Spatial Resolution

We'll start by measuring the rear facing camera's ability to resolve fine details by shooting at an ISO12233 test target. For now we'll be looking at horizontal and vertical resolution using the sagittal and tangential lines in the upper right of the center of the test chart:


ISO12233 captured by One mini 2

The One mini 2 should show a clear advantage here compared to the One (M7/8) and original One mini as its 13MP sensor should be able to resolve finer details than any of its predecessors or more expensive siblings.

The gallery below has links to the original chart captures for all of the phones compared in this review:


In the sagittal crop, the One mini 2 doesn't show signs of aliasing until beyond the 14 mark (units of line pairs per image height). By 16 line pairs per image height we see more aliasing and beyond that things get worse. As the camera attempts to resolve finer and finer details it becomes more challenging to properly separate the white and black lines, which is why we get aliasing (swapping of the two colors). The M8 in this case is an absolute mess. There's aliasing beginning just after 10 line pairs per image height, and it's impossible to determine separation between the two lines after the 12 mark.

I think the LG G2 is a great comparison as it can be found at a similar price point to the mini 2 and it also has a 13MP camera sensor. The difference in quality is substantial. On the G2 we don't see aliasing until closer to the 18 marker. Even the Moto X's 10MP camera as well as the iPhone 5c's 8MP camera. As much as the One mini 2 is able to resolve finer details compared to the One thanks to its 13MP rear sensor, it's possible to deliver better performance with lower resolution cameras. In other words, not all 13MP cameras are created equal.

You can see full 1:1 resolution crops in the gallery below:


The tangential crops tell a very similar story. The One mini 2 delivers more spatial resolution than the One, but it falls behind last year's flagships.

Color Reproduction

With the M8, HTC improved color accuracy over the previous generation. As the One mini 2 features a different camera module, sensor and ISP, I wondered how color reproduction changed with the cost reduction. For the next comparison I shot the standard x-rite colorchecker classic card under 6500K light. The obvious next step here is to compare the captured colors to reference colors and calculate delta E values but we're not quite there yet.


There are definitely differences between the M8 and One mini 2's color handling. Reds are more saturated on the M8 mini, while there's a bit more green on the M8. The light brown swatch is a bit more pink than it should be (see the second square in the top row), and there's more noise than there really should be in some of these squares. Grayscale performance looks decent. Overall color reproduction is decent, but different than the M8.

Camera Architecture Still Image Analysis: Lab Scenes
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  • flyingpants1 - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Thought so. Inferior device at a high price point. Get a Nexus 5 instead. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Every single time. Only Sony gets it - the Xperia Z1 Compact doesn't use a second-rate SoC or camera compared to the Z1. It's a full-fat version, just smaller. Reply
  • Chaitanya - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Sony did everything right that neither Samsung or HTC have been able to do with their mini versions of flagship smartphones. Reply
  • teiglin - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    Couldn't agree more. I finally bit the bullet and bought an imported Z1 Compact about a month ago and am very happy with it. I don't have the words to express my disappointment that Sony's example is not being followed, nor that American operators aren't interested in picking up a great device like the Z1 Compact.

    On the topic of the One mini 2 itself, it seems like a perfectly decent phone, but you guys really hit it on the head with the "two worlds" thing--on the one hand, the same money gets you a G2, which is still a great phone by any account; on the other, it has the specs of a Moto G, which is half as much. I love HTC's industrial design, but it is hard to argue that the One mini 2 is competitive.
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    agreed.
    and i might also add LG L6, a phone that you can purchase right off the ebay for 120 (or 100 if it is on the ebay daily deal). that has almost the same spec as the original one mini (actual performance is better since the skin isn't as heavy). i recently get one and my god the battery is godly. i can go with 3 days (as in 3 day+ 3 night) on a charge when using it to check email, facebook and occasionally web browsing. on comparsion my N4, if used the similar manner, would be dead before the second day.

    with that all said, there isn't a single reason to pay 400 dollars for a mini 2 over the aluminum body when you can get L6 for 100 dollars, or Note 3 neo for about 360 dollars.
    Reply
  • ColinByers - Monday, September 29, 2014 - link

    HTC One mini 2 is really good, but I would recommend going for the flagship HTC One M8 instead, it is currently the best phone on the market. /Colin from http://www.consumertop.com/best-phone-guide/ Reply
  • synaesthetic - Monday, May 26, 2014 - link

    I don't understand why nobody except Sony seems to understand this concept. Both HTC and Samsung cripple the specs of their "mini" variants. Why... why would you do that? Don't you understand that some people just don't want monster screens, but still want top-tier performance? :/ Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - link

    This, a thousand times! Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - link

    If the Z1 is so high-end, then why is the camera latency so bad? Reply
  • pjcamp - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Everything has its problems.

    Sony's problem is that they can't seem to figure out how to sell things in the US.
    Reply

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