HTC HD mini review: Smart pup
Apps and stuff
The HTC HD mini comes with plenty of preloaded applications: an MP3 Trimmer, HTC Peep, Facebook, Wi-Fi Router, World Card Mobile, a YouTube application and a Streaming Media manager.
The file manager on the HD mini is the standard Windows Mobile one and won't surprise anyone – it has the full functionality you need. The phone offers a small amount of user available storage - about 160MB available to the user. This is barely sufficient and you'll definitely find yourself needing a microSD card.
The Streaming Media manager allows access to custom sources of streaming audio and video.
The Facebook and Peep are the official mobile apps for accessing the popular social networks of Facebook and Twitter. You can do almost everything with them - change status, write posts, upload photos or organize albums, stay connected to your friends and all that stuff.
As we mentioned before, there is complete Facebook integration with the new phonebook. When you link a Facebook profile to a contact you can view its status message, updates and online albums directly in the Contact manager.
HTC Peep works directly in the Twitter tab, so you won't need to run it from the Start menu.
The Wi-Fi router allows you to share your HSPA connection to other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as a mobile computer.
WorldCard Mobile is a business card scanner. You can capture cards, and then edit or save them.
HTC HD mini also ships with the MP3 Trimmer app. It allows you to crop MP3 tracks to make your own ringtones. Another goodie is the Remote Desktop Mobile client. It allows you to connect remotely to any PC.
Another thing that has become a part of the HTC experience is the well-known Teeter game. The game is simple - by tilting the phone, you must guide a ball through various mazes avoiding trap holes along the way. The other game that came with the HD mini is the classic timewaster, Solitaire.
The YouTube application is here again. It offers a fluid, excellent looking interface - shinier than even the iPhone's.
Windows Mobile has a Marketplace too, needs cheaper apps
The HTC HD mini comes with the Microsoft Marketplace (it’s not preinstalled, but installs the first time you run it). It’s simple to use and should be the first place you check when you need an app, but it’s not as good as the iPhone and Android stores.
The interface is pretty straightforward - it gives you shortcuts to the most popular applications, the most recent ones and category view. There is of course a search box too to make things easier.
For each app in the Marketplace there are user reviews, screenshots and, as usual, individual ratings.
The number of apps has grown significantly since Marketplace launched – we counted 688. Nowhere near App Store or Android Market numbers. There are free apps but they’re rare – most apps cost 1 or 2 US dollars but there are $10 and even $30 ones.
Embedded GPS, CoPilot Live 8 trial to whet your appetite
The HTC HD mini features a built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support. It means you can download current satellite data over Wi-Fi, the 2G/3G network or via ActiveSync for a much faster satellite lock. It can be done in seconds thanks to a handy tool in the settings menu.
The HD mini comes with a trial version of CoPilot Live 8 and the free Google Maps. The 3.2” screen of the HD mini is good enough for navigation, but its no match for dedicated SatNav units or the HD2. Anyway, you have 15 days to test the CoPilot Live and decide if the HD mini can do the full-time job of an in-car SatNav unit.
The good thing about CoPilot Live 8 is that it allows you to download the whole map for your region so you don't need to download it over the wireless network on the go. Maps are downloaded on the memory card, so the limited internal storage is not a problem.
The chip sensitivity of the HTC HD mini is reasonable but not great – after downloading A-GPS data, it took about 40 seconds to get a lock. Both CoPilot 8 and Google Maps have multi-touch support, while the double tap works only in the Gmaps.
The HTC HD mini comes with Google Maps 3.3.1, which adds digital compass support, but the mini doesn’t have one, so you can’t use that feature. Gmaps can also plan routes, but it doesn’t have voice commands. It is also completely reliable on Google’s servers for map data, so you’d need a data plan – you can’t preload the data.