Releasing a smaller version of a flagship phone has become something of an annual tradition for major phone manufacturers. For HTC, this year is no exception. The Taiwanese company has formally unveiled the HTC One Mini 2, which, like last year’s HTC One Mini, is a smaller, less feature-packed version of its current flagship.
More specifically, HTC has shrunk the One (M8)’s aluminum chassis to support a 4.5-inch display, down from the 5-inch screen of the original. That should make it much easier to use with one hand. The device itself isn’t completely made of metal like its bigger brother — like the first One Mini, its sides are covered in polycarbonate — but the rounded edges, BoomSound speakers and general design language that won the One (M8) critical acclaim still appear to be intact. Like the One (M8), it’ll come in grey, silver and champagne gold.
Unlike Sony’s approach to the similarly-sized Xperia Z1 Compact, however, that shrinkage in real estate has also come with a drop of power on the spec sheet. The LCD display, for starters, features a 720 x 1280 resolution. That still makes for a solid 326 pixels per inch on the smaller screen, but it’s down from the 1080p ways of the One (M8), which allowed for a massive 441 ppi.
The Snapdragon 801 chipset and 2 GB of RAM of the One (M8) are also gone, here replaced by a lesser, 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC and a single GB of memory. Again, this shouldn’t turn the One Mini 2 into a slouch, but it’s decidedly a second-class citizen next to its more premium predecessor.
Only 16GB of storage will be available with the One Mini 2, but thankfully the phone will still feature a microSD slot that supports up to 128 GB of extra space. The device will still run Android 4.4.2 KitKat under HTC’s Sense UI 6.0 skin, but the One (M8)’s nifty “Motion Launch” gestures aren’t around, and the phone’s lack of an IR blaster means that HTC’s “Sense TV” remote control app is gone too. The One Mini 2’s battery has also dipped from 2600 mAh to 2100 mAh.
The One (M8)’s 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” rear camera has also been removed entirely, along with the “Duo Camera” depth sensor that accompanied it. On the One Mini 2, those been replaced by a more standard 13-megapixel shooter. It lacks the Duo Camera’s special effects, and it’s unlikely to match the dependable low-light performance of the larger UltraPixels, but its higher MP count just may allow it to improve upon the One (M8)’s inconsistencies in standard settings. Time will tell. A 5-megapixel front-facing camera joins the new rear shooter, and it looks to be the same as the One (M8)’s excellent selfie-taker.
Ultimately, the One Mini 2 doesn’t appear to be too much of a departure from the original One Mini. This is very clearly a lesser device than the One (M8), but it’s one meant for the mainstream, so it doesn’t need to go overboard on specs — so long as the price is right. Motorola and its similarly-specced Moto G have proven that this formula can work. Unfortunately, HTC hasn’t divulged any cost details just yet. It has said that the One Mini 2 will release across Asia and EMEA sometime in June, though, so expect more info to arrive soon. No US launch plans have been provided just yet.