Responding to the call for smaller flagship-caliber smartphones, HTC is today introducing the One mini, a 4.3-inch version of its leading Android handset, the One. The physical design and onboard software remain unchanged, however HTC is aiming to price the One mini "two price points below the HTC One" and making a few downgrades en route to that goal.
Among the tradeoffs you'll have to make with the One mini is a step down to a 1.4GHz dual-core processor (Snapdragon 400), 1GB of RAM, 16GB of non-expandable storage, and the loss of NFC and optical image stabilization for the camera. The One's IR blaster is also gone, however none of these alterations amount to a materially different user experience when the One mini is in your hands. HTC has cut corners, but done so intelligently enough to deliver "exactly the same experience" as on the company's current Android flagship. The premise is that the compromises are only technical, not practical.
My experience with the One mini corroborated HTC's claims, as I found no identifiable difference in performance and fluidity between the quad-core One and its new sibling. Moreover, the 720p Super LCD display on the One mini is just as beautiful and accurate as the 1080p panel on the One — its pixel density is technically lower at 341ppi, but in practice it's indistinguishable.
BoomSound, via a pair of two front-mounted speakers, is recreated faithfully on the One mini, as is the UltraPixel camera sensor. LTE band support with the One mini will also be identical to the original One, though battery capacity is understandably reduced to 1800mAh.
Combining HTC's aim for aggressive pricing with this new thinner and lighter form factor bodes well for the One mini's success. Its ergonomics offer a marked upgrade over the One, allowing for easier and more natural one-handed operation. Specific carriers, in the US or elsewhere, have not yet been announced, however HTC aims to roll out the One mini around the world starting in August. Two colorways will be available at launch, silver and black, and the first countries to get it in Europe will be the "key markets" of Germany and the UK.