Although all eyes are on the big flagship Android phones, a more interesting battle is set to kick off a little further down the pricing scale. The HTC One Mini vs Galaxy S4 Mini will test Samsung’s resolve as current market leader and determine whether these rival ranges are going to endure or disappear.
While there is little doubt that the One Mini and Galaxy S4 Mini will be two of the best budget smartphones for 2013, consumers who are looking to upgrade this year will need to pick one or the other to satisfy their mobile cravings. So which of these modestly priced Android smartphones is worthy of your investment? The gloves are off as the HTC One Mini and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini prepare to meet in combat.
Bear in mind that at the time of writing only the Galaxy S4 Mini has actually been officially announced, so it is being compared with the rumoured specifications and features of the One Mini, also known as the HTC M4.
Design & Screen
The S4 Mini follows in the footsteps of its bigger brother, using a polycarbon chassis which is thin, light and endowed with pleasing curves. Up front is a 4.3 inch screen with a qHD display, which means it has a resolution of 960×540.
Leaked images of the HTC One Mini/M4 suggest that it will look very similar to the One, albeit with a little bit more plastic on the outside than its full metal counterpart. There is a 4.3 inch screen up front, matching the S4 Mini in terms of surface area but exceeding it in clarity and crispness thanks to an alleged 720p HD resolution, or 1280×720 for those who prefer to see exact pixel counts. This could help to give the edge to the One Mini for those who like watching lots of HD content, although the S4 Mini is hardly a slouch in the screen department because it uses a Super AMOLED panel rather than the older S-LCD tech that HTC will probably opt to harness. Personal user preference will play its part in formulating your decision at this point.
Samsung gives you a decent amount of processing oomph thanks to the 1.7GHz dual core chip and 1.5GB allocation of RAM found within the S4 Mini. Coupled with 8GB of storage space, it is an appropriately powered device for its price point that should run Android smoothly.
The One Mini is likely to be in a very similar category, although with a reported 2GB of RAM to back up its dual core processor, along with 16GB of storage as standard, it might go that extra mile to convince users that they should pick HTC. The One Mini has the added advantage of using Beats Audio technology and it should also come with twin front-facing speakers to give it stereo playback capabilities. Samsung is not quite as obsessed with appealing to music fans, but the S4 Mini does have Group Play on board, which means if you get a few mates together you can synch sound playback between your phones.
Software & User Interface
Both devices run Android Jelly Bean, although of course each company has its own user interface sitting on top of Google’s underlying platform to help differentiate the handsets. It is a secondary battle of TouchWiz vs Sense, with Samsung developing the former while the latter is the responsibility of the wizards at HTC.
TouchWiz is an aesthetically appealing and technically mature interface which brings the best of Android to the forefront of the S4 Mini features. Services like the Samsung Hub allow you to access all your media content in one place, while the highly customisable homescreens let you add widgets and shortcuts to get quick access to your most commonly used services.
Sense is equally well established, but HTC is not afraid to play around with the look and feel of its interface. BlinkFeed is the biggest new addition and this seems to take its cues from Windows Phone and services like Pinterest. Basically you can use BlinkFeed to collect various apps, services and feeds into a single interface so that you can see the latest info an updates as soon as they arrive. This is another area in which personal taste will matter more than the objective quality of each interface, so you will need to let your own preferences guide your purchasing decision.
The S4 Mini and the HTC One are perhaps at their closest when it comes to connectivity offerings. As well as all the normal options like Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth, both handsets have NFC (near field communications) for contactless payments as well as 4G networking for high speed mobile internet access.
As cheap 4G smartphones it is hard to separate them, so the main thing to celebrate is that more people will be able to use this type of service with the HTC One Mini and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini on the market.