTC on the software program entrance is not something to do with the mini 2 itself, however with the truth that you are pressured to make use of HTC Sync Supervisor if you wish to work together with the handset by way of your PC. I perceive that some customers may discover direct entry to the telephone’s and SD card’s file techniques intimidating, however Sync Supervisor’s interface is clunky and the entire expertise is harking back to the nightmare that’s iDevice file administration by means of iTunes. Fortunately, there is a tab inside the program that allows you to browse folders as regular, however in its present state, I would not use any of its different features.Digital camera
One of many key differentiators the M8 has over its predecessor is the flamboyant Duo Digital camera setup. Whereas the primary UltraPixel digital camera stays largely unchanged, the secondary depth sensor fairly actually provides one other dimension to the images expertise. None of these swanky after results is obtainable on the One mini 2, which solely has a single rear digital camera, however HTC hasn’t skimped on imaging. For starters, there’s the 5-megapixel, entrance-dealing with digital camera with BSI sensor. It lacks the M8’s large-angle lens, however in case you’re into these shut-up selfies, put together to see each blemish and pore (earlier than making use of the suitable flattering filter and placing it up on the Instagrams, in fact).
The rear-dealing with 13MP digital camera with BSI sensor and f/2.2 lens is not any slouch both, however for seemingly each megapixel, I’ve a corresponding gripe with efficiency. Do not get me fallacious: In good circumstances, you will get some pretty detailed photographs out of the factor — it is thirteen megapixels of knowledge, in any case. You’ve got obtained an exhaustive quantity of settings to tweak inside the digital camera interface in the event you so want (and also you may need to so as to get one of the best out of it), from scene modes to white stability to filters and extra. Nevertheless, I am of the mindset that a smartphone digital camera, particularly considered one of this caliber, must be easy to make use of and greatest left on auto.
Even in good circumstances, photographs can sometimes be washed out and missing in shade depth. HDR mode not often works as meant, though it is extra dependable within the macro vary (which is excellent, by the best way). I did not anticipate the digital camera’s low-mild efficiency to be as strong because the M8’s UltraPixel digital camera, however I nonetheless would have needed just a little extra from the mini 2’s BSI sensor. Shutter lag and shutter velocity have been my largest points with the digital camera, as there is a noticeable delay between hitting the shutter key and the image being processed. Pepper the state of affairs with synthetic or restricted lighting, and it might get a lot worse. Any motion inside the body may end up in frustratingly blurry pictures.
The autofocus is not as dangerous, however continues to be mighty erratic. Typically it is fast and correct; different occasions it is skittish, and as soon as it utterly refused to work in a nighttime state of affairs, rendering me unable to take an image. Usually, as the quantity of pure mild deteriorated, so would the main target efficiency. The time it takes for the digital camera to show an image round, particularly an HDR shot, is not actually as much as scratch. I do not know whether or not that is as a result of the processor wants an additional second to cope with thirteen megapixels’ value of knowledge, the digital camera app isn’t correctly optimized for the hardware or the digital camera module itself was chosen for the spec sheet fairly than efficiency. I might have a lot most popular HTC selected one thing like an eight-megapixel digital camera that is really succesful.
Video recording at 1080p is somewhat higher, given there are fewer variables concerned. Audio and movie high quality are each fairly superior in sunny circumstances, with faltering autofocus and grainy video being the norm when there’s little mild obtainable. There are additionally sluggish-movement and excessive-velocity (60 fps) modes if there is a specific scene you assume requires greater than normal video. Keep in mind, although the spec sheet reads thirteen megapixels, do not let that idiot you into considering it is an excellent smartphone digital camera. Very similar to Forrest Gump’s field of candies, you by no means know what you are going to get.Efficiency and battery life
A fast take a look at the One mini 2’s spec sheet exhibits it is half the beast the M8 is, with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon four hundred SoC paired with 1GB of RAM. Which may not appear to be a suitable improve over final yr’s mini, both, which had a 1.4GHz twin-core model of the identical processor. I can see why some may begrudge paying over £350 for a handset with the identical inner association because the a lot cheaper Moto G (and incoming LTE variant), or the UK-solely EE Kestrel. Having reviewed each of those units, nevertheless, I am underneath the impression you actually do not want costlier, extra highly effective hardware within the overwhelming majority of circumstances. You’ve got additionally received a hearty 16GB of inner storage to mess around with (roughly 5 gigs are reserved for the Android ROM), which might be supplemented by microSD playing cards of as much as a whopping 128GB.
What is the level of any extra horsepower when you possibly can already play a web-based multiplayer recreation of Asphalt eight: Airborne on the very best graphics setting, steam ‘around the tracks in Actual Racing three at flawless body charges or burn via your opponent’s internet in NBA Jam and not using a stutter? There is not one, for my part. The mini 2’s wonderful gaming efficiency ought to provide the trace that biking by way of the house display carousel or app drawer, leaping into non-useful resource-hungry packages and all the opposite mundane duties you employ a telephone for almost all of the time are fast and fluid too. As you’d think about, net shopping (in Chrome) attracts comparable reward.
HTC’s One mini 2 is decked out with all of the mod cons: Bluetooth four.zero, NFC, GPS, twin-band WiFi and LTE. These elements have been round lengthy sufficient that they need to be straightforward to get proper, and but I’ve to boost a small grievance about GPS efficiency. It is typically very sluggish to residence in on my location, or casts a large margin of error when it thinks it is tracked me down. I simply wasn’t anticipating to have a lot to say about such a normal function. The LTE chip works as you’d anticipate, and in my native South London space, obtain speeds topped out at sixty five Mbps and add speeds reached 19.5 Mbps on O2’s 4G community, so you recognize it is able to dealing with these sorts of speeds if the closest cell tower is able to supplying them. HTC’s BoomSound know-how undoubtedly provides audio a wealthy, properly-outlined high quality you possibly can hear is lacking when the setting is switched off, however, as I really feel with most smartphones, it is missing barely within the bass vary when piping music by way of headphones. I truly thought bass was higher serviced when the mini 2’s entrance stereo speaker setup was employed, and whichever approach you are consuming music, you will not be left wanting for extra quantity.
In our normal battery-rundown check, the One mini 2 ran out of juice after looping video for round six hours and forty minutes, though the telephone did not even have cell reception on the time, and was pulling knowledge down utilizing WiFi. Which will have skewed the outcome barely, nevertheless it’s not notably spectacular for the typical-sized, 2,100mAh battery. I discovered that in day-to-day use, nevertheless, the mini 2 held up nicely. I might be hesitant to say you can get a full two days out of it, even with comparatively modest use, however underneath regular circumstances — some mild gaming, a couple of footage, a bit of searching and e-mail studying — it’s going to get you thru a full day with ease. There are additionally the 2 energy-saving modes to maintain battery drain to a minimal if you end up in a pinch with out entry to a charger.The competitors
We have but to see HTC’s archrival Samsung announce a miniature variant of the Galaxy S5, which might be the mini 2’s apparent nemesis. Till that occurs, if certainly it does, the Galaxy S4 mini and final yr’s One mini are in all probability its closest rivals. The One mini 2 shall be launching throughout Europe and Asia someday throughout June, and HTC tells us the worth for an unlocked, SIM-free handset shall be between £360 and £370 within the UK. The unique mini retails for about £one hundred much less, and the S4 mini is barely cheaper than that once more. I might say, then, that £360-ish is a good worth given the mini 2’s enhancements in hardware and design.
If common efficiency is what you need most out of your telephone, then the approaching Moto G with LTE is value a point out, seeing because it additionally has a 720p show with the identical processor/RAM mixture because the One mini 2. And it is going to be low cost as compared — at £149 within the UK ($219 within the US). Who is aware of what sort of struggle the cheaper M8 Ace may put up towards the mini 2, however I really feel the most important competitors HTC’s new handset has is with the telephone it is based mostly on. Or quite, the mini 2 is critical competitors for the M8. The brand new One retails for round £520 unlocked within the UK, so for many who need the identical premium supplies in a smaller type issue, or are prepared to lose a couple of of the M8’s bells and whistles for the sake of a reduction, then the mini 2 is a legitimate choice.
From a hardware perspective, Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact is a really compelling various. It is obtainable for £380 unlocked and dominates the One mini 2 in just about each space of the spec sheet. The primary factor the mini 2 has over Sony’s shrunken (however not retooled) providing is the premium end. In the long run, selecting a smartphone must be based mostly on private choice somewhat than simply numbers, as you will in all probability be spending a minimum of a yr utilizing it day by day. There is no phrase on a North American launch of the One mini 2 simply but, however I do not see why HTC would skip such a big area. Relying on new releases which will happen earlier than it lands in NA, and what the pricing works out to be (the mini 2 is over $600 when transformed, however such figures are often extremely inaccurate), it might find yourself being much less aggressive in that market.Wrap-up
I am nonetheless caught on one query once I take into consideration the mini 2: Is it well worth the cash? It is considerably cheaper than the M8, however I am unsure worth accounts for all of the compromises. I primarily love the feel and appear of the system, and HTC did a superb job of recreating a lot of the M8’s attraction. The show marries a very good decision with a top quality panel, and though the interior hardware has taken successful within the shrinking course of, it is nonetheless remarkably succesful and offers sufficient efficiency for many apps and options. Even in case you’re not a fan of skinned Android builds, Sense 6 is likely one of the greatest, and the mini 2 is as up-to-date because it will get with four.four.2 KitKat proper out of the gate.
The thirteen-megapixel digital camera seems to be good on paper, however efficiency is erratic and sometimes disappointing, so potential consumers have to bear that in thoughts. Realistically, you are going to purchase the One mini 2 should you just like the look of the One mini 2. It is also a viable proposition for many who both do not need to shell out for the M8 or weren’t down with the shape issue. You are paying for the model and brushed-metallic design over any stand-out element or function, and in that case, the worth may be acceptable at £one hundred fifty lower than the M8 calls for. I am far more interested by seeing what carriers can do to that worth when it truly launches, and I think about when subsidies start to kick in, the reply to the query I am nonetheless pondering might be “Sure.”
Edgar Alvarez contributed to this evaluate.
Tags: Engadget highlight assessment, htc, htconem8, htconemini2, mobilepostcross, onemini2, evaluation, sense6, smartphone, highlight evaluate, highlight critiques
- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/htc/one/m8/” title=”HTC One (M8) evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Evaluations • eighty two </a>
- Sort Smartphone
- Working system Android (KitKat [4.4])
- Display measurement 5 inches
- Inner reminiscence 32 GB
- Carriers (US) AT&T
- Dimensions 5.seventy six x 2.seventy eight x zero.37 in
- Weight 5.sixty four oz
- Launched 2014-03-25
<a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/htc/one/mini/2/”> HTC One mini 2 </a>