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HTC HD mini - first look

We were right that the HTC Photon was nothing else than a pared-down version of the HD2 after all - hence its codename HTC HD mini, design and general resemblance with the HTC HD2. Let's take a closer look at it.

Design, Materials

The HD mini looks pretty fresh with its ornamental elements and quirky battery cover design that is pretty new as far as HTC's phones are concerned.

It's obvious that the HD mini has taken its design cues from the HTC HD2 - it's got a very similar streamlined casing and a cover glass occupying all of the front plate's real estate, making it look seamless. Even the button setup is identical to that of the HD2, however this time around all buttons are touch-sensitive, as opposed to the HD2's mechanical keys.

If you turn the phone around, you'll see four screw holes, which turn out to be fakes, yet they add a certain bit of charm to the phone's design. The battery cover is a solid piece of matte plastic that slides down effortlessly - as soon as you take it off, you'll see that it's not a couple of screws holding it, but actually several plastic latches.

The HD mini's soft-touch plastic makes it very palm-friendly, plus its extremely svelte - believe it or not, it's no bigger than a credit card, barring the thickness.

Apart from the abovementioned screw holes, there are several other ornamental elements found on the phone, such as faux-metal inserts for the camera lens and earpiece, and a protruding HTC logo on the battery cover. I think HTC's designers have done well at making the HD mini look similar to the HD2, but at the same time it doesn't look boring or overly flashy.

All engineering samples had a slightly loose battery compartment cover, but I believe they'll fix it in retail units. Other than that, there are almost no moving parts found on the HD mini, except from the volume rocker on the left-hand side and the power button on the top edge.


The navigation cluster located beneath the display is composed exclusively of touch-sensitive buttons: Call, End, Home, Start and Back. All in all, it hasn't changed a bit, compared to the HTC HD2.

Housed on the top end of the phone is the standard 3.5 mm audio jack and the power button, while the bottom edge of the HD mini sports the microUSB slot that accepts chargers and data cables.


The HTC HD mini is featured with a 3.2-inch, 480x320 pixel capacitive display, similar to the one found in the HTC Hero. Its response time is fair, plus the HD mini's HTC Sense UI was designed with finger-based navigation in mind. However there are still some moot points. For example, what should I do if I'm already used to finding my way around Windows Mobile with a stylus? The HD mini doesn't come with one, for obvious reasons, and its screen diagonal isn't large enough to ensure seamless usage experience.

Other than that, as far as its display is concerned, the HD mini is a decent performer, plus the transition to capacitive screens is definitely good news, but I still think HTC should at least consider throwing in a stylus into the sales package of such petite phones as the HD mini.

User Interface

The HTC HD mini makes use of the latest version of the HTC Sense for Windows Mobile (that's right - good old TouchFLO 3D with a couple of face-lifts). One thing of note is that the Start button has migrated to its rightful place at the bottom (like in the latest versions of Windows Mobile 6.5 Pro). We'll cover all the changes in the WM version of the UI in a separate article later on.


The phone is built around Qualcomm MSM7227 platform with its CPU running at 600 Mhz. The HD mini packs in 384 Mb of RAM and 512 Mb of storage that can be used for personal data, plus there is a microSD memory card slot. As for the interface speed, it's not much different from the HTC Diamond 2, Touch Pro 2.

Spec-wise, the HD mini is above average, with its low-resolution screen being the only thing that gives away a mid-tier phone in it. Other than that it's got a flagship-esque array of feature: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, 5 MP camera with autofocus, ambient light sensor, motion sensor, proximity sensor and FM-radio.


It's pretty challenging to talk about the HD mini's future, as it's, if not a mixed bag, not something we've come to expect to see from HTC. Usually it's fairly easy to categorize HTC-branded phones by functionality or price. However in the case with the HTC HD mini, only one thing is clear - it definitely will be cheaper than the HD2, meaning that it's not a flagship solution, yet even spec-wise it's a tad less sophisticated than the Diamond 2. At the same time it boasts a more capable platform, new UI version and is more pocket-friendly.

The HTC HD mini is set to hit the shelves in April, and while there is no word on its pricing yet, I believe it'll retail for 600-800 USD without a contract. On balance, it's more or less in one league with the HTC Diamond 2, yet the HD mini is not looking to take its place, nor does it pose a threat to the HTC HD2, despite its codename being derived from the latter.

Artem Lutfullin (artem@mobile-review.com)
Published - 16 February 2010.

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