Today, HTC is launching the HTC One mini 2, a phone that is supposed to be a smaller version of the HTC One (M8), both in price and size. As a direct successor to the HTC One mini, a surprising amount has changed. The camera is no longer the Ultrapixel sensor, the display and overall size increase, NFC shows up, and the SoC has been changed to use a quad core Cortex A7 setup over the dual core Krait setup from last year. A list of the differences between the One mini, One mini 2, and One (M8) can be seen below.

  HTC One mini 2 HTC One (M8) HTC One mini
SoC MSM8926 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 MSM8974ABv3 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8930 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 400
RAM/NAND 1 GB, 16GB NAND + microSD 2GB LPDDR3, 16/32GB NAND + microSD 1 GB LPDDR2, 16GB NAND
Display 4.5” 720p LCD 5” 1080p LCD 4.3" 720p LCD
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x25 UE Category 4 LTE) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x25 UE Category 4 LTE) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Qualcomm MDM9x15 UE Category 3 LTE)
Dimensions 137.43 x 65.04 x 10.6mm, 137 grams 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm max, 160 grams 132 x 63.2 x 9.25 mm, 122 grams
Camera 13MP rear camera, 1.12 µm pixels, 1/3.06" CMOS size, F/2.2. 5MP f/2.8 FFC 4.0 MP (2688 × 1520) Rear Facing with 2.0 µm pixels, 1/3" CMOS size, F/2.0, 28mm (35mm effective) and rear depth camera, 5MP f/2.0 FFC 4.0 MP (2688 × 1520) Rear Facing with 2.0 µm pixels, 1/3" CMOS size, F/2.0, 28mm (35mm effective) no OIS
1.6 MP front facing
Battery 2100 mAh (7.98 Whr) 2600 mAh (9.88 Whr) 1800 mAh (6.84 Whr)
OS Android 4.4.2 with Sense 6 Android 4.4.2 with Sense 6 Android 4.4.2 with Sense 5.5
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA, NFC 802.11a/b/g/n + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, MHL, DLNA
SIM Size NanoSIM NanoSIM MicroSIM

As seen above, the One mini 2 is a noticeable step up from the One mini. The battery is larger, the modem supports LTE category 4 and carrier aggregation if two WTR1625Ls are on the device (though it doesn't appear that the One mini 2 has such a setup based upon the information that we've seen). The front facing camera appears to be the same as the one in the One (M8), and the design is largely similar as well. On the audio side, HTC has stated that the One mini 2 uses the same amplifiers on the speakers and 3.5mm jack as the One (M8). However, the second 2MP sensor is gone from this version, as is the dual temperature LED flash.

The most shocking change is likely to be the main rear camera sensor, which forgoes the 4MP UltraPixel sensor for a traditional 13MP camera with 1.12 micron pixels. HTC is quick to point out that not only is the 13MP camera cheaper than the two sensor DuoCam solution on the M8, but it's also cheaper than the single 4MP UltraPixel sensor. HTC remains committed to its UltraPixel strategy, but on the One mini 2 cost has a much higher priority than low light performance.

The One mini 2 also loses Zoe, Panorama 360, and dual capture, only leaving the standard still, video modes with scene selection capability. It seems pretty clear that the ISP on the MSM8926 just isn't powerful enough to support dual encode capabilities, and it's likely that Pan 360 required too much compute to be realistically usable on the One mini 2. This seems to also be reinforced by the dramatically longer shot to shot latency on the One mini 2, which can be slow enough to display a "Saving..." toast if the gallery icon is tapped immediately after taking a photo. While the preview of the One mini 2 is noticeably lower in quality and resolution than the One (M8), in good lighting conditions it's clear that it has better detail, although it will take more extensive tests to truly determine how the cameras stack up.

On the SoC front we have to deal with the confusion that stems from Qualcomm's overly simplified branding. Although both minis use a Snapdragon 400 SoC, the original mini featured an MSM8930 (2 x 1.4GHz Krait 200 cores) while the updated mini moves to a quad-core 1.2GHz Cortex A7 design (MSM8926). CPU performance should improve a bit with the move to Cortex A7. The GPU is still Adreno 305.

Outside of simple specs, the hardware is very different from the One (M8). The design, once a wrap-around body of aluminum, now ends around the volume rocker, leading to an M7-esque plastic sidewall that is grippy and makes for a neat design flair. The mini 2 eschews the M8's aluminum unibody for three pieces of aluminum laid into the plastic midframe. Ignoring the display, 90% of the M8's body was made of aluminum. By the same metric only 50% of the mini 2's body is aluminum. Even the One mini 2's conservative use of aluminum is substantial compared to other phones with similar specs.

Note that although the volume rocker on our gunmetal gray sample is silver, that will only apply to the first batch of units to hit store shelves. Subsequent batches of gunmetal One mini 2s will have a gunmetal volume rocker that matches the rest of the device. Just like the M8, the One mini 2 will be available in silver and gold as well.

The dual stereo speakers are still present, and HTC has moved the proximity/light sensor to the left side of the phone, and pushed the front facing camera to the right to equalize the width of the two speaker grilles. The display grows in size compared to the original mini (4.5" vs 4.3"), although it's still a 720p LCD panel. The larger display drove a larger chassis, which also enabled the use of a slightly larger battery (7.98Wh vs 6.84Wh). With very low power hardware under the hood, the One mini 2 should be pretty decent when it comes to battery life.

This phone looks and feels very much like a merger of the One 2013/M7 and the M8, even in size. The top-mounted 3.5mm jack, power button on the top-left, and single LED flash to the left of the camera are all reminiscent of the M7. While the One mini 2 is still significantly smaller than the One (M7), it is much closer than one would expect, and their sizes are almost equivalent. If the One mini was "just right" for you, the One mini 2 is likely to be at the edge of comfort or slightly too large. For most people, I suspect that this will be of a much more comfortable size than the One (M8), although the display placement still feels too tall due to the on screen buttons, which shift the keyboard further up than one might expect.

The addition of a microSD slot and nano SIM support are borrowed from the M8

The One mini 2 is definitely an upgrade from the original. Just like with the One mini, expectations have to be adjusted to fit the lower price bracket that this phone will slot in. The One mini 2 isn't just a smaller version of the M8, but like its predecessor it is also a lower specced device. 

Unlike its predecessor however, the One mini 2 launches in a world where the Moto G LTE will soon exist. With similar hardware underpinnings but priced at $219 compared to the One mini 2's $360+ expected price point, HTC is betting on its material choice and design to move units. It's a conscious bet that look and feel matter more than specs at this price point. There's definitely room for HTC to price the One mini 2 above the Moto G LTE, but it's difficult to judge just how much higher HTC can go.

The One mini 2 will be available in Europe and Asia beginning in June. There's no US launch planned at this point. 

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  • retrospooty - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Because they aren't selling. As much as you may want it, most people dont. Reply
  • londedoganet - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Well, given that there haven't really been many examples on the market (currently, it's just the Z1 Compact, really), can you really draw that conclusion? iPhones, which still have smaller screens, are selling pretty well (but then there's the complicating factors of Apple's massive brand equity, and if the rumors are to be believed even Apple's thinking of launching a phablet version of the iPhone 6...) Reply
  • retrospooty - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    "Well, given that there haven't really been many examples on the market (currently, it's just the Z1 Compact, really), can you really draw that conclusion? "

    Yes, we can... There have been many examples, Android flasgships all started out hte same size and as biggerones came along they sold better and people were demanding bigger and bigger. Those bigger models sell and the smaller dont. It's how the free market determines things like this. If people were clammoring to buy these smaller phones OEM's would be making them, beleive me.
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    When a new flagship is released, it becomes extremely hard, if not impossible, to buy the previous generation (from the same manufacturer). IOW, everyone is forced to buy the new version, with the larger screen. Meaning, it looks like "everyone wants the new one as it's selling better" when in fact it's more like "it's all that's available, so people are buying it".

    Until a manufacturer pulls a Sony (large-screen and small-screen versions with the same internals) *AND* makes it available everywhere, you can't say "no one wants the small screen versions".
    Reply
  • niva - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    This is a good point, I think things will settle in the 4.7 to 5.1" screen size as being ideal though for most people. They're compact enough for mobile purposes but also big enough with the screen size allowing you to get a better experience out of browsing/games/content. I know some people prefer small screens, my wife always said so too, but when she got her nexus 5 she fell so in love with it I don't think she can go back now. Reply
  • GuardianAngel470 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Most people want what the marketing tells them to want. If the marketing were to push smaller but equally powerful devices, your average joe would still buy it.

    It's only the tech junkies like us that ignore (or at least somewhat aware of) the marketing vs real life comparison.
    Reply
  • happycamperjack - Friday, May 16, 2014 - link

    I know, WTF HTC?? Snapdragon 400??? Did you finally "snapped" and gave up? Being just "ok" is going to kill you in today's android's markets. Reply
  • elian123 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Not only is there the Moto G LTE with similar specs but lower price, but also there is the Moto X at approx. the same price? Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Where can I get a moto x for $220? Reply
  • elian123 - Thursday, May 15, 2014 - link

    Moto X at One Mini 2 price. Reply

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