As if the mid-range, budget-friendly Android smartphone scene wasn’t crowded, competitive and spicy enough, the past 48 hours have seen Motorola upgrade their already beloved Moto G with the only two features it was missing to aspire to perfection, and then HTC issue a new, compact edition of its crowd-pleasing all-metal One series.
Obviously, some may argue the Moto G, even in its LTE-enabled variation, and One mini 2 target different slices of the mobile pie. And in a way, I totally agree. But we’re all the same, we’re all equal in our undivided love to all things Android, so at the end of the day, the two, just like the now OG Sony Xperia Z1 Compact, cater to the needs of a condensed public.
Depending on how much one is willing to spend and exactly what he’s looking for in a slab of silicon, the three, which technically challenge the same throne, shall each find fans and followers. The question is what are their strengths and weaknesses? Well, let’s find out by comparing and contrasting their every tidbit:
HTC One mini 2 vs Moto G LTE vs Xperia Z1 Compact – design face-off
Yes, I’m fully aware the reasons the G can’t hold a candle to the other two build quality-wise are, um, reasonable and objective. But people have a right to know the full picture. And leaving costs aside for a moment, the One mini 2 and Z1 Compact win this battle by a landslide.
As for which of the two is most elegant and beautiful, I guess it depends on your definition of the words. The Z1 Compact is shorter, narrower, thinner, more, well, compact and it rocks a glass chassis that’s fairly premium-looking… until you get your fingerprints all over its rear.
Meanwhile, the One mini 2 is amazingly not heavier in spite of its superior footprint and the aluminum frame needs no introduction or description. It’s simply… HTC.
4.5-inch 1,280 x 720 pixels resolution vs. 4.5-inch 1,280 x 720 vs. 4.3-inch 1,280 x 720, and clearly, declaring a winner here is a matter of examining real-life pictures and videos with a magnifying glass. Which I don’t intend to do, as the results of such a test would have little worth for the everyday mobile user.
Sure, if you insist on bullying me to pick a victor, I’d probably go for Z1 Compact’s slightly superior ppi – 342 vs 326 vs 326. But another guy may choose size over pixel density, and who am I to tell him he’s wrong?
Processing speed, RAM and cameras
It’s a no contest. A first-round one-punch knockout victory. A coup de grace, and I could go on with the metaphors. The point is the Z1 Compact is hands down the zippiest device here, packing a quad-core 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 chip and 2 GB RAM.
It’s also got the best rear-facing snapper – a powerhouse 20.7 MP unit with autofocus and LED Flash. Of course, these are the main reasons the punchy munchkin is by far the priciest of the three, though we’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s mention the One mini 2 and Moto G are deadlocked in processing speed and multitasking, thanks to identical CPU/GPU/RAM configurations – quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400/Adreno 305/1 GB.
The cameras though are a different kettle of fish, with HTC crushing Moto. In fact, the One mini 2 even trumps the Z1 Compact in the selfie skill department (5 MP front cam vs just 2), sitting right between its rivals when it comes to taking photos of something or someone else than the phone’s owner. Hello there, 13 megapixel (not UltraPixel, thank God) rear shooter.
Software and battery life comparison
Well, this is odd. As much time and money Sony and HTC invested in their “mini” flagships, the software running on the upper mid-rangers can’t come close to the smoothness of Moto G’s pre-loaded Android 4.4 KitKat.
The G features no bells and whistles on top of KK, making Android purists purr with satisfaction. Then again, stock software isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In which case you can go for Z1 Compact’s relatively unintrusive Xperia UI-skinned Android 4.4 copy, or One mini 2’s highly forked, highly modified Sense-flavored KitKat.
Be sure to weigh in the absence of Zoe but presence of BlinkFeed on HTC’s power Liliputian in your final decision, as well as your odds to score subsequent major updates on each device in a timely manner. FYI, that’s 100 percent on the G and let’s say 50-50 for the other two.
Battery life? Don’t really want to jump to conclusions, so I’ll call the battle a three-way tie for now. Z1 Compact’s ticker is the largest (2,300 mAh) but it has to handle the fastest CPU, then the One mini 2 and Moto G are practically tied, with 2,110 and 2,070 mAh respectively.
Storage, connectivity and… yes, pricing
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Motorola will sell the 4G Moto G starting at $220 in June, which is less than half of what the Z1 Compact goes for. The One mini 2 is currently without an official price tag, but clearly, it’ll be closer to the diminutive Z1 than the G. My guess is… $400. Maybe $450.
Now, are the all-metal and glass fellows really worth the premiums? Well, they have nothing extra to offer connectivity-wise now that the G supports LTE, and even the expandable memory gives them no edge any longer.
They do start at 16 GB built-in storage space, compared to 8 for Moto’s G, plus all the strong points listed above – higher-class cameras, CPUs, (much) better build quality. Which still doesn’t answer the key question. Are… they… worth… it? Well, you don’t really expect me to just solve all your puzzles, do you? Where’s the fun in that?