HTC announces the One Mini: Smaller, cheaper, and not without its compromises

The best Android phone just got a bit smaller.

HTC officially announced the HTC One Mini today, a device that takes the HTC One’s prized design and shrinks it to a smaller, cheaper package. Sort of.

The problem with the HTC One Mini is that it’s not exactly a miniaturized version of HTC’s existing handset. To get the device to a lower price point, HTC made some fairly significant cuts to its hardware: It’s processor, screen resolution, and memory have all been downgraded to varying degrees of magnitude, and the device has also lost the One’s NFC chip, IR blaster, and optical image stabilization.

So while HTC is billing this as a true “mini” version of the HTC One, that’s not really what’s going on here.

Still, the real thing to pay attention to isn’t the hardware but rather whether the hardware changes have a noticeable effect on the phone’s performance.

The One Mini comes at an interesting time for HTC, which just came off a surprisingly promising second quarter. If HTC wants to maintain its momentum, devices like the One Mini are exactly what it needs to deliver.

HTC says the One Mini will launch in select markets next month and globally in August. Expect it to sell for $100 or so.

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