Despite cutting some of the M8's headline features, HTC's latest miniature is a competent all-rounder with plenty to offer.
In case you hadn't been paying attention, smartphones are getting bigger. In 2014, a 5-inch display is seen as the minimum for serious contenders in the high-end Android world. We've even reached the point where Apple is rumored — finally — to be joining the big-screen club later this year.
It's clear that the market wants (or at least expects) smartphones with gigantic screens. And the side effect of ballooning screen sizes is that phones are getting to be larger than many of us can comfortably hold in one hand. Hence the arrival of "mini" versions of popular Android flagships in recent years.
Rightly or wrongly, many expected devices like the HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini to simply translate their full-sized namesakes into a smaller form factor. But in reality it wasn't just the size of these handsets that ended up being cut down. Most (but not all) of these "minis" tended to include middling hardware, reduced performance and often cheaper materials in order to meet a lower target price.
This year's HTC miniature, the clumsily-named but surprisingly compelling HTC One Mini 2, is still intended to hit a price point a couple of tiers below its big brother, the One M8. As we've discovered over the past two weeks, though, that doesn't mean you'll settle for an underwhelming user experience, despite the lack of certain headline M8 features like Motion Launch and the Duo Camera.
The HTC One Mini 2 isn't quite the true M8 Mini some of us were hoping for, but it's a great little phone regardless. The real question is how it'll match up the to older Android flagships now crowding around its launch price, not least of which is HTC's own One M7.
Read on to find out how the HTC One Mini 2 shapes up, as we give it the full Android Central review treatment.
About this review
We're publishing this review after spending two weeks with a European HTC One Mini 2 (MEM_UL), which we've been using on Vodafone and EE (HSPA/LTE) in the UK, in areas with pretty good 4G coverage. Our review unit is a gunmetal gray HTC One Mini 2 running software version 1.16.401.2; the phone will also come in silver and gold color options, like the HTC One M8.
Our review unit comes from an early production run of HTC One Mini 2 handsets. In our initial hands-on and video walkthrough we mentioned that subsequent runs would have a slightly different color volume rocker — one that more closely matched the dark gray chassis color. HTC now informs us that the plan is for all future runs of the device to feature the same silver-shaded volume rocker that you see in our photos.