Has the Moto G ruined it for "mini" flagships?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: February 9, 2014

Along with all of the flagships that are planned to come out this year, we also get to look forward to seeing their "mini me" appear right along side them. The question on whether some flagships are getting too big has essentially become a non-issue now that several flagships have started coming out with smaller, less spec-heavy models that generally are also accompanied by a somewhat cheaper price tag. However, after the release of the Moto G, which was a mid-range and cheap (and I mean cheap) alternative to the Moto X, I have to wonder whether the "Mini" devices that come out this year will be able to compare to what the Moto G had to offer.

Mini phones aren't bad ideas, depending on how a manufacturer goes about making them. I had issues with the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini, which was more like a Samsung Galaxy S II Mini than anything. While the Galaxy S4 Mini proved to be a little closer in my opinion, it was still less worthy of sharing the S4 name and was more like a Galaxy S III. Then HTC does something similar with their One flagship by making the HTC One Mini, a phone which I think resembled the HTC One remarkably well in performance and looks. However, if you're a spec addict then you've probably noticed that other manufacturers like Sony have been able to pull off the whole shebang a lot better than most manufacturers can (Sony Xperia Z1 Compact). And, judging by the looks of the new M8 Mini spec leak from @evleaks, it looks like HTC might be downplaying the specs again this year.

The phone doesn't look bad by any means, but there are certain specs that make it look like it's following closely with what the original M7 had to offer rather than the what the M8 will likely offer, save for a higher megapixel camera (which doesn't necessarily mean it takes better photos) and the inclusion of a microSD card slot (which is a good thing). While that's not to say the performance of the M8 Mini won't be good, if HTC prices this mini similarly to the HTC One Mini, will the phone be convincing enough for a purchase considering what the Moto G has done to the market at this point? Can any mini model compare to the Moto G at this point?

I have long been a supporter of making the mini flagships as close to its flagship as it possibly can. Big screens certainly make more room for good specs, but we've seen that it is possible to fit most of the same specs within a smaller space thanks to Sony. And it's not necessarily that flagships need bigger screens to get better, but moreso that people seem to want bigger screens in their flagships smartphones year after year. However, if a Mini can't resemble its flagship then it should at least the other benefit of being a Mini, and that's being as cheap as can be while still making some resemblance to the flagship. For the most part, though, Minis have been a real miss in my opinion.

I'm thinking with such a huge focus on the Moto G that Minis better step it up, or they're really not going to sell well. The HTC One Mini, as it currently stands, sells for $380.00 without a contract. When compared to the Moto G, the HTC One Mini goes head-to-head with it in a lot different ways - that is to say, the HTC One Mini is better in some ways, and likewise the Moto G is better than the HTC One Mini in many ways as well. The biggest difference is that the Moto G costs significantly less at $179, and for just a few compromises between it and the HTC One it isn't really a hard decision on which one gets you more for the money. 

If the mini flagship phones have all, or nearly all, of the same specs as its larger counterpart and only costs a little less due to the fact that it is smaller, I would consider that an understandable purchase (as you're likely sacrificing some battery life for the smaller screen as well); however, if specs are going to be significantly reduced there is no reason anymore to really put that much money towards a phone when you can virtually get the same thing for a lot cheaper. With Motorola being sold to Lenovo, however, I suppose that would give us reason to wonder if they will still be able to keep up with what they've been doing without Google. Regardless, we know that a cheap mid-range device is plausible; at this point it seems that most of the Mini models get their high price solely from sharing the same name as their flagship counterparts. 

Readers, what are your thoughts about Mini models? Now that the Moto G has come out, do you think the Mini models will have to try harder to be competitive with consumer expectations? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image via CNet