HTC One Mini 2 preview: a beautiful, compact phone with a confusing name

16 May 2014

We all knew that a mini version of the HTC One (M8) was on its way. What we should also expected was that HTC would continue its run of questionable naming tactics for its phones. The retroactively changing the name of last year’s One to the One (M7) to help separate it from this year’s One (M8) is bad enough, but now instead of the One (M8) Mini we have the One Mini 2. HTC is not doing itself any favours.

Moniker missteps aside, the Mini 2 is shaping up to be a solid little device by all accounts. Its design is similar to that of the One (M8), copying the same brushed metal finish in Gun Metal, Silver and Gold. This time HTC has returned to the plastic rim that circled the original One (M7) and One Mini of last year, but it barely detracts from the overall impression.

The Boomsound speakers have made their comeback, as has the pleasurably slimmed-down Sense 6 UI and HTC’s news aggregator BlinkFeed.

Under the hood

The 4.5 inch 720p screen should provide great visuals. At that size the 720p resolution offers a hardy 326 pixels per inch (ppi), which is exactly the same pixel density found on the Retina display of Apple’s flagship devices, although over a larger area.

The cameras are the biggest surprise. The rear shooter is 13MP, which is what the Galaxy S4 sported last year. If the image sensors behind it are anywhere near as good, this should be one of the best camera experiences from a mid-range device out there. There’s no depth sensor, like that on the (M8), but that’s hardly surprising.

Continuing the trend is the impressive 5MP front-facing camera. That’s the same number of MP found on the flagship (M8), which had a fantastic ‘Selfie’ cam when we reviewed it. There’s not too many reasons why we shouldn’t expect the same quality from the Mini 2, which is definitely a feather in its cap.

Running the whole show is a Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and Android 4.4. There’s 16GB of onboard storage and, wait for it, a MicroSD for expanding that a further 128GB. The MicroSD feature was distinctly lacking from both the One (M7) and One Mini, so it’s great to see it now.

Other specs include a 2100mAh battery, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n but not ac, 4G LTE connectivity and USB 2.0.

It looks like once again HTC has made a great smartphone and failed only in the naming department. Once the Taiwanese company has overcome this last hurdle (probably by firing their naming guy/gal) and figured out some louder marketing techniques we might finally see it take its rightful place alongside Samsung as co-king of Android, finally bringing balance to the market.

Well, it’s nice to dream, anyway.

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