I frequently mention in my articles how abysmal the smartphone market looks to somebody like me. You have all of these amazing phones come out every few months, but all of the good ones are going to be, well… pretty big. I'm a fairly busy individual, and I like for my phones to be optimal for one-handed use without having to do the “smartphone shuffle” – when you have to maneuver your whole hand around the phone to get to certain spots on a screen. I get the allure of a larger screen, and I can acknowledge the benefits of having one, but those benefits aren't the ones I need right now. I prefer a smaller screen at this point in time.
For people with needs similar to my own, the smartphone market has slim pickings when it comes to smaller, spec-heavy smartphones. For the most part you have low to mid-range options; however, OEMs occasionally offer “mini” versions of their flagships for people in my same position. Unfortunately, these “minis” are (more often than not) little more than smaller look-a-likes, and have little to do with the actual flagship itself - you know, the thing that makes a flagship a flagship in the first place.
When OEMs make these minis and offer low to mid-range specs with a high price tag, there’s not much reason to get excited. It’s simply a novelty item; a consolation prize that says “Look, I have the same phone as you – but smaller, and with worse performance!” Among all of the minis released over the past couple of years from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC, and Sony, the Sony Xperia Z1 and Z3 Compact series of devices are really the only ones who got it right. These phones managed very little sacrifice made in order to cram all of those high-end specs into a smaller body. We know now that it’s possible, so when other manufacturers come out with the dumbed down look-a-likes it’s a bit disappointing.
When news states that HTC allegedly won’t be making a third generation mini, I was a little disappointed at first – but then I realized that there wasn’t much to lose from it.
According to reports, Jack Tong, HTC’s president of the North Asia region, allegedly stated that the reasoning behind this rumored decision is simply that the market is moving away from smaller-sized phones. While I’m inclined to agree that the demand is not nearly as big, I definitely think there’s still a market for good, mid-sized phones. HTC’s biggest problem with their mini devices is that they’re still a far cry from their doppelgänger flagships. You can’t call it a “mini” if it acts nothing like its big brother, this is an entirely different device. In that regard, if HTC wasn’t able to make the changes that its One mini needs, then they’re better off by not releasing a mini this year at all.
So maybe we’ll have one less sub 5-inch display to choose from this year, but in this particular case I think it’s for the best. In fact, I wouldn’t be upset if every phone manufacturer decided to forego their mini versions until they stop making these watered down abominations.