Lab Scene

As we march towards our outdoor test scenes, we shift to a light controlled lab setup. The setup here is slightly different from what we used in the past two reviews so we re-ran all of the comparison shots. Everything is exposed to the same lighting conditions. We'll start with a well lit test:

At close distance sunder decent lighting conditions the M8 vs. M8 mini test becomes one of white balance and processing differences. You can see a slight resolution advantage here in that the text in the scene is a bit sharper on the M8 mini, but otherwise the differences are in color processing. The light colors in the AMD A4 box (upper right corner of the box) are more pink in the M8 mini's shot, and there's more green in the M8's capture by comparison. Both captures are ok and neither is perfect. In this case I'm far happier with the image from the G2, 5c or Moto X.

Next up is the same scene, but in much lower light (~7 lux):

And this is where the M8's 2.0µm Ultrapixel sensor comes in handy. The mini 2 captures an almost useless image. There's very little detail in the Intel Core i5 box, you can barely read any of the text on the AMD box and there's very little contrast picked up in the ASUS box on the far right. The M8 mini elected to shoot this scene at 1/10s at ISO 2000. The M8 by comparison settled on 1/11s at ISO 1250, and the result is far more legible. The capture isn't as bright as I'd expect, but you can at least get some idea of what's going on here. The 5c delivers a somewhat brighter image, but with more visible noise (1/15s, ISO 2500). The Moto X is pretty bad here. If you're looking at this scaled crop the LG G2 looks like a clear winner. I'd recommend looking at the originals in the gallery below though. In low light scenarios LG triggers some sort of a multi-exposure/pixel binning mode that you can't disable. The result is great low light performance, but at the expense of sharpness - the full image is a lot more blurry on the G2. When scaled down to lower resolutions it's less of a problem, which is why it looks reasonable here.


Still Image Analysis: Spatial Resolution & Color Reproduction Still Image Analysis: Outdoor Scenes


View All Comments

  • 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.
  • seanleeforever - Monday, June 2, 2014 - link

    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.
  • 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 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.

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