One of the latest trends to hit the technology world is the miniaturisation of flagship devices. We had the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini and Apple iPad mini last year, but now the latest and greatest shrunken devices are with us, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One mini.
Both have 4.3" screens, powerful rear cameras, as well as many of the features you'd find on their bigger brothers. So how do they stack up against each other?
When it comes to first impressions, the HTC certainly looks better than the Samsung, with its curvy metal body and speakers at the top and bottom of the phone (the BoomSound™ stereo speakers). The fact that the One mini's body has been crafted out of a single block of aluminium also means it feels a more sturdy and slightly more high quality device.
The S4 Mini on the other hand has been made out of durable polycarbonate. It still feels fairly sturdy but doesn't quite have the premium look and feel of its rival. The material choice does mean the S4 Mini is lighter and slimmer than the One mini – so we should also say it's the more mini device.
Switching the devices on gives you two 4.3" screens, identical in size but completely different in every other way. The S4 Mini uses a Super AMOLED display that gives incredibly dark blacks, vibrant colours and uses little power, making for a better battery life when the screen is on, such as when you're watching a video. The One mini is armed with a Super LCD2 screen that gives very natural colours.
The big advantage in screen quality is with the HTC as it has a 720p resolution, compared to the S4 Mini's 540p. This means it packs in 342 pixels per inch (PPI) compared to the Samsung's 256 PPI, a measure that shows a massive 33% difference in screen sharpness that makes the HTC better for high definition content, web browsing, reading and so on.
Behind the screens of these mighty miniatures is the high-end hardware that sets them apart. Both pack powerful Snapdragon 400 processors, although the S4 Mini runs faster at 1.7GHz, compared to the One mini's 1.4GHz. The faster speed means the S4 Mini is the smoother device, and makes it more suitable to gaming, running more complex apps, and opening multiple apps at once.
Despite the fast processors both phones have impressive battery life. Samsung's 1,900mAh battery is good for up to 12 hours talk time, while HTC's 1,800mAh battery gives up to 13 hours 20 minutes talk time.
HTC has also managed to find space for 16GB of internal memory. The Samsung only has 8GB inbuilt storage but it does have the advantage of supporting the largest microSD cards available, 64GB, giving you a massive amount of storage for movies, music and files.
Design and specification is a tit for tat battle between these two phones. The thing that makes the biggest difference when you're using them is the software. Both come with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, a strong foundation.
The One mini then offers Sense 5, a skin that HTC puts over the Android software to improve the look of the menus and the feel of the software. It also has its own features, such as BlinkFeed™, an extra homescreen that automatically updates with customised news stories, sports scores and updates from your social media accounts.
The S4 Mini's software is customised with TouchWiz. This comes with its own extensive list of features such as S Voice for voice commands, S Translator for offline language translations, and S Health, an app that tracks your health and fitness.
HTC Sense 5 and Samsung TouchWiz also offer some useful camera options. The S4 Mini's camera app comes with 10 pre-set shooting modes that will help you quickly find the right mode for different scenarios.
The One mini has the same host of shooting modes but also has some cool extra features thanks to a mode called HTC Zoe™. This extra software lets you edit moving objects out of your photos, combine a series of shots into one image to capture motion and create highlight videos of events. Zoe™ also turns your gallery into a living, breathing catalogue of memories, displaying slideshows of your photos and even playing back highlight reels as you scroll through your content.
The HTC One mini has the same UltraPixel camera as the full sized HTC One. This means that each pixel is around 3 times the size of a regular pixel and lets in 300% more light, so while it's only 4MP, picture quality is very good, although fine details can be less clear when the image is blown up. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini on the other hand has a standard 8MP snapper, letting you see more detail when you zoom into your pictures.
So, based on hardware, you'll get better shots from the HTC and it offers the extra camera features. But if you want finer details to print large versions of your pictures, the Samsung would give less pixilation.
With a better build quality, sharper screen and cracking camera the HTC One mini is arguably the better phone for everyday use. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini has a better user experience, is the lighter device and its excellent, fast hardware and vibrant screen make it great for gaming and more demanding apps.
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