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HTC HD Mini

Jonathan Morris
June 7, 2010

The HTC HD2 is one of the most impressive Windows Mobile phones to enter the market in recent times. The screen is huge and fantastically high resolution, casing is sleek and Windows Phone 6.5 works perfectly with the HTC Sense UI.Now its younger brother has hit the scene and the HTC HD Mini isn’t quite as impressive.

Firstly, the HD2’s best feature – its screen – has been miniaturised to 3.2-inches (compared to the HD2’s massive 4.3-inches), and taken down a notch in the resolution department to 320×480 pixels.

This is mostly down to the HD Mini’s decreased size. It’s also a lot lighter than the HD2, weighing in at 110g.

This does mean it slides into a pocket, unlike the HD2, but the screen size does cause real issues when typing and makes you crave a stylus when using the QWERTY keyboard. It’s too small for any fingers, let alone fully-grown adult digits.

The processor has been downsized too. Gone is the 1GHz Snapdragon number and in comes a Qualcomm 7227 600 MHz processor. It doesn’t make a huge amount of difference when running one or two applications, but when zipping through the application panels we did notice a slight lag.

Other hardware features have changed slightly from the HTC HD2, including the badly placed speaker on the back of the HD Mini. Being on the back of the phone, it blocks out any sound you may want to blast out of the speaker.

However, HTC has opted to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is definitely welcomed.

Sense and sensibility

The HTC HD Mini was somewhat overshadowed by the Desire and Legend at its launch at Mobile World Congress and it’s easy to see why. Although HTC Sense with TouchFLO is onboard, it’s not as advanced as the UI on HTC Android devices.

Instead of the multiple homescreens, there are application panels that showcase some of the HD Mini’s star features, including the People tab that allows you to have shortcuts for all your most used contacts, the HTC Twitter app and the photo library.

The photo and music libraries both use a similar interface – just swipe your finger up and down to move onto the next photos or scroll through the albums in your music player.

At the bottom of the screen is a scroll bar that allows you to switch between the different screens, rather than swiping the whole screen.It’s a really intuitive interface that replaces the native Windows Mobile 6.5 UI well.

There are still the most-liked aspects of the Windows 6.5 UI, including the lock screen that displays missed calls and new messages, but Sense is more suited to consumers than the plain Jane Windows interface.

Taking photos and recording videos is not as intuitive though. With no hardware button to use the shutter, you have to use an onscreen button. It’s really not comfortable to take photos, especially in landscape mode.

What really excels is battery life. We managed to eek out more than enough power to keep going for 24 hours, with push email, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi activated, using a couple of apps and making three or four 10 minute phone calls a day. The reason it’s so good compared to the HTC HD2?

It doesn’t have a massive screen or processor to power.

Verdict

The HTC HD Mini may not be as well-featured as the HTC HD2, but it’s a great device if you want to get your hands on a reliable Windows Mobile 6.5 phone that’s extremely pocket-friendly. The screen isn’t best suited to a virtual QWERTY keyboard or web browsing and it’s not as powerful as the HTC HD2, nor is the HTC Sense UI as well implemented as it is on Android devices. However the impressive battery life does pull this device up from the low-end to a much more respected phone. Overall a good effort for a lower-priced smartphone.

Ratings

PERFORMANCE
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FEATURES
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USABILITY
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