Review: HTC's One Mini 2, A Great Android Smartphone

Written by Alex Zaharov-Reutt      29/09/2014 | 09:35 | Category name i.e.COMMUNICATION

With smartphones going extra big, it's great to see a powerful, premium-styled smartphone in a smaller configuration from a top brand name that's smooth and comfortable in your hand.

Review: HTC
If the latest trend towards giant smartphones isn't your style, HTC's new Mini One 2 is a mini one to see. 

Coming with HTC's signature features such as the twin, front-facing Boomsound stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers and HTC's polished 'Sense' UI with BlinkFeed social media newsfeed screen, the on-screen experience is as good as the exterior looks. 

Gone are the judders and stutters we've seen on other Android smartphones from years gone by when scrolling through the home screens, menus and in the browser, and that's with a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and not the faster Snapdragon 800-series processors seen in various Android-makers' highest-end models. 

Naturally looking almost exactly like a smaller version of the One M8, it is slightly larger than the iPhone 5s, smaller than the new iPhone 6 and is dwarfed by the huge iPhone 6 Plus or either of the new Samsung Galaxy Notes. 

With an all-metal chassis and not plastic as seen on cheap Androids, the metal back of the One Mini 2 is curved like its bigger One M8 brother. 

This means, when laid on its back, it can gently rock from side to side ever faster until it stops if you push down on the left or right hand side of the phone. 

Without a case on, this means if the phone is on your table and you're tapping at its screen, it can start rocking back and forth a little from side to side, which is actually mildly annoying but the effect would be much less pronounced it if happened at all with a case on, with cases the first accessory many get to protect their devices from accidental drops and falls. 

Rocking the phone left and right has no effect on the UI as was the case with Samsung's curved Galaxy which could activate some on-screen info when the phone's screen was off, it's just a consequence of having a rounded back, which makes it a little thicker in the middle than the edges, and which provide a very nice and comfortable feel in the hand - which is the trade off between table top usage (which isn't the way most people use their phones) and having the phone sit in your hand nicely rather than potentially digging into your palm. 

For some people it's a much better feel than some of the latest ultra-slim smartphones, which can be an important consideration when you're literally handling your phone all day long. 

A 13 megapixel camera with BSI sensor - as opposed to the lower number of "ultrapixels" used on the bigger M8 - adorns the back of the phone is accompanied by a standard white LED flash, rather than the twin Truetone flash seen on the back of the larger One M8, and the 13 megapixel photos look good - as do the selfies from the 5 megapixel camera on the front. 

This makes the One Mini 2 sound like it is a much better challenger to competing handsets with numbers that are similar rather than a smaller number of ultrapixels, even though ultrapixels are larger than "regular" pixels. What it all means is that HTC did not skimp on the cameras in the One Mini 2, which is great to see, unlike cheaper Androids that often come with lower quality cameras of around 5 megapixels. 

After all, the One Mini 2 is meant to be a premium yet smaller version of the One M8, so it really is great to see that HTC has gone all out to ensure the One Mini 2 lives up to the "One"-series branding. 

A beta version of HTC's Zoe app is included, with Zoe allowing you to "create memorable 'Zoes' from your photos and videos", which is a fun way of having this app automatically make video slideshows of your content. 

There's also a second part to Zoe called "Mix it up", which lets you "add your content to friends' Zoes and let them contribute to yours", something that today's youth are likely to especially love as groups of friends all get creative together. 

Apps-wise there's little more to say other than it supports virtually all of the million-plus apps on the Google Play store, although as usual, apps like Foxtel Go still only support select smartphones with the HTC One Mini 2 sadly not yet on that list despite presumably being more than capable. 

Foxtel, lift your game and fix your app so it is more widely compatible, it's crazy that a boringly simple video player app is not immediately compatible with every new Android device on the market, especially beautiful new models like the HTC One Mini 2. 

On top of that, if Foxtel's app isn't compatible with my device, why is Foxtel letting me download it via Google Play? I've seen the Google Play store inform me that an app isn't compatible with my device and won't let me install it. 

Perhaps it is because I have already downloaded the Foxtel Go app to a Samsung phone that was compatible but it's still a bad look for Foxtel to allow an app download only then to announce "Sorry! Currently your device is not supported at this time. Please check the Foxtel website for the list of supported Android device". 

It's just a shame to see Foxtel can't get its app working on more devices (especially at the time when it wants more customers to sandbag itself against the coming Netflix onslaught) when the ABC's iView app has no such issues and worked perfectly well on the HTC One Mini 2. 

But enough of Foxtel - back to the One Mini 2. 

The front of the phone is naturally the area you'll be spending most of your attention on, and HTC has included a 4.5-inch with 720P resolution, and it is sharp, clear and bright.

The screen size is what dictates the size of this phone, with slim bezels on the left and right ensuring the phone isn't too wide. With sharp text and clear on-screen graphics, it's great to know we've left the low-res era back with phones of the past.  

Other phones out there have even higher resolutions and much bigger screens, but hey, at least this phone is unlikely to bend anytime soon in your pocket. 

That said, I've had both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in my front pants pocket as I walked and drove my car over the past few days - sometimes both at the same time, and you know what? Nothing happened. Yuri Geller did not appear to magically bend either model with his mind power. 

Even so, unless someone goes all out to apply extreme maximum force to the HTC One Mini 2 as we've seen in videos where the Galaxy S4 snaps in half or the HTC One M8 has the sound of internal glues cracking, the One Mini 2 simply won't bend either with the everyday usage and pocketability we subject our smartphones to. 

Phone call quality is something that's often left out of some reviews, but not this one.  

Several calls were made and call quality was perfectly fine. Perhaps the volume could have been the tiniest bit louder at maximum volume when the phone was pressed to my ear, but I had no problems talking to anyone or hearing them, and the people I spoke to had no problems hearing me.

When you're in the phone app, you can swipe left and right through several screens. The main screen you see first is the dialler key pad. Swipe to the right and you see the call history. Swipe to the left and you're back at the key pad again. 

Another swipe to the left brings up the Favourites menu, yet another swipe brings up the People menu where you can link contacts and a final swipe to the left brings up a Group menu. 

As for other apps that are built-in, there are plenty. All of Google's apps are there, Polaris Office 5 is included, you get the usual Stocks, Weather, Calculator, Clock, Mail, Calendar, Flashlight, FM Radio, Camera, Voice Recorder and more. 

You also get HTC's Cloud Backup tool, a Parental Dashboard, a Kids Mode, an HTC Guide, an HTC Setup app, a Car Mode, Facebook and Twitter, a Tips & Help app and the aforementioned Zoe automatic photo/video mashup tool and still a few others such as the TelstraOne app if you get the version from Telstra and likely whatever the carrier apps are from other carriers that are offering this model. 

Everything worked as expected, and with a smoothness of operation that was very pleasing to see. Clearly the latest processors and Android KitKat 4.4 has come of age - we are a long way away from those early herky-jerky Android 1.x and 2.x handsets of the last few years, which is great for those who want more affordable yet still premium Android smartphones that feel like they have the smoothness of the very latest models. 

This smartphone also has full 4G connectivity including the ability to use Telstra's new 700MHz 4G LTE network that gives better indoor and outdoor coverage and which is not only available in parts of Australia now but is being more widely rolled out from the 1st of January 2015. 

While there's no removable battery as is the style with HTCs models, there is a MicroSD card slot able to take cards up to 128GB in size, accompanying the built-in 16GB of storage. 

Talk time when used with 3G networks is up to 16.2 hours and while this figure will naturally change depending on how actively you use the phone during the day and how much 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity you access, the One Mini 2 should have the battery life you need to power through you day. 

To conclude, HTC has done a great job of creating a smaller version of it flagship model with premium styling that sets the One Mini 2 apart from HTC's own lower-cost Desire models. 

This ensures HTC has models at virtually every price point except the rock bottom underpowered super-cheap market where few profits are made. 

If you're an Android fan who needs a new smartphone and doesn't want the latest jumbo-sized models that certainly have their place, the HTC One Mini 2 stands ready to be an unobtrusive, easily pocketable, comfortable-to-hold smartphone that will be a solid digital companion. 

It has all the apps you want (except Foxtel Go, thanks Foxtel!) and has a premium styling that instantly sets it apart from all the cheaper Androids out there. 

The HTC One Mini 2 has a recommended retail price of $599 and is available on a range of plans from telcos. Telstra also sells this model outright for $528. 

More information here at HTC's Australian site

HTC One Mini 2 Specs are as follows:

137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6 mm

CPU Speed
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz quad-core CPUs

850/900/1800/1900 MHz

850/900/1900/2100 MHz with HSPA+ up to 42 Mbps

4G - LTE:
Bands 1,3,7,8,28

Ambient light sensor
Proximity sensor

Main Camera: 13MP, BSI sensor, f/2.2, 1080p video recording
Front Camera: 5MP, BSI sensor, 1080p video recording
AC Adaptor
Voltage range/frequency: 100 ~ 240V AC, 50/60 Hz

DC output: 5 V / 1A

137 g

Platform Android
Android with HTC Sense

HTC Blinkfeed

Total storage: 16GB


Expansion card slot supports microSD memory card for up to 128GB additional storage (card not included)

3.5 mm stereo audio jack
Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX enabled
Wifi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz)
DLNA for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer
HTC Connect
micro-USB 2.0 port

Audio supported formats:
Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .flac, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 10)
Recording: .aac

Video supported formats:
Playback:.3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .mkv, .wmv (Windows Media Video 10), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
Recording: .mp4

4.5 inch, HD720

SIM Card Type
nano SIM

Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS

Digital Compass

HTC BoomSound
Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
Sense Voice

Capacity: 2100 mAh

Embedded rechargable Li-polymer battery

Talk time:
Up to 16.2 hours for 3G

Standby time:
Up to 556 hours for 3G

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Pros & Cons


- Stylish, premium look and feel
- Comfortable in the hand
- Fast, smooth performance
- Great HTC apps built-in
- HTC's great Android Skin - Sense UI
- Back to regular megapixels for the camera
- Great "Boomsound" front facing speakers
- All metal body


- No removable battery
- No Truetone "dual LED" flash
- Volume at maximum could be the tiniest bit louder
- Double the price of the plastic-clad HTC Desire range
- Foxtel Go doesn't yet work on this Android (Thanks, Foxtel)