HTC One Mini 2 review
Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), 4.5in 1,280x720 display
While its name may suggest this phone is the successor to HTC's original One Mini, the One Mini 2 is the diminutive follow-up to the HTC One (m8). With no Mini version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 currently in sight, the One Mini 2 is an enticing prospect for those that want a great-looking handset for much less than the full-size version.
Cosmetically, the One Mini 2 and the (m8) look very similar. They both have the same gorgeous aluminium design and each runs Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC's latest Sense 6 interface laid over the top. This means the One Mini 2 benefits from all the same HTC-exclusive apps as the (m8), including Blinkfeed and the forthcoming Zoe camera app. The only notable app missing on the One Mini 2 is HTC's TV app, which turned the (m8) into a remote control and TV listing screen for your home cinema system.
As with most cut-down versions of flagship handsets, there's always a concern that these phones are all style and no substance. The original One Mini managed to strike a good balance between top-class design and decent hardware, but we feel the One Mini 2 may have taken one too many shortcuts in order to justify its price.
The One Mini 2’s 4.5in 1,280x720-resolution screen is one of the more immediate changes compared to the (m8)'s larger Full HD display, but this is still more than enough pixels for this kind of screen size. With a pixel density of 326 pixels-per-inch, the screen is just as sharp as an iPhone 5C, and the One Mini 2's Sense 6 UI looked sharp and crisp. We weren't able to read text on desktop-based websites without squinting, though, so you'll probably have to zoom in when browsing the web.
Sadly, the screen's overall image quality was less impressive. We measured sRGB colour gamut coverage to be just 85.9 per cent, which is what we'd expect to see from a budget phone, not a mid-range handset. Colours looked noticeably more washed out when we compared it side by side to the Motorola Moto X's AMOLED panel, and whites had a bluish tinge to them despite a high peak brightness of 450.2cd/m2. Blacks also appeared a little grey with our measured black level of 0.35cd/m2, but this is around what we'd typically expect from an LCD panel.
Thankfully, the screen's contrast levels were better. We measured a contrast ratio of 1,289:1, and our darker test images showed plenty of detail. This didn't help the screen's narrow viewing angles, though, as the screen became noticeably darker when we set it down on a table compared to when we were looking at it face-on. It was still bright enough to see the screen clearly, but we found it difficult to read lots of text on HTC's Blinkfeed news reader, for instance, unless we were holding the phone in our hand.
We could see the difference in day-to-day web browsing. When scrolling through desktop-based sites such as The Guardian, we noticed a perceptible lag between us swiping down on the screen and the One Mini 2 responding accordingly. Panning around zoomed in pages was also a little jerky, but our biggest annoyance was how the browser kept highlighting text when we simply wanted to move round the screen. This didn't happen very often, but it was frustrating nevertheless.