Small enough to fit the hand comfortably, the HD Mini is a clever combination of a smooth glass front and rubberised back with cool-looking decorative screws.
Windows Mobile 6.5 is the best version so far of a frankly poor operating system. Until the new Windows Phone 7 Series arrives, it's down to phones like this one to make the most of WinMo, which it does with style.
There's a decent 5-megapixel camera (though no flash) and HTC's included a 3.5mm jack, so multimedia capabilities sit comfortably alongside plenty of software features.
It's a very fast phone, the HD Mini, so there's no delay in what it does. It also has a very responsive touchscreen.
Smartphones often have poor battery life, and we'd still recommend daily recharges, but the Mini has great stamina.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/7/2010 5:27:05 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
The HTC HD Mini takes all that we loved about the HTC HD2 and puts it into a smaller form factor.
Though the five-megapixel camera is able enough, the lack of flash is disappointing.
Let's face it, HTC is on a roll. Three outstanding Android phones (Legend, Desire and Google Nexus One) and the best Windows Mobile phone yet (HD2) are just the latest hits. The HTC HD2 was the first handset to make Windows Mobile usable and attractive - shrouding a tricky and awkward system in a tremendously effective interface. So good, you hardly need come across Windows Mobile most of the time. And it was the first WinMo handset with a capacitive touchscreen - the better-looking kind of screen favoured by Apple for its iPhone, for instance. Previously, Windows Mobile phones only had the pressure-sensitive resistive kind of touchscreen as Microsoft hadn't offered native support for capacitive screens. In the HD2 it was HTC's fancy footwork that made this possible.
But the HD2 was big. For some the 4.3-inch screen was the joy, for others it was just too heavy, too pocket-clogging to be comfortable. Here comes the Mini. It still has a capacitive display but while the 3.2in screen is in a handset that feels compact rather than humongous. Like the Legend, build quality is exceptional here, a highly tactile rubberised case covering the back looks great and is offset by visible stainless steel screws - very industrial chic. The front is also stylish - smoothly flat with touch-sensitive icons flush with the display. These virtual buttons start and end calls, and there are home and back buttons plus, inevitably, a Windows key. Touch this and you're taken to the Microsoft list of shortcuts such as Internet Explorer, Home, Microsoft My Phone and more. In fact, some HTC apps feature in this list, too, such as the company's Twitter client, Peep, plus some useful Windows programs like Microsoft My Phone to keep contacts, calendars and more in sync.
Key to the HD2's success was how HTC deployed its excellent Sense software set-up and this is the same. The Sense homescreen stars HTC's signature clock and weather app,
complete with windscreen wipers effect when it's raining, for instance. At the bottom there's a carousel of shortcuts for messages, mail, share prices (hey, this is a business phone!) and more. Sliding between the shortcuts is slick and effective. You can also swipe your finger up the screen. The clock slides offstage and a grid of nine user-configurable shortcut blocks swing into view. Here you can put useful items like internet sharing, to make it easy to connect to the web on your laptop using the phone's 3G connection although, be warned, you quickly find you're in those peskily small-font menus at which Windows Mobile excels.
It's disappointing that there's no flash on the camera. Even though phone camera flashes are rarely useful, they're often better than nothing. Still, it's an able enough 5-megapixel snapper.
When the screen is locked, it shows how many missed calls there have been, along with messages, voicemails and emails. It would be even neater if touching the right part of the screen took you straight to your email mailbox, say, whereas it merely takes you to the home screen and you find your way from there. Mind you, that Sense interface is so cool, you don't mind. Take the email inbox: swipe your finger up and down and shortcut images of emails slide on or off the pile. Another press and you're in the message itself. To compose, you're helped by HTC's excellent and smart virtual keypad with its comforting haptic feedback and excellent error correction.
This is a highly sophisticated and complex phone, but it's always simple to use and highly accessible. It's also a great size. All in all, it's hard to beat.