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HTC One Mini Ultrapixel Review

HTC One Mini Ultrapixel Review - The HTC One Mini is a new Android smartphone with a bright f/2.0 lens and 4 megapixel sensor for improved low light performance. Find out how it performs in our review.

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Category : Camera Phones
Product : HTC One Mini
Price : £360
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

HTC One Mini Silver (2)

The HTC One Mini is the new, compact, baby brother, or little sister to the HTC One, and continues with the technology introduced in the HTC One. Namely a 4 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and f/2.0 lens, designed to give better low light performance than other higher resolution sensors, although the HTC One Mini does not benefit from the optical image stabilisation in the HTC One.

HTC One Mini Features

HTC One Mini Silver (4)

The HTC One Mini is a smaller version of the HTC One, with a smaller body and 4.3 inch screen, as well as the same 4 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and bright f/2.0 lens. The HTC One Mini does not feature optical image stabilisation, and uses an LED flash for lighting in dark conditions. The HTC One Mini features a built in, non-replaceable, lithium ion rechargeable battery, and 16GB of built-in memory that also can't be upgraded.

The HTC One Mini has a "Zoe" shooting mode that takes a number of continuous photos (up to 20) and then puts them into a video, the video makes a short clip and doesn't include sound, but you also get to keep the photos as well.

HTC One Mini Silver (6)

Key Features

  • 4 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • Pixel size 2.0 µm, Sensor size 1/3inch
  • f/2.0 28mm wide-angle lens
  • 1.6 megapixel front camera
  • LED flash with five levels
  • 4.3inch 720p screen
  • 16GB storage built in, 1GB RAM
  • Full HD Video, Stereo sound, HDR video mode
  • ISO100 - ISO1600
  • microSIM slot
  • Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 400, quad-core, 1.4GHz processor

HTC One Mini Handling

HTC One Mini Silver (5)

The HTC One Mini is easy to unlock with shortcuts to web/camera/phone and messages to give quick access to your most commonly used apps. On the bottom, underneath the screen are the usual Android Home and back buttons, although strangely the third menu button only appears when the screen is touched, taking up some screen area. MicroUSB connection and charging is at the bottom of the phone, and on top is the unlock button and headphone socket.

The HTC One Mini, with a smaller screen than the HTC One, and therefore a narrower width is easier to use one handed than the larger HTC One, although this may depend on how large your hands are.

HTC One Mini Silver (7)

The unlock button is slightly raised, but as the phone is rectangular it can take a while to work out which way up the phone is without looking at it, when you first pick it up. On the side are smooth volume buttons.

HTC One Mini Silver (8)

Facing forwards are the "Beats audio" stereo speakers, which are capable of producing good levels of sound and clarity, although as expected are low on bass. The phone has the latest version of Android with access to the Google Play app market, with all the popular photo apps such as Instagram, etc, and as an HTC phone has a few additional unique HTC apps thrown in for good measure. Performance and responsiveness of the phone and apps is excellent with programs loading quickly and the screen responding rapidly to touch.

HTC One Mini Silver (10)

The HTC One Mini features a silver body made out of aluminium, and is extremely thin measuring just 9.25mm making it feel very slim in your pocket. There is nothing to protect the lens element on the rear so a case or careful handling of the camera phone is recommended, and as with other smartphones it's important to make sure the lens is clean as it's very easy to get finger prints on the lens. Build quality appears to be excellent with white plastic surrounding the body of the phone.

The phone has built in memory and a built in rechargeable 1800mAh battery. The HTC One Mini has a longer standby time than the HTC One, but a shorter talktime of 13.27 hours vs 18 hours for the HTC One. We found that the phone would last roughly a day with regular use, and as with other modern smartphones, daily charging is recommended.

HTC One Mini Silver (1)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  HTC One Mini
Shutter Response <0.05s
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.1s
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo <14s
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3s
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG 9fps (20 shots)

Continuous shooting shoots at 9fps, and for 20 shots, although you can enable more shots than 20. Shot to shot time is excellent and there is virtually no focus delay.

HTC One Mini Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

HTC One Mini Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The single LED flash does a good job of lighting the scene, however, you can get more natural looking results without using it, although the 28mm equivalent focal length of the lens isn't the most flattering for portrait shots.  

If you shoot 16:9 aspect ratio photos you get 4 megapixel images (2688 x 1520), whereas if you shoot using the 4:3 aspect ratio you get 3.1 megapixel photos (2048 x 1520). Colour and saturation is good, with the camera producing pleasing images, without being overly saturated. Exposure is generally good, and can be set using the touch screen. 

HTC One Mini Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail is quite good in photos, although they do appear to have strong sharpening applied, and the level of detail is definitely low when compared to other good 8 or 13 megapixel smartphones. Some purple fringing is visible in the photo of the trees above, however in most shots this was not a problem. The HDR shooting mode does an impressive job in dealing with high contrast photos, although it can look artificial. Digital zoom is best avoided as the results are pretty terrible. Macro performance is reasonable with the camera letting you get fairly close to the subject.

HTC One Mini ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The camera gives options to set the ISO setting, however, no matter how you set it, the camera ignores this and chooses the ISO setting depending on how it feels, and how much light there is. As can be seen below, despite setting a fixed ISO speed for the shots, the camera has changed the ISO speed depending on lighting.

HTC One Mini White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting with the tungsten and fluorescent presets giving very similar results. There are also cloudy and daylight white balance settings in case you want to alter the colour of your photos.

HTC One Mini Panoramic IMAG0036[1] |  | 3.8 mm
HTC One Mini Panoramic | 3.8 mm

Panorama mode - The camera has a sweep panoramic mode, where you press the shutter button and simply pan the camera from one side to the other, with the camera stitching the photos as you go. Detail is good and the photo is stitched together well, giving you a higher resolution photo than the standard 4:3 or 16:9 shots, at roughly 9 megapixels.

HTC One Mini Digital filters


Digital Filters - 15 effects are built into the HTC camera app and are selectable along the bottom of the screen. You can also adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpness of photos. 

Video Video options include slow-motion, fast HD (60fps), video HDR (Full HD), although this does not feature optical image stabilisation, which makes handheld videos shaky. Video quality is good and the HDR video mode does a very good job of expanding dyanamic range.


Value For Money

The HTC One Mini is available for around £360 sim free, although this price is expected to drop over time, this makes it a little less than the HTC One, which is available for around £450. Other smartphones available for around the same price, include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (8 megapixels) for around £325, or the Sony Xperia T (13 megapixels) for around £230.

Other smart phones with cameras to consider are the Samsung Galaxy S4 (13 megapixels) at £450, iPhone 5 (8 megapixels) at £505, HTC One UltraPixel (4 megapixels) at £460, Nokia Lumia 925 (8.7 megapixels) at £452, and Sony Experia Z (13 megapixels) at £449.

HTC One Mini Verdict

The HTC One Mini is a stunningly quick phone to use, with a great looking touch screen that is responsive and should be easy to use for anyone who is used to Android (or other) smartphones. The phone feels great in the hand, with the smaller screen and phone body feeling just right for one handed use, and the lower price compared to the HTC One is welcome.

However, while the lower resolution 4 megapixel sensor and bright f/2.0 lens give better low light performance in low light, it is a shame that that phone lacks optical image stabilisation from the HTC One. In good light you'll also wish that there was a higher resolution sensor where photos show a lack of detail compared to other 8 and 13 megapixel camera phones. 

As with the HTC One, the Mini delivers HDR photos and videos that are impressive, as well as high speed shooting. As a smart phone, the HTC One Mini is excellent, and available for a better price than the larger HTC One, however we would welcome a better camera. For those that already have a better (dedicated) camera, this would make an excellent companion mobile phone, fitting easily into small spaces, and came very close to being recommended.


 
 
   

HTC One Mini Pros

Large clear bright 4.3inch screen
Extremely responsive and quick in use
Impressive HDR stills and video
Great looking phone
Fast continuous shooting
Bright f/2.0 lens
2 year warranty
Very good panoramic mode
Extremely thin 

HTC One Mini Cons

No physical shutter release button
Only 4 megapixel sensor - daylight shots lack detail
Lacks optical image stabilisation
Can get warm in use
Ignores ISO setting
LED Flash

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

HTC One Mini Specifications

ManufacturerHTC
Lens
Max Aperturef/2
35mm equivalent28mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)2688
Pixels (H)1520
Sensor Size1/3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 16:9
  • 4:3
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor4.3in
Screen resolution720p
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortestNo Data
Shutter speeds longestNo Data
ISO sensitivity100 - 800
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
Video FPS1080P up to 30fps, 720P up to 60fps, 1080P with HDR up to 28fps, 768x432 up to 96fps
Stereo SoundYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Internal Memory16000mb
Power Source
Battery Type1800mAh
Box Contents
Box ContentsPhone, microUSB Cable, Earphones, Sim eject pin, Instructions, UK charger
Dimensions
Weight122g
Width132mm
Height63.2mm
Depth9.25mm

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