HTC One mini vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: What's the difference?

There's a mini war raging in tech land. We blame Dr Evil for this obsession with the Mini Me phones. But when these two smartphone giants stand chest to chest, who is Austin Powers and who is Dr Evil?

HTC and Samsung both have "mini" versions of their flagship handsets, so this comparison is an obvious one. We've played with both, checking out the HTC One mini before launch and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini before that.

But where do these two devices sit in relation to each other. In short, what's the difference?

1. Design and build

HTC blasts with both barrels with the HTC One mini. It has all the luscious premium feel of its flagship forebear with a great aluminium back and those BoomSound speakers on the front. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, on the other hand, is mostly plastic, but it still feels solid when you actually pick it up. The HTC might be better looking device, but the Samsung is both thinner and lighter. The HTC One mini measures 132 x 63.2 x 9.25mm and weighs 122g; the SGS4 Mini measures 124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94mm and weighs 107g.

2. Core hardware

Looks are only skin deep though. Pull off the Samsung's plastic back and you'll be able to stuff up to 64GB of microSD card in to expand over the 8GB of internal memory. HTC keeps you firmly at 16GB, with no expansion option. Powering the HTC One mini is a dual-core 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset, along with 1GB of RAM. Samsung cruises along with a higher clock speed of 1.7GHz on the same Snapdragon 400 and 1.5GB RAM. It might just have a little more snap to it. Samsung has a higher capacity battery too, with 1900mAh against the 1800mAh in the HTC.

2. Display

Both these devices measure in at 4.3-inches on the diagonal. The fact that this now counts as "mini" might cause a smirk, but it's the HTC One mini that's really packing in the pixels. With 1280 x 720 resolution display, the sharp 341ppi will show you details that will just be fuzzy on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini's 960 x 540 (256ppi) display. They're different technologies too. The Super AMOLED of the SGS4 Mini has deep blacks and plenty of vibrancy, but the HTC is more natural and more detailed.

3. Software

Design and specification is one thing, but the real difference between these two devices lies in the software experience. Both HTC and Samsung pour their efforts into customising devices, heaping additional features onto Android. Both come with Android 4.2.2, a strong foundation. The HTC One mini then offers Sense 5, a comprehensive re-working with BlinkFeed looking to put customised news up front. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, however, has heaps of additional features from Samsung apps, with S Voice, S Translator, S Health. We think the Sense 5 feels more mature, even if Samsung's TouchWiz offers more features.

4. Connectivity

The good news is that both of these mid-range devices are 4G LTE enabled, so you'll be able to sup up fast data all day long. However, where HTC has made a few cuts, leaving out the IR blaster and NFC, the Samsung offers both of these features.

5. Cameras

On the spec sheet the 8-megapixels of the SGS4 Mini might sound more impressive than the 4.1 of the UltraPixel sensor, but HTC's camera has been cleverly designed. It loses the optical image stabilisation of the original HTC One, but we'd still expect it to be a good performer. For us it's less about the numbers and more about the application however. Both offer plenty of funky features, but we love HTC's Zoe camera and the video highlights. Samsung gives you 1.9-megapixels on the front to HTC's 1.6, so might make you look better.

Small but mighty

Both devices have loads to offer and both are more affordable and more compact than their flagship namesakes, but still offer plenty of features, great design and specs that impress. The design of the HTC, combined with that great display and the sophistication of the latest version of HTC Sense should make for a popular device, however, as in the battle between the flagship devices, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini packs in a lot of hardware, as well as the flexibility of easy memory expansion. The mid-range certainly looks exciting these days.

READ: HTC One mini first impressions or Samsung Galaxy S4 mini first impressions