The HTC One is a pretty brilliant phone. It’s garnered great reviews across the board, and has even won numerous awards. But what if, for you, its glorious 4.7-inch HD display is a little on the large side? Typically, flagship phones come in one size: big. That’s great for some, but not for others, which is why HTC’s just announced the HTC One mini – a 4.3-inch phone that takes everything great about the HTC One, and shrinks it.
We caught up with Graham Wheeler, HTC’s Director of Product Commercialisation, to find out how, why, and what it means for the future of smartphones.
HTC One mini at a glance
“With the HTC One mini, we really wanted to follow the pillars of design and technology that we have in the HTC One,” says Graham. “We didn’t really want to create a different product, we just wanted to extend the family – to keep everything that was great with the HTC One and build on it.”
That’s why, at a glance, the HTC One mini looks almost identical to its bigger brother, save for a few new flourishes. “It’s using the same ‘Zero Gap’ design,” says Graham, “where we integrate the antennas into the metal frame itself. It’s molded out of one sheet of metal just like the One. It has the same dual-frontal speakers, which we call BoomSound.”
In fact, the similarities run right through the One, inside and out, which is why it’s such a unique phone: it’s small, but – as Graham puts it – it’s a “no compromise” device.
“When we launched the HTC One we talked a lot about the camera,” he explains, “because of our unique UltraPixel technology. We’re proud to say that we’re using the same UltraPixel sensor in the HTC One mini, so it offers the same great shots in low-light that you get with the One.
“There’ve been tonnes of engineering hours in making this – in making sure all those parts like the UltraPixel sensor would fit in. We really didn’t want to compromise on any aspect of the design or build of the handset itself. The other thing we have in both phones is the BlinkFeed, which is a home screen that aggregates all your news and content and alerts into one place.”
In fact, it’s probably far quicker for us to list the things that the HTC One and the One mini don’t have in common. The only real difference between the two is in screen size (jumping from 4.7-inch 1080p HD to 4.3-inch 720p HD), and processing grunt, which is still a hardy 1.4GHz dual-core number.
“There’s been a lot of debate at HTC about processing power,” says Graham, addressing this change. “For me, that spec war on processing power is starting to tail off. As long as the experience of using the phone is not hampered in any way, most people won’t notice the difference.”
Why go smaller?
Ok, so the One mini is a very similar beast to the One, but if that’s the case then why have both devices on offer? Because HTC believes that it’s about time we have more of a choice at the top end:
“We don’t really try and pigeon-hole one type of device for one person. There are a lot of people who might not want to go for a 4.7-inch sized display,” Graham tells us, “because a smaller device fits better in some peoples’ hands. There’s a very large percentage of people who are looking for a smaller screen size, and a lot of people are very comfortable in the 4 to 4.5-inch display size.”
Where the One mini differs, though, is in quality. Smaller handsets traditionally downgrade the caliber of the specs and design, but here it’s almost exactly the same experience with both the One and the One mini, which is a bit of an industry first.
“There are a lot of people who might not want to go for a 4.7-inch sized display.”
“We don’t believe one size fits all,” adds Graham. “The One family is our flagship range, and we believe that within a flagship range there’s enough space for a 4.7-inch phone and a no-compromise 4.3-inch one, too. Both HTC One phones are high-end devices, and the HTC One mini is just a flagship phone for people who are looking for a slightly smaller screen.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure that you don’t lose anything in the experiences between the two phones. What we’ve done is expand the market – it’s not a compromise in screen size, it’s adding value by offering all of the same features but at a lower price.
“At HTC we’re focused on making great phones and pride ourselves on innovation,” Graham tells us in closing. “And I think we’re uniquely placed to deliver that kind of innovation.”
It’s coming… The HTC One mini will be landing at Vodafone in August, so stay tuned to Vodafone Social for more information. In the meantime, check out what the web’s tech press thinks of its bigger brother, the HTC One.