Images from the camera suffer no obvious lens distortion or chromatic aberration, and have strong accurate colours so they look great on the camera and are good enough when resized for typical web-use. Inevitably if you look more closely, images are clearly noisy and lacking in detail but it’s to be expected on a phone camera.
Video is also available and you can shoot up to a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels at a framerate of 25fps. As with still images footage recorded in good lighting displays good colour saturation for a phone camera with and you get a generally watchable result but it’s certainly not going to replace your HD handycam. Both modes really could do with an LED for use in the dark though.
Making calls on the HD mini shows up few deficiencies though the loud speaker is distinctly trebly making it difficult to hear voices clearly in conference calls and making it useless for listening to music. On the other hand, battery life seemed mightily impressive. Despite fairly heavy usage, we comfortably got three days out of this phone.
So we come to the ultimate question of whether this phone is worth buying and it’s a difficult one to call. In terms of form factor, we absolutely love it, it’s slightly smaller size makes it easier to handle than the likes of the iPhone and HTC Desire yet its screen is large enough to use comfortably and its touch-sensing abilities are superb. On top of this, the UI changes that HTC has made almost completely eliminate all our complaints about Windows Phone 6.5.
On the other hand, for all the improvements HTC has made there are still occasions where the coherence of the interface falls down and you find yourself scratching your head. Also, because the whole homepage is custom made, it limits your ability to customise it. What’s more, we still can’t escape the feeling that some of Windows Phone’s inherent poor usability issues will rear their ugly heads with prolonged use. Also, with Windows Phone 7 just around the corner, this phone will be completely deprecated in a few months time and given that buying a modern smartphone is as much about buying into the infrastructure as the device itself this would be a short-sighted decision. Ultimately, as we said when we saw the HTC HD2, we want this hardware but with Android instead of Windows Phone.
For those of you that want the quality and features of a top-end smartphone but want a slightly smaller device, the HTC HD mini is the only real option. As such, we think it’s well worth a look if size really is that important to you. However, if you can possibly cope with a bigger phone, there are definitely better options out there.