Other tweaks include the aforementioned keyboard that includes a clever soft-cursor-key option, which makes it much easier to move the cursor through small text than trying to pin-point the location with your finger – especially as this phone doesn’t have the zoom feature that the iPhone possesses. The vast majority of menu options and settings have also been made finger-friendly. So whereas the standard Windows Phone Date/Time setting screen requires you to pin-point a series of tiny tick boxes the HD mini presents you with large finger-friendly buttons.
HTC has pre-installed Opera and made it the default web browser. This offers good (if not perfect) formatting and scaling so webpages look as they should and are displayed properly even when zoomed in. It also supports tabs (i.e. multiple pages open at once) and you can customise what content it does and doesn’t display, both of which are things you can’t do on Internet Explorer – it’s also faster as well.
The HD mini also features HTC’s Footprints app, which brings together GPS information, audio files, text notes, and images to create a single memory for an event. It doesn’t hook up with any other social networking service or such like but does make it really easy to relive fun times with friends and family.
(centre)”’The above shots are of the Toshiba TG01, which uses a standard Windows Phone installation”’(/centre)
All these interface tweaks are useful, but it’s the speed of the HD mini that is really striking. Flipping through all those homescreen tabs, scrolling round a webpage, flicking through photos, it all happens near instantly and as a consequence it makes this phone very nice to use. This is all despite a fairly modest 600MHz Qualcomm processor and 384MB of RAM – the biggest and best phones are now running 1GHz processors with 500MB+ of RAM.
However, while performance is great to start with, if you load up the phone with too many apps simultaneously it does come to a spectacular grinding halt, resulting in it taking several seconds just to open the programs menu when previously it was near instant. Once you close a few background tasks performance ramps right back up again, though.
One app that benefits greatly from all this speed is the camera. It doesn’t have quite the level of adjustability of, say, the HTC Desire but it has a clear, fast, and easy to use touchscreen menu. Like many touchscreen phones you can also touch the screen to point out the object you’d like to focus on and adjust exposure for – tap your finger and it merely sets the shot up, hold it down and it will take the photo when you release your finger. Shutter lag is minimal and shot to shot time is excellent.