HTC HD mini review: Smart pup

GSMArena team, 23 April 2010.
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5MP snapper needs further tweaking

The HTC HD mini has a 5 megapixel auto focus camera producing photos with a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. It’s left bare without a flash. The camera offers an intuitive user interface and shoots in landscape mode.

It lacks a dedicated camera key, but autofocus is handled the iPhone way – it automatically refocuses whenever you move the device. Once focus is locked, you can take the picture by pressing the virtual capture button. There is touch-focus too.

Depending on the settings, the viewfinder is cropped to full the entire screen or there’s a black strip on the right. The second option has its advantages – you can see the entire scene and the black strip is where the two constantly visible controls are (they can’t be hidden).

In terms of camera features, the HTC HD mini has the usual and offers the standard self-timer, white balance presets, ISO settings (up to ISO800), effects and a viewfinder gridline.

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The HTC HD mini camera options

You can shoot geo-tagged photos too, thanks to the GPS Photo mode.

The HD mini doesn’t have a dedicated macro mode, but most times it manages to focus in close-ups. Some photos come out well, others are out of focus, but there’s nothing that can be done about it – except maybe forcing it to refocus (by moving the phone) and taking another shot, just in case.

The image quality is somewhat disappointing – the photos have OK detail levels and colors are fine, though on the dull side. But the contrast definitely could have been higher and for some reason the HD mini underexposes all photos.

Using an image editing program, you can brighten up dark areas (some of which are so dark that you can’t make out anything), but nothing can bring back all the lost detail in the shadows.

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HTC HD mini HTC HD mini HTC HD mini
HTC HD mini camera samples

Synthetic resolution

We also snapped our resolution chart with the HTC HD mini. You can check out what that test is all about here.

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HTC HD mini resolution chart photo • 100% crops

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HTC HD2 resolution chart photo • 100% crops

As you can see, there’s a hint of a pink spot, but nowhere near as eye-poking as it used to be on the HD2 (they patched that).

Poor video recording

The video capturing capabilities of the HTC HD mini are unimpressive – they max out at CIF@25 frames. The bitrate of the videos is low, which leaves more compression artifacts than details. Switching between H.264 and MPEG-4 in the settings menu didn’t improve the situation.

Update 26 Apr: It turns out that the HD mini is capable of recording VGA videos @ 30fps, but only when the MPEG4 codec is selected. Unfortunately there's not too great of improvement in the overall quality as compression is still excessive and neither contrast nor color rendering is impressive.

Here goes the new sample video captured in VGA resolution.

The interface of the camcorder resembles that of the still camera. You can only adjust the white balance, resolution, brightness and finally add some color effects.

HTC HD mini
Camcorder interface

Connectivity to match the HD2

When it comes to connectivity the HTC HD mini is an equal to the HD2 - HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 2Mbps, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth + EDR. Wi-Fi support is limited to b/g, which is something to consider if you use the n standard at home.

The HD mini has quad-band GSM support and dual-band 3G - 900 and 2100 MHz bands are supported (that is Europe and the like - you’re welcome to check out our Worldwide GSM Network Bands distribution database).

USB 2.0 connections are supported as well, through a microUSB port rather than ExtUSB, which is featured on most HTC phones. When connected to a computer, the HD mini prompts you to select among ActiveSync, Mass Storage or Modem mode.

The 3.5mm audio jack for the audio purists is also onboard.

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