This is a category that didn't have a whole lot of competition. In fact, we didn't even see our first "Mini" phone until 2012 when Samsung announced the Galaxy S3 Mini. The funny thing about these mini phones, at least to me, is that they are the size of phones from about a year ago. Typically they are between 4 and 4.3-inches in display size. Some of the competitors this year include the Motorola DROID Mini, Sony's Xperia Z1f, HTC One Mini, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. With the One Mini and the Galaxy S4 Mini, they actually have lesser specs than their bigger brothers the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, respectively. However, Motorola and Sony decided to keep their specs the same between their flagship and their mini smartphone.
Runner Up: HTC One Mini
The reason why we choose the One Mini as the runner up, is primarily because it has the same specs as the HTC One, albeit with lower-end specs. The HTC One Mini has a Snapdragon 400 processor inside, along with a 4.3-inch 720p display. Now I know many of you are probably thinking 720p is a crap display in 2013. But honestly, at 4.3-inches, 720p is quite nice. Especially since it a Super LCD3 display.
As far as software goes, the HTC One Mini also has the front-facing speakers for Boomsound, along with the 4MP Ultrapixel camera (which I had a great experience with). It's also got Sense 5 (at the time of our review) along with Blinkfeed and everything you have on the HTC One. It's actually a really nice phone. I used it as my daily driver for a good month at the end of the summer. And I really liked it. Mostly because with the front-facing speakers, it was still about the same size as my Nexus 4, even though the display was a 4.3-inch display.
Winner: Motorola DROID Mini
The Motorola DROID Mini is our winner, simply because it's got all the same specs as the DROID Ultra, its' big brother. One could argue that the Xperia Z1f does have the same specs as the Xperia Z1 as well, however that device is only available in Japan right now. So we must choose the DROID Mini. Which has a 4.3-inch 720p LCD display, with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, which uses Motorola's X8 Mobile Computing System. It's also got some great battery life, nothing like the DROID Maxx, but definitely better then the competition.
On the software front, the DROID Mini features stuff like Active Display, Touchless Control, and much more. In my opinion, Motorola added features that users will love and actually use daily. Instead of stuff that a user may use once and that's about it. Active Display is by far my favorite feature on a smartphone in a few years. After using it, it gets really hard to go back to a phone that doesn't use Active Display. But that's just me.
Who would you pick as the best "mini" smartphone of 2013?