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Featured Review: HTC One Remix (Verizon Wireless)

August 23, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Last year we reviewed the HTC One Mini, which was available on AT&T. I loved it. To put it plain and simple. I loved the look, feel, and build of the HTC One M7 last year, so having a mini version was the best. It was a bit smaller, but still had pretty decent hardware. Yes it featured a Snapdragon 400, but I feel that a lot of people have underestimated the Snapdragon 400, as it is a beast, even though it is in a lot of mid-range devices. Heck, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live even run on the Snapdragon 400 chipset. Fast forward to 2014, where HTC announced the HTC One M8. We also reviewed that device, and it was amazing. Even better than the HTC One M7 from last year. Then came the HTC One Mini 2 (odd name, right? Especially after the One M8). Which is available everywhere but the US. But Verizon did get the One Mini 2, except they changed the name to the HTC One Remix. Otherwise it’s the exact same phone. And I must say, I really do like it. It does have a full 13MP camera on the back instead of the 4MP UltraPixel camera that the HTC One M7 and M8 had. Which we’ll talk about that in the camera section below. Pair a smaller display, front-facing Boomsound speakers, and a 13MP camera and on paper you’ve got a great device, but does that translate to real world usage? Well we’ll be going over that in this review.

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Specs

  • 4.5-inch 1280×720 resolution SuperLCD3 Display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage with a microSD card slot supporting up to 128GB
  • 13MP rear-facing camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Sense 6 UI on Top
  • Dimensions: 137.4 x 65 x 10.6 mm (5.41 x 2.56 x 0.42 in)
  • Weight137 g (4.83 oz)
  • Battery: 2,100mAh

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Hardware

If you’ve held or even seen the HTC One M8, you’ll feel right at home here with the HTC One Remix. The build quality and the feel of the One Remix is exactly the same as the HTC One M8, just a bit smaller. You’ve got an aluminum unibody here with bits and pieces of plastic on it. The plastic is to allow the signal for data, calls, and even WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC to pass through. As it’s much harder to penetrate aluminum. Which is why most phones are made of some sort of plastic. Aside from the size, the only real difference you’ll notice on the outside is the camera. On the One M8 we had a duo-camera setup here, but on the One Remix, we’ve got a 13MP camera with a flash on the left side. HTC-One-Remix-AH-50 Now when we reviewed the HTC One M8, we had the gunmetal gray version, which we heard from various other reviewers that the Glacial Silver version was much more slick than the Gunmetal gray. And after using the Glacial Silver One Remix, I can completely agree. As much as I love the feel of this phone, it’s really slippery. It almost jumps out of your hands. Literally. Another gripe I have here is that the power button is on the top. I really wish they’d move it to the side, as every other OEM has done (except LG). On top there’s the Power button and 3.5mm headphone jack, on the left side is the microSIM card slot, the bottom houses the 3.5mm headphone jack and the right side has the volume rocker and microSD card slot. On the back there’s your 13MP camera with flash along with some logos and FCC info. On the front is your 4.5-inch display, front-facing Boomsound speakers, 5MP camera and assorted sensors on the front. HTC-One-Remix-AH-52 The display on the One Remix is quite nice. I know everyone is pissed that it’s a 720p display instead of a 1080p display. With a 4.5-inch screen, the 720p display still has over 300 pixels per inch, so it still looks amazing. And after using it for about 2 weeks now, I really like this display, especially for it’s size. Performance is quite good as well on the One Remix. We’ve got the Snapdragon 400 along with 1.5GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 400 has always worked well for me, on every device I’ve used with it inside. Gameplay was quite good, and never had an issue with running out of RAM or anything.

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Battery Life

Compared to a lot of other phones that are this size, I’d have to say the HTC One Remix has the best battery life. Over the weekend I was able to get about 28 hours on a charge with about 3 hours on LTE without WiFi. It’s hard to say what screen on time was because in HTC’s Sense overlay, they’ve removed that option from the battery stats. Which is odd, but it’s been gone since Sense 4+.

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Software

There’s not much new or different compared to the HTC One M8, in the software department. We still have Blinkfeed on the left side of the home screen, kind of like how Google has Google Now on the left side in the Google Now launcher. Sense 6 looks just as beautiful as it did on the HTC One M8. One thing I have noticed, however and this may not be a HTC issue, is that with LocalCast, I have to turn off/on WiFi to get it to find the Chromecasts on my WiFi network. Not a huge deal, but it can be a bit annoying. Especially since it hasn’t happened on any other device. As far as bloatware goes, there’s plenty. But that shouldn’t be a surprise. We’ve got the My Verizon Mobile, Mobile Hotspot, VZ protect, VZ Navigator, Accessories, NFL Mobile, Games, Caller Name ID, Cloud, ISIS Wallet, Message+, Voicemail, Emergency Alerts, Amazon AppStore, Audible, IMDb, Amazon Kindle, Amazon, and Amazon Music. So basically all the apps you’d expect to see on a Verizon smartphone. Overall, I really like Sense 6 paired with Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s really fast and fluid, which is exactly what a skin should be. It shouldn’t be slowing down your phone, right?

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Camera

Here’s the interesting part of the HTC One Remix, for a couple of reasons. HTC decided to go with a 13MP camera on this one, which was a great move. But the not so great move was taking out all the cool photo features that are in the HTC One M8. Like the Zoe Camera, Dual-capture, and even the Pano-360. None of that is here. In the camera all we’ve got is the Camera, Video and Selfie options in the camera app, unfortunately. With that said, we’ve got loads of images down below for you to check out, all taken with the HTC One Remix.

The Good

  • Build Quality: The build quality here on the HTC One Remix was top notch, just wish it was a bit less slippery.
  • Battery Life; Amazing, especially for a 4.5-inch device, where they usually have mediocre battery.
  • Software: Sense is one of the best skins out there, better than LG’s, Samsung’s and even Sony’s.

The Bad

  • HTC One Remix: I still don’t understand why Verizon couldn’t just keep the name One Mini 2. Sure it’s not the best name, but it’s less confusing than having a One Mini 2 and a One Remix.
  • Exclusivity: It’s a great smartphone, but exclusives suck. If the One Remix/One Mini 2 were available on all four carriers, I think it would sell really well.

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TL;DR

So basically, we’ve spent over 1200 words saying that the HTC One Remix is a great phone with a few caveats. If you can get over the camera issue (which HTC just released their Zoe app, so that’s less of an issue now), and put a case on the One Remix, it’s a great smartphone. And for those looking for a smaller smartphone, this is the one I’d recommend, hands down.