Our Score


User Score


  • Superb viewing angles
  • Striking speed
  • Excellent touch-sense


  • Earphones lack noise isolation
  • Disappointing loud speaker
  • Older version of Windows

Review Price £307.00

Key Features: Windows Phone 6.5; 5-megapixel camera; 3.2in screen; 384MB of RAM ; 600MHz Qualcomm processor

Manufacturer: HTC

We've often said that despite all their advantages, large touchscreen phones like the iPhone 3GS, HTC Desire, or HTC HD2 are just a little too big. Were there a phone that could offer the same usability and features but in a slightly more manageable size then we'd be beating down doors to get to it. Some have come close like the HTC Tattoo, Palm Pre, or HTC Legend but none have quite found the right balance. Enter the HTC HD mini, a touchscreen phone with a 3.2in screen, great build quality, and generally compact design. With it using the generally non-finger-friendly Windows Phone 6.5 operating system, can it possibly jump to the top of our pick of small touchscreen phones? Let's find out.

As we've come to expect from HTC, the HD mini is beautifully turned out. Sure, it doesn't quite have the minimalist chic of the iPhone and we're definitely not sure about the strange 'three-point star' bolts on the back, but overall it looks classy and has a sense of understated quality. This is an impression reinforced when holding the device as its glass front and tightly fitted plastic back feels solid and very well put together. It also has a reassuring weight to it that belies its modest dimensions (104 x 58 x 12mm), though at 110g it's not actually all that heavy.

Understated and functional the outside maybe, but remove the backplate and along with slots for the SIM and microSD cards you're met with an intriguing spectacle – the insides are yellow. Along with the exposed bolt heads, HTC thinks it adds a bit of intrigue and flair to the device and we're inclined to agree. In fact, we love it! Of course, it is entirely pointless unless you make a habit of taking your phone apart in front of friends but sometimes there doesn't have to be a point to something to make one smile.

Putting the mini back together - a pleasingly simple operation compared to forcing on the flimsy backplates of some phones - and looking at the rest of the hardware, there's a power/screen-lock button and headphone jack on the top edge, and a volume rocker switch on the left edge. The bottom is home to a micro-USB data syncing and charging socket, and on the back is a 5-megapixel camera. Thanks to the phone's small size, its power button is far easier to reach than the HTC Desire's. Conversely the camera doesn't have a flash of any sort, which is very disappointing in this day and age.

The 3.2in screen is incorporated into the single piece of glass that adorns the HD mini's front. While this may not sound much smaller than the 3.5in screen of the iPhone, in practice it feels markedly smaller - around 5mm less in width and height. In general use, this doesn't feel at all restrictive but on other phones we've used, with screens of this size, the onscreen keyboards have felt cramped and more difficult to use. However, we had no such problems here and in fact found the onscreen keyboard to be excellent – a real testament to how much work HTC has put into customising the standard Windows Phone interface. Something that helps greatly in this regard is the screen's support of multi-touch, which also means you can perform the much loved pinch-to-zoom gesture in the web browser and while viewing photos.

To view, the screen is about as good as we've seen. It's bright with strong saturated colours and with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, it can pack in plenty of detail. Moreover, despite using only LCD rather than OLED technology, it has superb viewing angles and very impressive black levels making it great for the shared viewing of a video clips.

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April 15, 2010, 4:56 pm

So this is the successor to the HTC Diamond? Glad its reviewed so well and that HTC realise that not everyone wants a massive slab for a phone. Shame there isnt an Android version or an LED flash.

Id also like to see a version with a slide out keypad. At the end of the day, all the extra fuinctionality of internet connection ect is great, but it is a phone and you just can't text one handed as fast on a touchscreen phone than you can with a hardware keypad. Perhaps HTC will remake the HTC Dual?


April 15, 2010, 5:50 pm

What is it with this sudden desire for Android? My G1 was so pants that I went back to the TytnII I had before it. No voicedialling FFS... useless. I'm sorry if I bang on about this every time I see a 'wish it was Android' comment but a) there are too many Android phones and not enough Windows Mobile phones coming out at the moment and b) Google are getting a really easy time of it with Android as it's just not up to spec. And it doesn't have voicedialling.

I see the attraction and really want Google to succeed vs MS and Apple, but if they get too much support whilst it's still not up to scratch they will reduce the effort they are putting into it.


April 15, 2010, 6:35 pm

There is sort of an Android version of it - the HTC Legend.


April 15, 2010, 6:39 pm

This HTC HD Mini is way better than I thought it'd be! Really smooth animations and all. I guess the lower resolution and the slightly better cpu really help in that aspect.

@MarioM - Well, in Androids defense, it has come a long way since the days of the G1. I tried 2.01 and 2.1 on my HTC HD and it was a fairly smooth experience (being a port and having an old cpu are to blame for the occasional slow down). I don't know about voice-dialing because I simply don't use it.

That being said, it's not better than WinMo (with sense), just different. What's missing on WinMo is a decent marketplace with more apps, in my opinion.


April 15, 2010, 7:17 pm

Waiting for the windows phone 7 version of this this (assuming they can cram a 1GHZ snapdragon and 500mb+ of ram). Really wish this had say 16GB internal memory.


April 15, 2010, 8:06 pm

I have a problem with this line " with Windows Phone 7 just around the corner, this phone will be completely deprecated in a few months time".

Considering how radically different WP7 is, I don't really think you can say it'll "replace" 6.5 in any way. If anything, I see a lot of people sticking with 6.5 for several reasons, not least: Cut&Paste, Multitasking and -last but not least- sticking with their favourite apps which they've been using on WM phones for years.

@Stelph: I can't quite fathom how the conclusion that this is a successor to the Diamond could be reached. Basically, it's a Mini HD (fancy that) and that's as far as any conclusions of any kind can be drawn. Sorry, that may have sounded a bit pedantic, but the statement baffled me.

@mesaboogie: Actually, I agree with MarioM, Android has actually NOT come a long way at all this past year and I'm so aggravated at them for NOT moving along at any kind of reasonable pace that my blood's starting to boil whenever someone enthusiastically recommends an Android phone. The Nexus One's more underwhelming than Apple sticking that camera on the Nano.

Right, I think that's everyone offended. Off I go.

P.S. the HD Mini is quite cute indeed, and I too love the yellow insides.

Martin Daler

April 15, 2010, 8:55 pm

@drdark et al.

"I too love the yellow insides" - there is something very cryptic about appreciating a device for the colour of a part you can't see! If this catches on, perhaps we'll be able to order devices with different colours inside their chips or such like, and subcultures will grow up devoted to the various different un-seeable colour schemes! Very Zen.


April 15, 2010, 9:10 pm

@MarioM - I just prefer android over windows mobile, its just a personal preference really, hence why I said it. In addition I prefer symbian over both (mostly because I prefer the hardware to be honest, good old nokia!)

@WyWyWy and DrDark - Ive just realised why my comments on the HTC Diamond didnt make sense, the Diamond had a 2.8" screen rather than a 3.2" screen! I had HTC Diamond and actually got on fine with the size of the screen so ive been hoping they would bring out a refreshed version. But since then every phone has had a larger screen than that so I had lost all hope, and then got overexcited with the "mini" monica so I had mistakenly thought this was going back to HTC Diamond size. No such luck it seems :-(


April 15, 2010, 9:33 pm

@Stelph: While the Diamond's screen was a brilliant resolution at the time and a very bright screen compared to models just a year older, it hasn't exactly aged well. Also the battery's abysmal. Come to think of it, the Tattoo might be a good alternative as it's really excellent value ,but again typing becomes cramped. I think most manufacturers figured out touchtyping isn't really comfortable on anything under 3.2" and ideally 3.5".

I can't stand Android because the "no way to shutdown running programs" stance is still just too ridiculous in my mind. I know there are now apps which can do it. Also the settings menus are too confusing, and it's not possible to get to the gmail account settings properly without fully resetting the phone.

It might grow on me if I spent considerable time with it, but to be honest, even my first impressions of Maemo (N900) were much more favourable (needs more updates now though; am starting to lose interest).

Overall though, I still love My E71's S60 above all others. Doubt even the mythical iPhone 4G could tear me away.

@Martin: Oh I have seen it though ;). Would sellotape the battery in an carry it around like that if I could...


April 16, 2010, 1:55 am


Don't understand the comment about not being able to shut down running apps on android - you just go into settings->manage applications select the app and then select "force stop"

Or am I missing something ?


April 16, 2010, 6:35 am


I'm not sure which Android phones you're using but getting to Gmail account settings is a simply a matter of going to settings and choosing accounts. From there you can select/deselect what you want to sync, remove the account or add another. What else are you trying to do?

I think Android has improved massively over the nine months I've used it and as someone who's had 6 Windows Mobile phones IMHO it doesn't come close.


April 16, 2010, 5:12 pm

@MarioM Having had a TYTN and then a Touch Dual, both of which i flashed with a vanilla ROM i am finding Android to be a dream come true. I guess it all boils down from what you want, i wasn't an enterprise user, so for me WM legacy apps and stuff didn't hold be back from switching.


April 16, 2010, 5:54 pm

@Castalan: Ok, no way to do it "easily" then. Heck, Apple's Mobile OS 4 will even have a simpler way.

@rav: Haven't looked recently, but was this added in a recent firmware update? Because when I was confuddled by it and searched online, advice on forums seems to be to Factory Reset the phone. (Oh, and I'm not talking about just Email accounts, I mean the master Google Account for the whole phone, that which it using for the Marketplace, etc.)

Also, sorry for coming on strongly, and Android /has/ improved, I just don't see the improvements being as "massive" as some. It's "unimpressed" me, if you will.

I still want to see some proper Android-powered competition to the iPad though.


April 16, 2010, 8:26 pm


Seemed pretty easy to me - but to be honest I rarely do it - just twidroid needs a kick in the nuts from time to time

As for android powered competition to the ipad - I like the idea of a tablet device for consuming media - and I like the idea that once the other manufacturers get cracking with their offerings the price of these devices will descend faster than a 747 flying through a cloud of ash - so I'll be waiting until the end of the year before buying anything.

Hopefully by then I'll spend less and have a real choice


April 16, 2010, 8:59 pm


It's new in 2.1. There a nice UI to control all accounts. Not just Google one's but also others. E.g. Facebook, Flickr,, Twitter. You can select exactly what you want to Sync and the frequency. It did used to be how you said.

This goes back to MarioM was saying. Android definitely was lacking but Google have been quite good at making improvements. The G1 didn't even have an onscreen keyboard and the Blueooth functionality on my Hero was very lacking. But with 2.1 it's getting to a point where most things are sorted. It's by no means perfect but the blanks are being filled in.

It's a bit similar to the iPhone OS4 situation. It looks like the platforms are all reaching maturity and there will be less and less major improvements. I do agree that the iPhone's handling of app closing is nice and elegant. I would love to see Google add something similar in the pull down notifiation screen. Sayin that though, Jobs was quoted as saying if the user sees a task manger they've failed!


April 16, 2010, 11:44 pm

@ravmania- Sorry to hijack this thread, but this kinda dovetails from what you're saying. Does the Desire address all of the Hero's more esoteric faults?

Does it still inexplicably slow down after you've had it running for a couple days?

Do you still need TasKiller to keep it running smoothly?

Is it immediately responsive when coming out of lock?

Does the phone start ringing immediately as someone calls, or still only on the 4th or 5th ring?

Can you send contacts to any device via Bluetooth?

Is beebPlayer usable, or even vanilla iPlayer?

I ask because these are the kind of faults that might annoy a long-term user, but are rarely mentioned in reviews. Fixing these faults would be a huge improvement.

Oh, and I too love the yellow insides of the HD Mini. You know it's there, but no-one can see it. It's like red socks or frilly lingerie for phones :)


April 17, 2010, 1:48 am

I love the tiny size of the Diamond/Compact4 - was hoping after all this time that HTC would have brought out a model that genuinely improved upon it ..... but (so far) it hasn't!

This device is bigger in size, has an average cpu, a lower res screen, no 2nd camera and still no flash or dedicated camera hard key!


April 18, 2010, 8:39 am


I haven't had any sort of slowdown issues with it. I've tried to overload it with multi tasking apps but it really doesn't miss a beat. It's always fast and responsive.

Testing the calling and it does starts ringing just about instantly. There is a split second delay between the first ring on the dialling phone and the Desire ringing.

Bluetooth is pretty complete now. You can send contacts and files via bluetooth. There's also a nice live folder for received files.

BeebPlayer works fine although it doesn't look as good as on the Hero due to it being too low res for the screen. Tried accessing the iPlayer website and for some reason it accesses the full site instead of the mobile one. When you click on a video it actually brings up BeebPlayer to play it. Video doesn't work when trying to use the full site and I don't know the URL for the mobile one to test it.


April 19, 2010, 6:58 am

The only thing this review is missing is the quality of music playback. How does it compare to the iPod, SonyEricsson or even Sony Walkmans?


April 19, 2010, 10:50 am


Much appreciated, cheers. Sounds like my ideal phone :)

I've tried accessing iPlayer on my Hero and I get the full version as well. It seems the Beeb only loves iPhones...


April 19, 2010, 2:14 pm

@rav: Thanks for the info. I thought HTC mentioned Flash10 when they revealed the Desire? Come to think of it, Adobe showed it on the N900 last year and it's failed to materialise... ugh, lazy companies.

Or are we just too impatient? :P

Tariq Pugh

April 20, 2010, 2:34 pm

I've just left my Compact IV (i.e. Diamond) for the Desire, and whilst it's clearly a superior beast, a small part of me misses the familiarity of WM. I know I'll be able get Android to look and act exactly as I want, but it'll take weeks!

Does anyone know a good site which reviews Android apps? And can I download new keyboards, as I really miss having a row of numbers?

As for the yellow insides of the Mini HD (back on topic), I love it! It reminds me of the linings of Saville Row suits, it's all about attention to detail.


April 23, 2010, 3:08 am

how about the diamond 2. its about the size of the diamond 1 but has a 3,2'' screen


November 12, 2010, 5:49 am

This is the worst. I bought it in Germany for 360 Euro (around 490USD), well,

a complete rip off. Here's why it is a piece of crap:

1- You can not change the language (the thing which any cheap mobile phone does)

2- Battery life is a day (2 at the most with no wifi, BT or GPS)

3- Not compatible with some applications like Navigon software

4- The max ring volume can hardly be heard if inside a pocket

5- The audio quality is bad

6- No way to make a complete back up on a hard drive

7- One application hangs and the whole device crashes (indeed windows)


November 19, 2010, 9:22 pm

Finikity horizontal keyboard

Skype barely works

No iplayer

No to do list

Otherwise not a bad phone, think I will send it back.

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