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HTC One Mini 2 Review: same beautiful design, smaller package

The HTC flagship has been shrunken down, both inside and out. Has it lost its aluminium lustre in the process? We find out in this HTC One Mini 2 review.
May 28, 2014

As has been the trend, flagship devices are often given the shrink ray treatment resulting in a more accessible version. This is true for HTC’s current popular flagship, the HTC One M8, as well, and what we have in our hands is something that looks quite literally like a smaller version of its bigger sibling, dubbed as the HTC One Mini 2.

htc one mini 2 first look (17 of 22)

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the One Mini 2 is definitely smaller than the current flagship devices available, but still features dimensions that are quite comparable to last year’s HTC One M7, mostly due to the added girth at the top and bottom. The front houses the 4.5-inch display, along with the BoomSound speakers at the top and bottom, which are the contributing factor to the extra length.

Another defining “Mini” factor is the fact that the One Mini 2 features a polycarbonate lip that goes all around the screen, and breaks up the aluminium found on the device. This raised border returns from the original One Mini, and while it’s noticeable on the silver version on which the lip is white, in the gunmetal grey version that we have, the black border definitely blends in better. Around the back is the aluminium slab with a brushed metal finish, with the only glaring difference being the lack of the secondary camera, which was a part of the Duo Camera setup of the One M8.

htc one mini 2 first look (18 of 22)

While the volume rocker and microSD card slot are on the right, and the microSIM slot is on the left, the power button retains its place at the top of the phone. It is certainly easier to reach, considering the smaller overall size, but is still a slightly awkward aspect of the handling experience. The narrower profile allows you to easily reach across the device with your thumb, and as is the case with any Mini device, the handling experience is refreshingly easy.

htc one mini 2 (3 of 5)

As far as the display is concerned, you get a 4.5-inch screen with a 720p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 326 ppi. While screen nuts may hope for more, the 720p resolution is still very enjoyable on the smaller screen size. The Super LCD 2 display allows for good brightness and great viewing angles. As a media consumption device, the display of the One Mini 2 still performs very well. Talking about performance, the One Mini 2 features a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by the Adreno 305 GPU, and 1 GB of RAM.

While this processing package is distinctly mid-range, I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the snappiness of the device. While processor intensive gaming may result in bit of a slow down, every day tasks like listening to music, watching videos, taking pictures, and more, caused no issues.

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In the hardware aspect, the HTC One Mini 2 brings a lot of good extras to the table. The BoomSound speakers allow for an enjoyable experience, and compared to the One M8, the quality falls in line with the smaller stature of the Mini version, with basically just a lower level in the volume overall.

The general bevy of connectivity options are available, including NFC, but the sensor suite that lets you wake the M8 through gestures is missing. You get 16 GB of internal storage, which is further expandable via microSD up to 128 GB. And finally, the 2,110 mAh battery of the One Mini 2 is pretty much par for the course. General usage should let you get as much as 9 hours of use out of the battery, with the extra power saving modes very helpful in a pinch.

htc one mini 2 first look (13 of 22)

The camera situation is a little peculiar, not only because of the lack of the Duo Camera, but also because HTC has replaced the 4 MP “Ultra Pixel” camera in favour of a more conventional 13 MP rear shooter. When it comes to the camera app, the Zoe camera and Pan 360 mode are missing, but everything else found on the One M8 returns here. The camera allows for some great photos with vibrant colours, even if text was rendered without great crispness. Overall, it may not be the best camera out there, but is more than a decent performer. While the HTC One M8 did fare much better with regards to low light photography, the higher megapixel count does have its advantages.

Camera Samples

Software is probably the only place where nearly all abilities are retained from the original M8. For all intents and purposes, HTC Sense 6 in all its glory is found here, albeit on a smaller screen. You’ll get a lot of HTC specifics such as BlinkFeed, Zoe, Gallery, a vertical scrolling app drawer, the recent apps screen, and the theme engine, that allows you to change the colour of various elements in the interface. What you get in the Sense 6 package is one of the easier to use Android iterations available, made possible by HTC’s style. Everything you need is on a simple, often monochromatic backdrop, with a priority towards function, over being eye candy. And as is the benefit of such minimalistic takes on Android, you will find that as HTC keeps it simple, they keep it fast.


Display4.5-inch Super LCD 3, HD (1280 x 720), 326 ppi
quad-core Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz, Adreno 305 GPU
16GB, microSD card slot, up to 128GB
13MP rear, BSI sensor, f/2.2
5MP front, BSI sensor, Full HD recording
2,100 mAh
GPS/GLONASS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n 2.4/5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
3G/WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

LTE EMEA Band 3, 7, 8, 20
LTE Asia Band 1, 3, 7, 8, 28
Android 4.4 KitKat, HTC Sense 6, BlinkFeed
137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6 mm
137 grams
Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver, Amber Gold


Currently, we know the HTC One Mini 2 will be made available in European markets in June, and early pricing reports state that it can come in around 500 Euros, making it a pretty premium price point. We don’t know what it looks like for the US just yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the price tag was pretty steep here as well. Main competitors in the “Mini” game currently include last season’s Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, also found at a premium price point but sports one of the most powerful performance packages available on any smaller device.
htc one mini 2 first look (11 of 22)
And so, there you have it – the HTC One Mini 2. Form does lend itself to function as HTC has created yet another very attractive aluminium clad device that comes in at a smaller stature than its flagship. While it might not offer the same raw power underneath the hood, it is still more than viable for even somewhat above average users. A more conventional 13 megapixel rear camera, despite having its own limitations, has already done its part to attract a few users on its own. The HTC One Mini 2 is yet another example of how the “mini” genre of phones is more than just a fad, and is in fact a wholly viable market for people who know they don’t need the biggest or fastest to enjoy their smartphone experience, especially when it still manages to look this good.