Although the HTC One M8 has been available for quite some time, not every smartphone user is willing to pay top dollar for a flagship device. HTC and other smartphone manufacturers are well aware of this, which explains the “Mini” segment.
Last year HTC released the “One Mini” – a mid-range smartphone that borrowed its design language from the top-end HTC One (M7). Now with the HTC One M8 out, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer has decided that a new “Mini” is in order. Sure enough, following numerous leaks and rumors concerning the device, the HTC One Mini 2 has been recently made official.
The big question on everyone’s minds, however, is whether or not the HTC One Mini 2 manages to be a true budget-friendly alternative to the flagship phone that inspired it. Today we’re going to try and find out just that, so let’s have a closer look at how these two smartphones compare.
One of the biggest selling points of the HTC One Mini 2 is, or should be, the overall design. After all, that’s the whole principle of building a “Mini” device – to offer a budget alternative to a flagship phone, while retaining the top-range build quality and design cues.
Fortunately, HTC appears to have hit a sweet spot with the Mini 2, as it does look very similar to the One M8. Much like the flagship phone, HTC One Mini 2′s shell has been built out of metal, and the smartphone does borrow most of its design cues from the M8, including the front-facing speaker grilles. However, at closer inspection one can tell that the Mini 2 isn’t as premium as its larger sibling. For instance, while the M8′s metal case covers all the edges, the Mini 2 features a plastic rim which is mostly noticeable at the top and bottom edges of the device.
The Mini 2 is also slightly thicker than the M8, as it measures 137.4 x 65 x 10.6 mm. In contrast, the flagship phone’s dimensions are 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm. On the bright side, the mid-range handset is considerably lighter, weighing 137 grams as opposed to 160 grams.
One of the biggest differences between these two smartphones – and one of the reasons why the Mini 2 is called the “Mini” – is the display. While the One M8 features a Super LCD3 display measuring 5 inches, the Mini 2 comes with a 4.5 inch Super LCD2 panel. Moreover, the flagship phone’s screen resolution is set at 1080 x 1920, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi. In contrast, the One Mini 2 features a 720 x 1280 panel, which delivers 326 pixels per inch.
Unlike Sony and the Z1 Compact, HTC had to cut some corners in the hardware department, in order to bring Mini 2′s price down. As such, the One Mini 2 is definitely not a flagship device, despite the fact that it may look like one.
The smartphone is being powered by a Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, an Adreno 305 GPU, and features 1 GB of RAM. Clearly, the M8 is the superior smartphone in this regard by a pretty large margin. It boasts a Snapdragon 801 MSM8974-AB SoC with four Krait 400 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz, an Adreno 330 graphics chip, and 2 GB of RAM.
While the One Mini 2 reportedly runs very well and without any major performances issues, it’s still no match for the M8.
Storage and Battery
Discussing about storage on the latest HTC smartphone has become quite exciting – mostly due to the fact that the Taiwanese manufacturer has decided to fit a microSD card slot on the majority of its newest handsets.
As such, both the One M8 and the Mini 2 feature an expansion slot that reads cards of up to 128 GB. As for the built-in storage, the M8 once again has a slight edge, as it’s being offered with 16 or 32 GB on-board. In contrast, the Mini 2 is limited to 16 GB only.
As for the battery, the M8 comes with a 2,600 mAh unit which promises to deliver up to 20 hours of talk time or ~500 hours of standby time – at least according to the manufacturer. In contrast, the One Mini 2 has a smaller 2,100 mAh package, but keep in mind that the smartphone is also less powerful and has a smaller screen, so the discrepancy in battery capacity should be balanced out by the lesser specs. HTC claims that the 2,100 mAh unit in the Mini 2 can last for about 556 hours in standby mode and can offer 16.2 hours of talk time.
One of the most attractive features promoted by the HTC One M8 is the Duo Camera setup, comprised of a 4 MP UltraPixel unit which is coupled with a secondary rear-facing shooter. The second sensor has the role of calculating the 3D depth of an image, allowing the user to add some rather intriguing depth of field effects, even after the image has been captured.
Sadly, this setup is missing on the HTC One Mini 2, as the smartphone in question packs a single, more conventional 13 MP shooter. While the MP count is indeed larger, the pixels are smaller, so the unit isn’t actually an upgrade over the M8′s 4 MP UltraPixel unit. It also lacks optical image stabilization, panorama mode, and since there’s no “Duo Camera” on-board, users won’t have access to those nice post-processing bokeh filters / effects. More so, while the M8 comes with a dual-tone LED flash, the Mini 2 has to make do with a regular LED flash.
On the brighter side, both smartphones offer similar 5 MP front-facing cameras with [email protected] video recording capabilities, and HTC’s camera feature dubbed “Zoe” will also be made available on the Mini 2. However, Zoe will not be available at launch, and instead it will be released through an universal Android app which is expected to hit the Play Store this summer.
OS, Price and Final Words
As far as the operating system goes, there’s actually not much to talk about. Both devices run Android 4.4.2 out of the box and both smartphones come with HTC Sense 6 on top, sprinkled with the latest version of BlinkFeed.
All in all, the HTC One Mini 2 seems like an attractive smartphone and it definitely looks the part. Nevertheless, if you’re expecting M8′s processing power wrapped up in a smaller package, then you won’t find it in Mini 2. It’s a decent mid-range smartphone that could be easily mistaken for a flagship phone, but it’s definitely no top-tier handset.
Obviously the price tag will play a big role in the Mini 2′s success, but to date HTC hasn’t managed to shed any light on the matter. Rumors and speculations indicate that the device should hit the market at around $400 / 400 euro / £250-300, but nothing has been confirmed thus far.
Would any of The Diplomat’s readers be interested in buying the HTC One Mini 2 as opposed to the flagship alternative? How much would you be willing to pay for the mid-range device and what features do you like the most? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.