Don’t look now but HTC may finally be on its way to turn around the financial misfortunes we all thought were going to get the Taiwanese in the end. Sure, presumably selling 500,000 One M8 units in a little over a month is nothing compared to the 10 million milestone Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is no doubt closing in on, yet believe it or not 500k is actually better than the original One’s box-office form.
An imminent hit, based on the rock-solid word of multiple sources “in the know”, all of which paint the petite handheld the picture of a One M8 in an equally as gorgeous but more affordable package. And what’s not to love about that?
Sure, power users might prefer Sony’s “unapologetic” way to tackle the increasingly competitive niche of the “Minis”, but at the end of the day, budget-conscious folks need a market leader too. Motorola’s Moto G? It’s definitely cheap. Maybe too cheap. As in, it cuts too many corners.
Let’s see exactly what corners the One mini 2 cuts and how likely you are to be able to live with them for the sake of the bigger picture. Remember, the phone is yet to be formally announced or released, so some of the below information may still turn out inaccurate.
Just like big bro, we expect the pint-sized M8 to sport a chassis made of roughly 90 percent aluminum. That’s right, 90. The bezels are still a little on the thick side, but otherwise you really can’t find a more elegant, robust, distinguished mid-ranger.
Now let’s hope HTC opted for a unibody shell with room for a microSD card slot again instead of going back in time. Fingers crossed.
Display rumor roundup
Forget Full HD resolution on smaller than 4.7-inch panels. It’s simply not feasible. Or noticeable with the naked eye. So what’s the next best thing? HD res, exactly. Namely, 1,280 x 720 pixels. On a 4.5 incher, that delivers 326 ppi, which is inferior to the first One mini’s pixel count, but respectable nevertheless.
Super LCD2 or Super LCD3? Probably the latter, though it doesn’t make much of a difference. One mini 2’s screen will be bright, colorful, lively and exquisite in viewing angles. Period.
CPU, RAM and cameras
I won’t sugarcoat it, HTC M8 mini’s rumored on-boardSnapdragon 400 chip sounds underwhelming. Yes, it’s a quad-core and the device’s predecessor came with a dual-core in tow, but 1.4 GHz clock speed? That’s… ew!
Then again, would you have preferred a $600 Snapdragon 800-powered “mid-tier” gadget? No, not you oil barons smiling condescendingly. You normal people, with normal jobs, wages and expenses. Food for thought, eh?
Personally, I’m more bugged with One mini 2’s scanty 1 GB RAM. Alright, alright, I understand compromises were required, yet 1 extra gig of memory wouldn’t have cost that much, boosting the overall system speed considerably.
On the plus side, the two cameras look outstanding on paper. Forget Duo Camera, UltraPixels and other gimmicks. This munchkin bad boy features a straightforward, top-shelf 13 megapixel rear-facing snapper and 5 MP front cam. Time to get rid of that decrepit point-and-shoot and, oh yeah, brace yourselves, the uber-crisp selfies are coming.
Software, battery and others
It’s no secret, KitKat is the flavor of the month and no respected OEM can come out with a half-decent gizmo nowadays running any other Android version but 4.4. Of course, HTC will spice it up with its own Sense 6.0 UI and Blinkfeed homescreen for a software experience virtually identical to that offered by the full-sized M8.
Intriguingly, battery capacity is the sole remaining question mark vis-à-vis the M8 mini, so who knows, maybe we’re in for a great surprise in this department. Nah, the phone looks too skinny in those press renders to accommodate an extra-large juicer. At best, I can see it pack a 2,100 mAh or so cell. Autonomy? My guess is roughly 15 hours in continuous talk time.
Anything else to note? Well, BoomSound front stereo speakers and amplifiers come to mind, plus 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0 and, hopefully, microSD storage expansion. 16 gigs will be standard, a 32 GB flavor is not out of the question and three starting color options – gray, silver and gold – are near certainties.
Release date, pricing and availability rumors
And we’ve finally come to this. The make-or-break element. First things first, price range. Shrewdly kept on the down low by HTC so far, it’s fairly easy to anticipate, albeit putting the finger on an exact number isn’t.
$450 outright? $400? $350? $100 with 24-month contracts? $50? All good guesses, although the gap between $450 and $350 could be the difference between a box-office home run and yet another lemon.
The release date and availability details are equally as important, with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 mini also around the corner. What HTC should target is a late May commercial launch (early June, at worst), and a spread on all four major American carriers, as well as all over the old continent and Asia. It’s really their only shot to stay competitive.