The HTC One Mini 2 is an even smaller version of the excellent HTC One M8, but pricing issues are (once again) a serious problem.
The HTC One Mini 2 follows in the footsteps of last year’s HTC One Mini, in that it’s a scaled down version of a flagship device.
Where the original Mini was a cut-down HTC One, the HTC One Mini 2 is the smaller cousin of the still excellent HTC One M8. It’s smaller and slightly lower powered, as you might expect from a mid-range phone. HTC’s clearly gunning for this kind of market, what with the HTC One Mini 2 and the HTC Desire 610.
In specification terms, what you get with the HTC One Mini 2 is a 4.5″ 720p display sitting in front of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2Ghz quad-core processor. It’s LTE-capable, and joins the crew of phones that Telstra’s lining up for its 700Mhz network if you fancy a little future proofing. Onboard storage is 16GB, supplemented with microSD card support if you need more.
Like its bigger brother, you get “Boomsound” speakers that sit at the top and bottom of the HTC One Mini 2 and deliver a very solid sound. Not quite as good as that on the HTC One M8, which I suspect is due to the slightly plasticky sides of the HTC One Mini 2, but decent nonetheless.
What you don’t get that the full HTC One M8 gets is an “ultrapixel” camera. Instead, the rear camera on the HTC One Mini 2 is a straight 13MP sensor at the back and a 5MP sensor at the front. They’re adequate but not quite as good as those you’d find on a premium phone, and again that’s well within what you might expect out of a smaller, mid-range phone. I wish that wasn’t the case, given that even Apple seems to be giving up the ghost on having smaller but still powerful phones, but it’s definitely the style for now across most manufacturers.
There’s still a lot to like about the HTC One Mini 2 if you are a fan of smaller phones, however. It’s not as powerful as the HTC One M8, but for the vast majority of Android tasks it’s an adequate performer. For those who absolutely must have a benchmark score to cling to, it managed a Geekbench 3 score of exactly 1000, meaning it was outclassed slightly by the HTC Desire 610 and naturally well behind the leading Android curve.
The smaller size makes it comfortable to hold, although like the HTC One M8, if you push it particularly hard, it will get rather warm to the touch. I’m uncertain if it’s worse than the HTC One M8 in this respect due to less surface area to dissipate heat, and I don’t have an HTC One M8 nearby to test with.
Blinkfeed, HTC’s news-gathering magazine style screen app is still present. I still don’t like it, but I do understand that some people do.
Moving on, the inclusion of the smaller screen does mean it’s able to eke out solid battery life figures. I was able to use it solidly through a single day without the battery conking out, which is my primary aim with any given smartphone, because usage patterns can vary so very much.
The HTC One Mini 2 is a phone that, from a certain logical standpoint, I should love, given it’s essentially a shrunken down version of a phone that’s still in solid contention to be my favourite phone of 2014. Yes, it doesn’t have the ultrapixel camera, and it’s not quite as nicely built, but it’s still a good phone.
Then you get to the price, and it all starts to tumble a bit. It’s exactly the same story as with the HTC Desire 610, in that the outright price, at $528, isn’t inexpensive but equally isn’t terrible. I suspect if you can scrape together $528, you can probably stretch a little further and go for a true premium model, but that’s neither here nor there.
Like the Desire 610, the HTC One Mini 2 is a Telstra-exclusive device on plans starting at $60/month with $550 “worth” of calls, unlimited texts and 500MB of data per month for a minimum 24 month cost of $1440. You can get more data or call allowance on higher plans, but the problem is the same one that I had with the Desire 610.
The better, but slightly larger HTC One (M8) is currently available on a Telstra 24 month plan from $65 per month with the same call inclusions for a minimum term cost of $1560. Or in other words, for only $120, you can upgrade to a phone that’s a great deal better than the HTC One Mini 2 will ever be.
Once again, HTC’s produced a perfectly fine phone, but it’s one that’s priced too aggressively closely to their premium flagship to really be worth it for contract buyers, and even those looking at an outright purchase would be advised to shop around.