Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes forward as the next super mini but its armor will surely be tested in battle against the HTC One mini 2. The two have their distinct strengths but enough common ground to meet on - compact and metal.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha is lighter and much thinner but Samsung used aluminum sparingly. HTC covered all of the One mini 2 in metal. The Galaxy Alpha has processing power to spare while the One mini 2 has a midrange chipset. The HTC brings the trademark BoomSound speakers while the Samsung promises a better camera.

Before you place your bets, here's specs the rundown.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha over One mini 2

  • More powerful chipset with double the RAM
  • Slightly bigger screen - 4.7" vs. 4.5"
  • More compact and much thinner - 6.7mm vs. 10.6mm
  • 16:9 camera sensor
  • 2160p video capture
  • Faster LTE downlink - 300Mbps vs. 150Mbps
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Heart rate monitor

HTC one mini 2 over Galaxy Alpha

  • Aluminum unibody
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Expandable storage
  • Bigger battery - 2,110mAh (sealed) vs. 1,860mAh (removable)
  • Better front-facing camera - 5MP vs. 2.1MP
  • Costs less

It's no surprise that the Galaxy Alpha has the faster chipset and more features, Samsung loves heaping those on. What it can't get quite right is nailing down that premium feel that HTC has been nailing since the original One. Geeks are more willing to forgive plastic, while premium users care less about the performance.

There's no perfect middle ground, a _phone_ that combines the looks of the One mini 2 and the brains of the Galaxy Alpha. Apple fans might argue that the description matches the iPhone but in the Android world there's no exact match. The Xperia Z3 Compact comes close but that calls for its own piece.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha and HTC one mini 2 at the office

The screen size explosion brought us the phablet segment, which basks in growing popularity but, unfortunately, it left midsized devices in the midrange. Now we're seeing the tide turn a bit with compact high-enders like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the HTC One mini 2 but that direction puts them on a collision course. Flip over to the next page for the first punches exchange.

Design and handling

The silhouette of both phones is virtually identical (the famous rounded rectangle) but the dimensions differ. Most crucially, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is only 6.7mm thick, more than 30% thinner than the 10.6mm HTC One mini 2.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha is noticeably thinner than the One mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha is half a centimeter shorter too, despite having a bigger screen. HTC make this tradeoff to make room for the two front-facing speakers. The Alpha is lighter too, 115g vs. 137g, though the difference is small.

What makes a bigger difference for in-hand feel (and looks) is the back panel. The HTC One mini 2 has a sealed metal unibody and cards are put in trays that slot into the sides. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a removable plastic back cover so you can access the battery and SIM slot.

The premium feel of metal is a huge boon for the HTC _phone_ while the Alpha doesn't even use the best plastic from Samsung. The dotted pattern is too small on this one so it doesn't quite look like perforated leather and the material feels smoother (more like plastic).

The exposed aluminum from the frame of the Alpha does improve things significantly compared to an all-plastic Galaxy. Still, a glass back (a la iPhone 4/4s or Xperia Z) or a matte polycarbonate (like Lumia 925/930) would have been a better choice.

The HTC One mini 2 has a rounded back which hides some of its thickness. The sharper edges of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha tend to poke into your wrist a bit, enough to remind you that it's made of hard metal but also enough to be slightly less comfortable than the smooth, round back of the One mini 2.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

A rounded, all-aluminum back on the HTC One mini 2

Both phones have their microUSB 2.0 ports on the bottom and their 3.5mm audio jacks on top. HTC has put the Power key also on top so it's slightly harder to reach on the taller phone.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

3.5mm audio jacks and microUSB ports

On the flip side, the on-screen buttons are further up the phone so they are easier to reach. On-screen buttons, however, mean the One mini 2 has less screen real estate left for apps.

The hardware home key on the Galaxy Alpha is very near the bottom and requires a more flexible thumb. It houses a fingerprint scanner of the swipe kind and using it is a learned skill - you have to run the entire top digit of your thumb against the key and the scanner can be sensitive to the angle at which of you're doing it.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Hardware keys and fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Alpha • on-screen buttons on the One mini 2

Speaker placement is important. The BoomSound speakers on the One mini 2 are on its front, while the single speaker on the Galaxy Alpha is at the bottom. Neither will get muffled when you put the phone on a table but the HTC is better at directing sound outward.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Front-facing stereo speakers from HTC • single speaker on the bottom from Samsung

The sides of the devices feature a volume rocker. The one on the Samsung is a bit too thin for our liking, while the one on the HTC is too flush with the sides. Overall neither is the most ergonomic to use.

The HTC One mini 2 has card slots on the left and right and you'll need a tool to open them. The SIM slot on the Galaxy Alpha are accessible without any tools but you'll need to remove the battery.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

A removable plasticy back cover • cards go on trays for the HTC

We come back around to the back of each device. We covered the differences in material but there's more to talk about. The Galaxy Alpha may be thinner but its camera module protrudes from the back, making it more vulnerable to damage. Next to it is the LED flash and the heart rate monitor (check the camera lens for finger smudges after measuring your heart rate).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Protruding camera with heart rate monitor • HTC's thicker phone has a flush camera

The HTC One mini 2 camera is flush with the back and also features a single LED flash. The secondary microphone is here too, while the Galaxy Alpha places its two mics on the top and bottom.

Winner: HTC One mini 2. There are plenty of half metal/half not phones out there from Apple, Sony, Nokia and others but metal unibodies are rare. The One mini 2 is certainly not the most compact 4.5" phone out there but it's still a joy to hold - and has stereo speakers to show for it.

The Galaxy Alpha is one of the best built phones by Samsung (the metal-clad Waves as good as forgotten). It's impressively thin and light too and doesn't add much bulk around its 4.7" screen. Still, that so-so plastic on the back doesn't do it any favors.

Displays

Both phones prioritize compact size over screen size and their parent companies settled on a 4.5-4.7" diagonal, 720p resolution giving them virtually equal pixel density.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has the raw screen size advantage and it doesn't have to reserve an area for on-screen buttons like the HTC. That said, we've seen some excellent screens from HTC and the One mini 2 is another success.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

While pixel density is about the same, sharpness is slightly more complicated. The Super LCD2 has a standard RGB matrix while the Samsung Super AMOLED screen has a diamond pattern PenTile arrangement. Differences are slight but people with good eyesight can notice a crosshatch pattern up close. Nothing to worry about for normal day-to-day usage though.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

More important are things like brightness and contrast and as far as the first of those is concerned are virtually matched - 450nits for the Galaxy Alpha and 500nits for the One mini 2. The HTC even has a solid answer to Super AMOLED's theoretically infinite contrast and even black levels stay relatively low.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
HTC One mini 2 0.19 220 1141 0.42 501 1196
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 228 456
Apple iPhone 5s 0.14 163 1145 0.49 596 1219
HTC One (M8) 0.2 245 1219 0.46 577 1256
Samsung Galaxy S5 274 529
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 226 432
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - - - 0.34 626 1819


Sunlight legibility goes in favor of the Samsung in large part thanks to the low reflectivity of the Super AMOLED assembly. The HTC One mini 2 screen is fairly average in this respect.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Viewing angles for both screens are excellent, on the HTC thanks to its IPS tech, on the Samsung thanks to AMOLED's inherent properties.

Now we get to the can of worms that is color rendering. Some people just don't like the oversaturated colors typical of AMOLED screens and for them Samsung has included a choice of four screen modes that make sure you get a choice between punchiness and perfectly accurate colors - as well as steps in-between.

The HTC One mini does not have color options but the default is good with beautiful (and not oversaturated) colors.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The screen offers more real estate and handles sunlight much better, plus it gives you the choice between oversaturated punchiness and accurate colors.

The HTC One mini 2 has an excellent screen but it's slightly cramped for the size of the device and has no definitive advantages over the Alpha.

Connectivity

Both the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and the HTC One (M8) are LTE-enabled phones but the Galaxy can be up to twice as fast at downloading data. LTE Cat. 6 promises up to 300Mbps downlink speeds, up from 150Mbps for Cat. 4.

That's for the Snapdragon 801-based Galaxy Alpha, the one with Exynos is at Cat. 4 150Mbps just like the One mini 2. That matters only if your carrier supports such speeds, of course, most are still at 100Mbps. Both categories of LTE upload at 50Mbps.

LTE aside, both phones use nano-SIM cards and have quad-band 2G. The Samsung also has quad-band 3G, while the One mini 2 offers tri- or quad-band 3G depending on region. Outside of LTE coverage both phones will do up to 42Mbps on an HSPA+ network.

Locally, the Galaxy Alpha wins out with 802.11ac, while the HTC only handles the previous standards - a/b/g/n. Both support dual-band Wi-Fi, DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspots. Bluetooth connectivity is on par with v4.0 support and both have NFC built-in.

Surprisingly Samsung didn't include MHL support for its Alpha flagship, while the HTC One mini 2 has it. MHL allows the phone to mirror its screen on a TV via an HDMI adapter, so Galaxy Alpha owners will have just wireless screen mirroring to rely on.

The Galaxy Alpha wins one back with ANT+ connectivity - sport sensors (an important part of Samsung's strategy) work either via Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+, both low-power wireless standards.

Positioning is handled by the industry standard combo of A-GPS and GLONASS, but Samsung also supports the Chinese Beidou system. That one is yet to achieve worldwide coverage.

Neither phone has an IR blaster even though their bigger counterparts do.

Winner: Tie. Lack of MHL is certainly a negative for the Alpha but it is future-proof when it comes to LTE, Wi-Fi and positioning, plus it adds ANT+.

The HTC One mini 2 will perform slightly better in the short run but if you upgrade your Wi-Fi router before you upgrade your phone, you'll miss out on the new tech.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha raised eyebrows when it was announced with a 1,860mAh battery - most 4.5+ inch phones are well into the 2,000 milliamp range. At first we wrote that off as a sacrifice in favor of a thinner device.

The HTC One mini 2 is almost 4mm thicker and naturally packs a bigger battery, though not by much - 2,110mAh. It's a sealed Li-Po battery, while the Samsung has a user-removable Li-Ion unit.

Perhaps it was Samsung's custom-made Exynos chipset (the first mobile chipset at 20nm, while Snapdragons are at 28nm) but the Galaxy Alpha managed very respectable numbers, actually better than the One mini 2 managed.

The endurance ratings for both are virtually the same - 50 hours for the HTC, two more for the Samsung. You'll need to charge both every two days of moderate usage, every day with heavy usage.

But the Samsung Galaxy Alpha can give you three hours more of talk time, meaning you can make 30% more calls on average at the same charging schedule. The HTC One mini 2 does 10 hours - more than you can do in a sitting but less power usage during calls also means more power left over for other tasks.

Talk time

  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
    33:19h
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    28:34h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    26:53h
  • LG G3
    25:54h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    25:45h
  • LG G Pro 2
    25:37h
  • LG G Flex
    25:19h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    25:16h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    25:12h
  • Alcatel Hero
    25:02h
  • LG G2
    25:01h
  • Oppo N1
    25:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    24:52h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    24:23h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    22:42h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    22:16h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    22:13h
  • HTC One Max
    22:13h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    22:13h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    22:13h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    22:13h
  • Samsung ATIV SE
    22:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    21:20h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    21:18h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    20:45h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    20:42h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    20:24h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    20:07h
  • Oppo Find 7
    20:03h
  • HTC One (M8)
    20:01h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    20:00h
  • OnePlus One
    19:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    19:55h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    19:54h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    19:49h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    19:48h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    19:14h
  • Oppo R819
    19:03h
  • Asus PadFone X
    18:45h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    18:15h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    18:12h
  • LG G2 mini
    18:11h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    18:11h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    18:03h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    17:48h
  • HTC One (E8)
    17:47h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    16:57h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    16:56h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    16:41h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    16:40h
  • LG Nexus 5
    16:40h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    16:40h
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    16:40h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    16:40h
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    16:39h
  • Motorola Moto E
    16:38h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    16:38h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    16:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    16:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    15:32h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    15:30h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    15:22h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    15:17h
  • HTC Desire 816
    14:46h
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    14:41h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    14:31h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    14:17h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    14:17h
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    14:17h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    14:17h
  • Oppo Find 5
    14:17h
  • Nokia Lumia 635
    14:17h
  • Pantech Discover
    14:17h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    14:15h
  • Motorola Moto X
    14:06h
  • Motorola Moto G
    13:41h
  • HTC One
    13:38h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    13:36h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    13:33h
  • HTC One X+
    13:31h
  • Sony Xperia C
    13:29h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    13:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    13:20h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    13:20h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    13:20h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    13:10h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    13:00h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    12:45h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    12:39h
  • HTC First
    12:31h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    12:31h
  • Sony Xperia M
    12:31h
  • Sony Xperia L
    12:30h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    12:30h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    12:27h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    12:18h
  • HTC Butterfly
    12:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    12:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    12:14h
  • HTC One mini
    12:04h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    11:58h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    11:58h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    11:52h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    11:32h
  • HTC Desire 500
    11:31h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    11:30h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    11:25h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    11:20h
  • Nokia X
    11:13h
  • HTC One SV
    11:07h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    11:07h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    11:07h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    11:07h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    11:07h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    11:06h
  • HTC Desire X
    11:03h
  • Meizu MX3
    11:02h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    11:01h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    10:46h
  • Nokia XL
    10:45h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    10:18h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    10:15h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    10:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    10:00h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    10:00h
  • HTC One V
    10:00h
  • HTC One mini 2
    09:58h
  • HTC One X
    9:57h
  • HTC One S
    9:42h
  • HTC One S C2
    9:42h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    9:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    9:32h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    9:30h
  • Sony Xperia J
    9:14h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    9:05h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    9:05h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    9:05h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    9:04h
  • HTC Vivid
    9:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    8:56h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    8:51h
  • HTC Rhyme
    8:48h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    8:42h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    8:42h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    8:41h
  • Meizu MX
    8:39h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    8:35h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    8:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    8:25h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    8:23h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    8:22h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    8:21h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    8:20h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    8:20h
  • Sony Xperia T
    8:15h
  • HTC Rezound
    8:10h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    8:02h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    7:57h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    7:41h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    7:41h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    7:25h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    7:21h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    7:14h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    7:09h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    7:09h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    7:09h
  • Nokia N9
    6:57h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    6:57h
  • HTC Radar
    6:53h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    6:53h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:52h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    6:42h
  • Sony Xperia E
    6:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    6:28h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    6:22h
  • Sony Xperia P
    5:58h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    5:54h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    5:53h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:52h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    5:16h
  • LG Nitro HD
    5:16h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:00h
  • Pantech Burst
    4:46h

The Samsung emerged from the Web browser test with a two hour lead. An 8 and half hour time is highly respectable considering the battery capacity and it's as much as you can expect out of a phone this size. The HTC One mini 2 did an average job at 6 and a half hours.

Web browsing

  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
    16:41h
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    14:52h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    13:14h
  • Sony Xperia C
    12:45h
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    12:40h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    12:37h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    12:30h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    12:17h
  • Nokia XL
    11:54h
  • HTC Desire 816
    11:48h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    11:32h
  • LG G2
    11:22h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    11:20h
  • HTC One Max
    11:20h
  • Asus PadFone X
    11:07h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    11:07h
  • LG G2 mini
    11:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    10:58h
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    10:52h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    10:18h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    10:04h
  • HTC One (E8)
    10:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 635
    10:00h
  • HTC One
    9:58h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    9:58h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    9:56h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    9:54h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    9:48h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    9:47h
  • OnePlus One
    9:46h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    9:43h
  • Alcatel Hero
    9:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    9:37h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    9:36h
  • LG G Pro 2
    9:31h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    9:31h
  • LG G Flex
    9:31h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    9:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE
    9:16h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    9:12h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    9:10h
  • HTC One (M8)
    9:06h
  • Oppo N1
    9:05h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    9:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    9:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    9:04h
  • Motorola Moto G
    9:04h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    8:51h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    8:48h
  • Motorola Moto E
    8:42h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    8:42h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    8:42h
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    8:38h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    8:25h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    8:20h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    8:20h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    8:17h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    8:17h
  • Motorola Moto X
    8:17h
  • HTC One mini
    8:12h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    8:04h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    8:01h
  • HTC One X+
    7:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    7:43h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    7:42h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    7:42h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    7:38h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    7:37h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    7:35h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    7:24h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    7:23h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    7:23h
  • HTC Radar
    7:17h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    7:15h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    7:13h
  • Samsung ATIV SE
    7:12h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    7:11h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    7:09h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    7:09h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    7:09h
  • Meizu MX3
    7:09h
  • Sony Xperia M
    7:09h
  • Sony Xperia J
    7:06h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    7:06h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    6:58h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    6:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    6:54h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    6:54h
  • HTC One V
    6:49h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    6:40h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    6:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    6:40h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    6:40h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    6:40h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    6:40h
  • LG G3
    6:40h
  • Sony Xperia L
    6:40h
  • Sony Xperia E
    6:40h
  • HTC First
    6:39h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    6:38h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    6:37h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    6:35h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:34h
  • HTC One mini 2
    06:33h
  • HTC Desire 500
    6:31h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:30h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    6:27h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    6:27h
  • HTC Butterfly
    6:24h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    6:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    6:16h
  • HTC One SV
    6:15h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    6:15h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:13h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    6:04h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    6:03h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    6:02h
  • Oppo R819
    6:01h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    6:01h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    5:59h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    5:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    5:55h
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    5:55h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    5:53h
  • Pantech Burst
    5:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    5:50h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    5:48h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    5:45h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    5:40h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    5:36h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    5:34h
  • Sony Xperia T
    5:33h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    5:33h
  • Pantech Discover
    5:33h
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:33h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    5:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    5:25h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    5:24h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    5:24h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    5:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    5:23h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    5:20h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    5:19h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    5:17h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:16h
  • HTC Desire X
    5:16h
  • HTC Rezound
    5:16h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    5:15h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    5:10h
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:08h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    5:07h
  • Oppo Find 7
    5:02h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    5:02h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    4:57h
  • Nokia X
    4:55h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    4:50h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    4:49h
  • LG Nexus 5
    4:46h
  • HTC Vivid
    4:46h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    4:45h
  • Meizu MX
    4:35h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    4:34h
  • Nokia N9
    4:33h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    4:32h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    4:24h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    4:24h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    4:20h
  • HTC One X
    4:18h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4:14h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    4:10h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    4:10h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    4:07h
  • HTC One S C2
    4:03h
  • HTC One S
    4:03h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    4:02h
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:00h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    3:59h
  • Sony Xperia P
    3:59h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    3:50h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    3:47h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    3:35h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    3:23h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    3:01h

Finally, the Galaxy Alpha took home the Video playback title with another 2 hour win. Again, for a thin phone with small battery that's an excellent result. The HTC One mini 2 repeats its 6 hour time, which isn't all that impressive.

Video playback

  • LG G Flex
    19:57h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G
    18:01h
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    16:35h
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    15:03h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
    14:17h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    13:32h
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    13:12h
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    13:12h
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    13:12h
  • HTC One Max
    13:11h
  • Sony Xperia C
    12:53h
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier I9260
    12:51h
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    12:31h
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    12:30h
  • BlackBerry Q5
    12:28h
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    12:18h
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    12:16h
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 LTE
    12:10h
  • LG G2
    11:51h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    11:38h
  • Samsung P6800 Galaxy Tab 7.7
    11:37h
  • Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
    11:29h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
    11:27h
  • OnePlus One
    11:23h
  • HTC One (E8)
    11:16h
  • BlackBerry Q10
    11:15h
  • Oppo N1
    11:15h
  • HTC One (M8)
    11:14h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    11:05h
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    11:02h
  • Asus PadFone X
    11:01h
  • HTC Desire 816
    10:34h
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    10:31h
  • LG G2 mini
    10:23h
  • Apple iPhone 5
    10:12h
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    10:08h
  • Samsung ATIV SE
    10:07h
  • Sony Xperia M2
    10:04h
  • HTC First
    10:03h
  • HTC One
    10:02h
  • Motorola Moto X
    10:01h
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    10:01h
  • Samsung Galaxy Express I8730
    10:00h
  • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
    10:00h
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    10:00h
  • Nokia Lumia 635
    10:00h
  • LG G3
    9:57h
  • Sony Xperia T3
    9:56h
  • Nokia 808 PureView
    9:53h
  • Sony Xperia M
    9:49h
  • Alcatel Hero
    9:49h
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    9:42h
  • Samsung Rugby Smart I847
    9:34h
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    9:30h
  • HTC One S
    9:28h
  • HTC One S C2
    9:28h
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    9:28h
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    9:27h
  • Apple iPhone 4s
    9:24h
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2 S6500
    9:22h
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    9:21h
  • Oppo Find 7a
    9:19h
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    9:17h
  • HTC Butterfly S
    9:03h
  • Sony Xperia E
    9:00h
  • Motorola DROID RAZR M
    9:00h
  • Samsung Ativ Odyssey I930
    8:59h
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    8:45h
  • BlackBerry Z10
    8:44h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    8:41h
  • Nokia N9
    8:40h
  • LG Optimus G Pro E985
    8:40h
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 I9200
    8:34h
  • HTC Butterfly
    8:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
    8:25h
  • LG Optimus GJ E975W
    8:15h
  • Samsung Galaxy S III I747
    8:14h
  • HTC One X+
    8:11h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082
    8:11h
  • Motorola RAZR i XT890
    8:11h
  • Sony Xperia J
    8:11h
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    8:10h
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    8:05h
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    8:00h
  • Samsung Focus S I937
    7:55h
  • Samsung S8600 Wave 3
    7:52h
  • HTC Desire 500
    7:50h
  • Samsung I8190 Galaxy S III mini
    7:46h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V
    7:45h
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    7:41h
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    7:38h
  • Asus PadFone 2
    7:38h
  • Nokia Lumia Icon
    7:34h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G T769
    7:33h
  • HTC DROID DNA
    7:30h
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    7:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core I8260
    7:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy Note I717
    7:30h
  • Samsung S7710 Galaxy Xcover 2
    7:30h
  • Sony Xperia SP
    7:27h
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    7:27h
  • HTC One mini
    7:23h
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    7:23h
  • LG Optimus G E975
    7:16h
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    7:03h
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    7:00h
  • HTC One SV
    6:55h
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    6:55h
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    6:55h
  • Pantech Discover
    6:55h
  • Nokia Lumia 928
    6:54h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    6:54h
  • HTC DROID Incredible 4G LTE
    6:51h
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    6:49h
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    6:43h
  • Huawei MediaPad 7 Vogue
    6:40h
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    6:37h
  • Motorola Moto G
    6:37h
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    6:33h
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    6:32h
  • Motorola Moto E
    6:31h
  • Motorola Moto E Dual SIM
    6:31h
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    6:29h
  • Nokia XL
    6:28h
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    6:27h
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    6:27h
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    6:26h
  • Nokia Lumia 810
    6:26h
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos S6802
    6:25h
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    6:25h
  • LG Optimus Vu F100S
    6:23h
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    6:23h
  • Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
    6:21h
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    6:19h
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    6:12h
  • HTC Sensation XL
    6:12h
  • Nokia X
    6:10h
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300
    6:06h
  • LG Nexus 5
    6:06h
  • HTC One mini 2
    06:05h
  • Samsung i927 Captivate Glide
    6:04h
  • Sony Xperia ion LTE
    6:03h
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    6:02h
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250
    6:02h
  • Motorola ATRIX HD MB886
    6:01h
  • Sony Xperia T
    6:01h
  • HTC Vivid
    6:00h
  • Oppo Find 7
    5:58h
  • HTC Radar
    5:54h
  • Oppo R819
    5:54h
  • LG Optimus L9 P760
    5:53h
  • Nokia Lumia 800
    5:52h
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    5:50h
  • LG G Pro 2
    5:49h
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    5:48h
  • BlackBerry Bold 9790
    5:47h
  • HTC One X
    5:45h
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia pro
    5:44h
  • Sony Xperia Z
    5:39h
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    5:38h
  • Meizu MX3
    5:38h
  • HTC Desire X
    5:38h
  • Pantech Burst
    5:38h
  • Samsung Galaxy Core LTE
    5:34h
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    5:28h
  • Meizu MX
    5:27h
  • HTC Rhyme
    5:23h
  • HTC One V
    5:20h
  • Nokia Lumia 900 AT&T
    5:18h
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    5:18h
  • Oppo Find 5
    5:18h
  • Samsung P6200 Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus
    5:16h
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    5:15h
  • BlackBerry Curve 9380
    5:09h
  • HTC Rezound
    5:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame S6810
    5:02h
  • LG Nexus 4 E960
    4:55h
  • Sony Xperia L
    4:44h
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos S7562
    4:30h
  • Sony Xperia P
    4:30h
  • LG Nitro HD
    4:17h
  • LG Optimus 4X HD P880
    4:14h
  • LG Optimus 3D Max P720
    3:28h
  • Nokia Lumia 710
    3:27h

This leaves the standby power consumption to account for the small difference in endurance ratings. That's the one area the Galaxy Alpha could have performed better but the overall battery life is great as it is, certainly not the compromise we expected at the beginning.

Heavy users will get even less battery life out of the HTC One mini 2 than the moderate usage numbers suggest since its advantage - low standby power consumption - doesn't get the time to shine when you use up the battery in a single day. It will do better than the Samsung for low to moderate usage though.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The Galaxy Alpha won every single category and impressed despite its relatively small battery. It's user-removable too so

User interface

Both phones launched with Android 4.4 KitKat though the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is at 4.4.4, while the HTC One mini 2 is at 4.4.2. Those are minor things, of course, the major difference in experience comes from the custom skins, TouchWiz and Sense.

TouchWiz and Sense (the latest versions of each) are quite popular, but here's a quick video anyway to get you up to speed.

In terms of looks, the two are near polar opposites but there's a fairly big cross section of matching features.

The lockscreens are different enough. Samsung has been unusually restrained and by default the Galaxy Alpha shows nothing more than the time and weather, a camera shortcut and notifications if there are any. The fingerprint scanner on the Home key can be used to secure the lockscreen instead of the usual password or pattern protection.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

A simple lockscreen with optional fingerprint protection

HTC on the other hand have kept the four shortcuts at the bottom of the screen from the early versions of Sense for Android. From here you can also launch BlinkFeed and Google Now. Unfortuantely, the double-tap to wake option from the big One (M8) is missing and you have to reach for the power key.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC's traditional Sense lockscreen

In case you haven't yet seen BlinkFeed - it's a magazine-like interface that shows a stream of news articles, along with updates from both social networks and apps on the device. This means BlinkFeed will show you drawings your kid made in Kid Mode, info from Fitbit workouts and so on.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

BlinkFeed keeps you up to date with news, social networks and apps

Samsung recently added a similar feature called My Magazine to the homescreen. This one pulls info purely from web sites and social networks, apps can't post notifications here.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

My Magazines is similar to BlinkFeed

Magazines aside, the homescreens are standard with shortcuts, folders and widgets. The app drawers are pretty standard too, except on the Samsung you scroll horizontally, while on the HTC it's vertical.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The homescreen and app drawers are fairly standard

The notification areas, however, are quite different. HTC uses the stock Android solution of notifications only with a button to bring up toggles (you can use a two-finger swipe for that too).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC's notification area is close to stock

Samsung shows a row of toggles in the notification area by default, followed by S Finder and Quick connect buttons, then comes a brightness slider (with an Auto check box) and only then the notifications.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The TouchWiz notification area is much busier

This is a little busy on a 4.7" screen so you can hide the brightness slider to free up some room, but not the S Finder and Quick connect buttons. The TouchWiz notification area can also show all toggles and has a larger number thereof overall. This includes things like NFC and Sync that can be quite useful. You can rearrange the toggles to bring the most frequently used ones forward.

Both companies couldn't resist tinkering with the app switcher UI either. Samsung has stayed close to stock with a vertical list of app thumbnails and icons (the design is slightly different from AOSP) and has added a Task manager and Close all buttons.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

TouchWiz has a near-standard app switcher • a custom Sense switcher

HTC made the bigger change and displays apps in a 3 x 3 grid of app thumbnails. This switcher lets you swipe to dismiss apps, but you can't see the 10th most recent app. There are Task manager and Close all buttons here too.

Multi Window is a serious multitasking tool exclusive to Samsung's premium line of devices. It allows you to run two apps simultaneously, so you can run two chat sessions at the same time, or a web browser for reference while writing an email or editing a document.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Multi-window in action

While Multi Window is better suited for tablets, it's still usable on the 4.7" 720p screen of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha.

Multitaskers will get a number of benefits from Samsung's interface - the readily available toggles and the ability to run two apps will save you seconds at a time, but those add up quickly over extended use.

The Galaxy Alpha also has a leg up on the HTC One mini 2 in terms of security thanks to its fingerprint scanner and the government-certified KNOX software that handles security on the phone. We already covered the lockscreen, but the Private mode can fingerprint-secure even individual files independently from the unlock routine used. This is great for keeping files private (work or personal files) while someone else is borrowing your phone.

If you work for one of the companies that let you bring your own device instead of a dedicated work phone, you'll feel a lot safer knowing private files are locked behind KNOX and a fingerprint scanner. This works equally well for sensitive company files you wouldn't want your friends to just open when borrowing your device.

The two phones have Do not disturb modes (it's called Blocking mode in TouchWiz). They can be scheduled or manually turned on and off, they block notifications and ringers except for messages and calls coming on a pre-defined shortlist.

The HTC One mini 2 offers Kids and car modes. The free Zoodles app lets kids play games, draw, read books and even check email, without getting access to the entire phone functionality and content. Then there's car mode, which gives you quick access to the music player, navigation, phone and voice commands.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Kid mode on the HTC One mini 2 • Car mode

Both phones feature extreme power saving modes. They disable most features, including turning off the data connection while the display is off, dimming the screen and showing a stripped down homescreen. They do this in order to last several hours per battery charge percentage point.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The phone caters to the increasing security concerns of users with the fingerprint lockscreen and Private mode. Mutli-window will see less use than on bigger devices, but it's there if you need it.

The HTC One mini 2 has an attractive UI (arguably prettier than TouchWiz) but not all changes are good (the app switcher, for example). The Kids and car modes are nice additions but are not enough.

Performance

The HTC One mini 2 is powered by a Snapdragon 400 chipset - four Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and an Adreno 305 GPU. A mid-range chipset through and through, fast enough for not too heavy usage but not flagship stuff.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha comes in two versions: Snapdragon 801-powered and another with Exynos 5430 Octa (the one we're testing). The Exynos chipset is built on a 20nm process compared to Snapdragon's 28nm, which makes it more power-efficient or lets it work at higher clockspeeds.

For the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung went with 1.8GHz for the four Cortex-A15 cores and 1.3GHz for the four Cortex-A7 cores. As an SMP-enabled chipset, the Exynos 5430 can run all eight cores simultaneously and they have 2GB of RAM to work with. The GPU is also beefier, a hexa-core Mali-T628 MP6.

Just to detail the Snapdragon 801 version before we go on, it has four Krait 400 cores at 2.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU. We haven't ran benchmarks on this one but you can expect it to be at roughly the same level as the other Alpha.

We ran the two Basemark tests to confirm there's no cheating going on and both CPU and GPU scores showed no shenanigans.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1167
  • HTC One (M8)
    1126
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    1082
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    915
  • HTC One mini 2
    517
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    419

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    2579
  • HTC One (M8)
    2428
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    2415
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2282
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    1353
  • HTC One mini 2
    1304

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    15096
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    10063
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    10063
  • HTC One (M8)
    9860
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    5283
  • HTC One mini 2
    5182

No surprise here as the Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a definite advantage in CPU performance. The single-core test shows a 2x advantage of Cortex-A15 over the A7. For multi-core performance the difference jumps to nearly threefold.

We go to GeekBench 3, which only shows a double advantage in multi-core performance in favor of the Galaxy Alpha.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3214
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    3011
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    2968
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2856
  • HTC One (M8)
    2367
  • HTC One mini 2
    1526
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    1123

Going to AnTuTu for a more comprehensive look at performance, the Samsung outpaces the HTC by quite a margin.

AnTuTu 4

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    38119
  • HTC One (M8)
    37009
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    36018
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    34527
  • HTC One mini 2
    17883
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    17753

Both phones have 720p screens (a bit less for the One mini 2 once you account for the on-screen buttons). Here the performance gap between Adreno 305 and Mali-T628 MP6 is massive - in the newer GFX 3.0 Manhattan benchmark the Galaxy Alpha's score is nearly eight times higher!

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    31.3
  • HTC One (M8)
    28.4
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    27.8
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    27.4
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    6.7
  • HTC One mini 2
    5.8

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    13.4
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    11.8
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    11.8
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.1
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    9
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.7

When we go back to on-screen resolution, the Galaxy Alpha almost manages a playable framerate in GFX 3.0, while the One mini 2 is far off the mark even in the older benchmark. The Basemark X 3D scores confirms the massive advantage for the Samsung.

Keep in mind that benchmarks are designed to be heavier than contemporary games but the HTC One mini 2 will likely have issues with high-end games.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    48.4
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    41.3
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    34
  • HTC One (M8)
    30.1
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    28.1
  • HTC One mini 2
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    9.3

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    25.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    25.3
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    17
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.9
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    11.7
  • HTC One mini 2
    3.8

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    12396
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    12080
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    11065
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    2665
  • HTC One mini 2
    1650
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    1066

The high CPU performance carries over to JavaScript speed as well, the Kraken 1.1 benchmark running on the Galaxy Alpha completes in a third of the time it takes the One mini 2 to finish.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    4911
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    6043
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    6480
  • HTC One (M8)
    10296
  • HTC One mini 2
    15684
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    15885

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1500
  • Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801)
    1398
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    1364
  • HTC One (M8)
    1069
  • HTC One mini 2
    945
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    861

The Browsermark 2.1 test shows a much narrower gap, it tests web page rendering speed as well as JavaScript performance.

Note that we used the TouchWiz and Sense-customized web browsers for these tests rather than Chrome (which comes preinstalled on both).

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. The unequivocal winner here is the Samsung, winning the CPU and GPU tests by wide margins and easily outperforming the HTC One mini 2 in web tests.

The HTC One mini 2 is good for daily usage and casual gaming but big-budget 3D games are out of its league.

App package

Both phones come with a complete Office package courtesy of Polaris Office 5. It handles viewing and editing of Office documents and PDF files with a comprehensive feature set. You can, of course, use the Google Office suite.

Samsung and HTC have provided their own custom apps for the gallery, music and video players. HTC's player lacks an equalizer, the only audio settings is turning BoomSound on or off and that's only for headphones.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC one mini 2's music player

Samsung's music player has SoundAlive presets and a manual equalizer too. It can automatically adjust the equalizer with the Adapt Sound feature and level out differences in volume between tracks with Smart volume.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha's music player has more options, including an equalizer

Both players support FLAC audio (both 16 and 24 bit), and each phone has a microSD card slot since you'll need the extra storage for FLAC or DLNA. Album art and artist info can be automatically downloaded.

Check out the Audio quality section to see if the two phones have quality audio processing hardware to make FLAC really count.

The One mini 2 certainly has a big advantage when playing music on the loudspeakers. It won't let you tune the player to your liking but another player from the app store will open that door for those who want it. The Galaxy Alpha has a single loudspeaker at the bottom, which doesn't get muffled but is hardly an audiophile's dream.

The HTC One mini 2 has an FM radio with RDS if you want to listen to local broadcast stations for news or music. Samsung has been ignoring old-school broadcast radio for a while now.

Zoe is now a standalone app in Sense 6. It lets you manually select the photos and videos that will be compiled into a Highlights video, also choose a theme and sound track for them. Better yet, Zoe is now a social experience - you can collaborate with friends and share multimedia to create a combined Highlights video.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC Zoe has been updated

While not quite Zoe, Samsung has preloaded the Studio app, which lets you edit photos, create collages, process Shot & more pics and even do some video editing - from simple trimming to organizing clips and photos into a video.

The Gallery app on the HTC One mini 2 shows your albums by default. Albums automatically get a Highlights video, which you can customize with effects and soundtracks. There's an option that automatically searches the gallery for images similar to the current one, which works pretty well.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Gallery app on the HTC One mini 2

Samsung's Gallery can also show photos by time and by album, though here "album" just means folder. One special trick that Samsung implemented is that you can filter images by person - the facial recognition software will group photos by the people in them.

The TouchWiz gallery integrates with Facebook, Dropbox and Picasa so you can browse online albums as easily as local ones. The HTC app lacks this feature, but both support DLNA.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung's custom Gallery

Both phones have custom video players but codec support is patchy. The popular MKV and MP4 formats with H.264 works but audio is limited to MP3 and AAC. Neither handled DTS, Dolby or AC3 sound. Worse still, the phones had issues with DivX, though XviD is supported.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Galaxy Alpha video player • HTC One mini 2 video player

The Galaxy Alpha does have extensive subtitle support, which is a must-have for non-English speakers. It also has the audio options from the music player. The HTC One mini 2 carries over its own advantage - the front-facing speakers let you better appreciate movie audio.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Subtitles and audio options are available in the Galaxy Alpha video player

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has the feature-rich S Health app, which can use the on-phone sensors (including heart rate) as well as Gear smartwatches and third-party accessories. It can track exercise (walking, jogging, cycling) and what you eat. It will even track your sleep and stress.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

S Health app works with third-party accessories too

The HTC Guide app can help you troubleshoot the phone and diagnose issues. And if it comes to calling tech support, a helpful screen shows info support might ask you about, great for non-techies who don't know what IMEI means.

Both phones feature backup solutions that can automatically do daily backups and send the info to the cloud. It can be restored from there in the event you lose your phone or have to remote-wipe it.

Both apps will back up contacts, messages, bookmarks and additional info. HTC will also back up app data so reinstalling apps will restore their settings automatically. Note that this only works if you back up to an HTC account rather than Google.

HTC traditionally has an option to copy contacts and messages from your old phone, which facilitates the switch to your new One mini 2. If you're upgrading from an Android phone, Google will take care of that by syncing seamlessly, but in case you're trading in an iPhone this app can save you some hassle. That's only if you haven't synced your iPhone with Google's services though.

Winner: Tie. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a more capable music player and the comprehensive S Health app, subtitle support in videos was nice to see as well.

On the other hand, the HTC One mini 2 gallery and Zoe are well ahead of Samsung's alternatives and the Guide app is a nice idea. Still, you might need third-party apps to plug the gaps in functionality of some Sense apps.

Loudspeaker

The HTC One mini 2 has a definite advantage with its two front-facing speakers. For music playback they sound better and are louder too. The two speakers perform better for ringing and notifications too.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha was quitter in general and its single speaker isn't as nice for music. Not that stereo speakers are a guarantee for loudness, the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is slightly behind the Galaxy Alpha in terms of loudness (perhaps due to waterproofing).

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
LG G2 mini 65.2 67.7 64.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact 65.9 62.1 73.5 Average
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 66.6 61.7 75.7 Average
HTC One (M8) 65.8 64.7 75.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy S5 66.9 66.6 75.7 Good
HTC One mini 2 69.3 66.6 75.9 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
Motorola Moto G 4G 77.1 76 83.3 Excellent


Winner: HTC One mini 2. HTC has done well to turn audio into its trademark. With the loudspeaker part nailed, it has to win the next chapter too for complete audio domination.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha loudspeaker is usable for notifications and it's nice that it doesn't get muffled when you put the phone on a table but there are few other good things about it.

Audio quality

The Galaxy Alpha does an excellent as far as the quality of its audio output is concerned. The Samsung smartphone has a perfect output when it's connected to an active external amplifier and doesn't allow for much deterioration when you plug in a pair of headphones

However, what it faced here is the One mini 2 - arguably the best performing smartphone when it comes to music playback. The HTC handset does everything perfectly right, which allowed it to stroll to the victory even with such fierce competition.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Alpha +0.01, -0.04 -96.6 92.8 0.0058 0.0091 -97.1
Samsung Galaxy Alpha (headphones attached) +0.04, -0.01 -95.7 92.7 0.013 0.033 -65.6
HTC One mini 2 +0.02, -0.09 -94.8 93.8 0.010 0.011 -93.5
HTC One mini 2 (headphones attached) +0.08, -0.03 -94.9 93.8 0.028 0.022 -90.1

Samsung Galaxy Alpha frequency response

Samsung Galaxy Alpha frequency response

HTC One mini 2 frequency response

HTC One mini 2 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Winner: HTC One mini 2. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha does very well in terms of audio output and will please even demanding audiophiles, but it's still no match for the One mini 2.

Still camera features

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha uses a 12MP camera with a 16:9 sensor. That means photos natively fit widescreens like the one on the phone itself or your HDTV.

The HTC One mini 2 drops the low-resolution Ultrapixel camera of the big One (M8) and goes for a regular 13MP shooter. Pixels aren't as big as on the M8 (1.12µm vs. 2µm) but the added resolution is a welcome change. Another change is the move from a 16:9 sensor to a 4:3 one, so viewing on a widescreen will involve either letterboxing or cropping.

As for the front-facing cameras, HTC has equipped its premium mini with a 5MP shooter with a generous f/2.0 aperture. Samsung is using a bog-standard 2.1MP front-facing camera. Both can shoot 1080p video, but the still resolution advantage is heavily in favor of HTC (a statement we never had to make in 2013).

Anyway, the One mini 2 lacks HTC's proprietary ImageChip and certain options are missing, most notably Zoe. There is a Zoe app for creating Highlight videos, but you don't get things like recording short video clips after each photo.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC One mini 2 camera interface

A nice option for knowledgeable photographers is Manual Mode. It lets you tweak focus, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance. If auto mode doesn't get you the look you want, you can tune the camera yourself.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha uses a lower resolution sensor compared to its big sibling but gets the full feature set. That means Shot & more for some burst photo effects (erasing moving objects, duplicating them or just picking the best shot), dual camera (front and back camera in picture-in-picture mode).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha camera interface

The Alpha also has Selective Focus - a feature that snaps two photos and then uses software to fake rack focus. You can focus on different planes or bring everything into focus. The big HTC One (M8) has a similar feature (which it achieves with a single shot) but it requires the Duo Camera setup, which the One mini 2 lacks.

Photo quality

We'll start off by comparing the field of view for both cameras. The Galaxy Alpha is slightly wider, though because the HTC One mini 2 frame is taller - it fits more vertically and overall fits way more into the frame. This advantage will be lost if you crop the photos to 16:9 aspect ratio, essentially equalizing the fields of view.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The first thing we noticed (you can even see it in thumbnails) is the heavy yellow tint in HTC One mini 2's photos. It goes beyond warm white balance to the point where it's just too much. Here's a grey building and some white on the sign.

The Galaxy Alpha photo is a bit on the cold side but far closer to the truth. Note that the yellow tint in One mini 2's photos depends on the scene.

The Samsung oversaturates colors a bit, as does the HTC, though the green channel is off (perhaps because of the tint).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Anyway, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is sharper - the text in the first panel looks better and so does the foliage. Sometimes however, it's the processing that lets the Alpha down - the second panel shows roof tiles smudged away.

Still, that's fairly rare and, in most cases, the Galaxy Alpha produces the sharper images. The third panel demonstrates the difference in foliage and some slim elements in the scene. Samsung even reigned in its usual sharpening filter that was often too strong.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha's photos generally have less noise in them, though as we saw that can come at the cost of fine detail. The HTC One mini 2's images have noticeably more noise in them but it doesn't drown out fine detail.

A downside of the Samsung camera is that it pretty consistently underexposes shadows. The HTC camera is more careful with shadows but it overexposes bright areas in the image.

The Galaxy Alpha camera has a wider dynamic range managing to capture detail from both highlights and shadows pretty well. The HTC One mini 2 has more issues with shadows (even if it doesn't underexpose them).

Here are the full resolution photos used for the crops:

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha camera samples

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC One mini 2 camera samples

We enabled HDR mode and it had a positive effect on the HTC, brightening up shadows considerably. The effect was smaller in the Samsung phone but there was less need for it in the first place. It's good to see that neither manufacturer went for the surrealistic, over-the-top HDR we've seen before, particularly from HTC.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Here are the full-resolution shots we used to make the HDR crops.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Samsung Galaxy Alpha: HDR off (left) and HDR on (right)

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

HTC One mini 2: HDR off (left) and HDR on (right)

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Photos are not perfect but it's mostly nitpicking, the camera is sharp and the native 16:9 aspect ratio makes it better-suited for modern screens.

The HTC One mini 2 held its own, the One mini from last year with the 4MP UltraPixel camera wouldn't have done nearly as well. We also like the manual controls but we can't help but feel that HTC shortchanged the One mini 2 by excluding the ImageChip.

Video camera features

With a powerful chipset (be it Exynos or Snapdragon) the Samsung Galaxy Alpha can record 2160p@30fps videos and 1080p@60fps (which are perhaps more practical).

The HTC One mini 2 is capped at 1080p@30fps, its 60fps mode drops the resolution to 720p. Neither phone has optical image stabilization - HTC has moved away from it and Samsung is only bringing it to the Galaxy phones with the Note 4.

Anyway, for standard 1080p@30fps mode, the Galaxy Alpha uses 17Mbps bitrate while the One mini 2 goes slightly higher at 20Mbps. The Alpha raises the bitrate to 28Mbps for 1080p@60fps videos and to a storage-devouring 48Mbps for 2160p@30fps videos.

More importantly the audio capture is done at 256Kbps bitrate and 48kHz sampling rate, those are essentially the numbers used by the venerable Nokia Lumia 1020, although the Galaxy Alpha doesn't have the WDR microphones of the esteemed cameraphone. The One mini 2 is close behind with a bitrate of 200Kbps or so and 48kHz sampling rate.

There's something you need to know about the 2160p mode on the Samsung Galaxy Alpha - it limits videos to 4 minutes of length and disables features like Dual Camera, HDR, snapping photos during recording and video effects.

Video quality

Despite its bitrate advantage, the HTC One mini 2 noticeably lags behind its opponent in shooting 1080p@30fps videos. The jaggies on the diagonal line are telling enough but there's also less detail in the foliage and text.

The 2160p@30fps mode of the Galaxy Alpha beats the other two samples hands down - keep in mind that 2160p is 8.3MP, while 1080p is around 2.1MP. That's four times as many pixels, also twice as many pixels as the HTC One (M8) Ultrapixel camera has in total.

Anyway, the level of detail is unmatched (or should we say unmatchable) by any 1080p shooter. Yes, 2160p videos eat storage for breakfast, are limited in length and disable some features but they moer than make it up in terms of image quality. Especially now that UHD TVs are dropping in price (the holidays shopping this year should do wonders for UHD adoption).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Samsung video camera somehow oversaturates colors more than the still camera so that's a point against. However, HTC also went overboard and the colors look better-suited to a candy commercial than high-end smartphone video. The tint is still here too.

The audio quality in videos from both phones is very good, better than many phones we've tested. Of the two, the Galaxy Alpha sounds better to our ears, the sound is deeper and with more detail.

You can have a listen here, the videos below are what we used for the crops. Keep in mind that your computer might find 2160p hard to swallow.

We also tried out the high-frame rate (HFR) modes of both cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha shows a small image quality drop when it goes from 30fps to 60fps. Then again, the HTC One mini 2 drops to 720p (less than half the number of pixels) so it's difficult to even compare levels of detail.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Alpha. Even if you never use the 2160p mode, 60fps videos at 1080p trump those at 720p. The 1080p Galaxy Alpha videos were sharper at both frame rates and the phone captured better audio to boot.

The HTC One mini 2 held its own in the still camera department but its chipset just can't bear the more demanding video modes. Even in a level 1080p@30fps comparison the image quality just wasn't enough.

Final words

The Galaxy Alpha marks a new beginning for Samsung, which HTC may view as trespassing on their premium territory. Samsung may have found a weakness - HTC have a proper full-size flagship but their compact offering feels like a midranger at times.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has more devices to worry about, the high-profile targets being the Apple iPhone 6 and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact. The HTC One mini 2 is cheaper than all three and the iPhone is the only one matching its metal unibody.



The HTC workmanship didn't go unnoticed, we gave the One mini 2 high praise despite being a bit too big for its screen size. That's partly down to the BoomSound speakers, of course, which are excellent, as is the audio quality in general. With a microSD card slot the HTC can also carry more music on board.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha wins the performance competition by a country mile, which also allowed it to handle more demanding video - both in terms of resolution and framerate. The still camera also had an advantage in quality, though HTC recovered from the disappointment of the Duo Camera on the One (M8).

The Galaxy Alpha offers more screen real estate though HTC didn't skimp on the One mini 2 screen either. One area where the Super AMOLED display had a clear advantage was sunlight legibility.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Despite nearly equal screen brightness and a huge lead in performance, the Samsung phone actually offered better battery life. Not by much if you go by the Endurance rating alone but the small battery managed impressive feats in the individual tests.

In terms of software and additional features, the Galaxy Alpha matches its parent company's usual attitude of more is better. It has an almost complete copy of the Galaxy S5 software pack including the security features involving the fingerprint scanner, and the heart rate sensor.

HTC dropped some features from the One mini 2 compared to its big sibling which, along with the duly reduced processing speed, is more becoming of a midrange device than a flagship.

HTC One mini 2

HTC One mini 2

Again, the compact offering from HTC is cheaper than its Samsung opponent (funny, it's usually the opposite). Sure, it could have been closer to the One (M8) in certain respects but the premium feel isn't one of them.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha couldn't pull off a metal unibody but the metal frame design is shared by Nokia and Sony so it's in good company. The compact device is a beast in performance and lasts longer than you'd guess going by its nominal battery capacity. It has an excellent camera too, our biggest complaint about the device overall is that it omitted the waterproofing.

As we said early on, techies are more forgiving of imperfect design while others value build quality above raw chipset performance. That - and budget - will be the dividing line between those who buy a Samsung Galaxy Alpha and those who go for the HTC One mini 2.

Design and handling

The silhouette of both phones is virtually identical (the famous rounded rectangle) but the dimensions differ. Most crucially, the Samsung Galaxy Alpha is only 6.7mm thick, more than 30% thinner than the 10.6mm HTC One mini 2.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha is noticeably thinner than the One mini 2

The Galaxy Alpha is half a centimeter shorter too, despite having a bigger screen. HTC make this tradeoff to make room for the two front-facing speakers. The Alpha is lighter too, 115g vs. 137g, though the difference is small.

What makes a bigger difference for in-hand feel (and looks) is the back panel. The HTC One mini 2 has a sealed metal unibody and cards are put in trays that slot into the sides. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a removable plastic back cover so you can access the battery and SIM slot.

The premium feel of metal is a huge boon for the HTC phone while the Alpha doesn't even use the best plastic from Samsung. The dotted pattern is too small on this one so it doesn't quite look like perforated leather and the material feels smoother (more like plastic).

The exposed aluminum from the frame of the Alpha does improve things significantly compared to an all-plastic Galaxy. Still, a glass back (a la iPhone 4/4s or Xperia Z) or a matte polycarbonate (like Lumia 925/930) would have been a better choice.

The HTC One mini 2 has a rounded back which hides some of its thickness. The sharper edges of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha tend to poke into your wrist a bit, enough to remind you that it's made of hard metal but also enough to be slightly less comfortable than the smooth, round back of the One mini 2.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

A rounded, all-aluminum back on the HTC One mini 2

Both phones have their microUSB 2.0 ports on the bottom and their 3.5mm audio jacks on top. HTC has put the Power key also on top so it's slightly harder to reach on the taller phone.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

3.5mm audio jacks and microUSB ports

On the flip side, the on-screen buttons are further up the phone so they are easier to reach. On-screen buttons, however, mean the One mini 2 has less screen real estate left for apps.

The hardware home key on the Galaxy Alpha is very near the bottom and requires a more flexible thumb. It houses a fingerprint scanner of the swipe kind and using it is a learned skill - you have to run the entire top digit of your thumb against the key and the scanner can be sensitive to the angle at which of you're doing it.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Hardware keys and fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Alpha • on-screen buttons on the One mini 2

Speaker placement is important. The BoomSound speakers on the One mini 2 are on its front, while the single speaker on the Galaxy Alpha is at the bottom. Neither will get muffled when you put the phone on a table but the HTC is better at directing sound outward.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Front-facing stereo speakers from HTC • single speaker on the bottom from Samsung

The sides of the devices feature a volume rocker. The one on the Samsung is a bit too thin for our liking, while the one on the HTC is too flush with the sides. Overall neither is the most ergonomic to use.

The HTC One mini 2 has card slots on the left and right and you'll need a tool to open them. The SIM slot on the Galaxy Alpha are accessible without any tools but you'll need to remove the battery.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

A removable plasticy back cover • cards go on trays for the HTC

We come back around to the back of each device. We covered the differences in material but there's more to talk about. The Galaxy Alpha may be thinner but its camera module protrudes from the back, making it more vulnerable to damage. Next to it is the LED flash and the heart rate monitor (check the camera lens for finger smudges after measuring your heart rate).

Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2
Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs. HTC One Mini 2

Protruding camera with heart rate monitor • HTC's thicker phone has a flush camera

The HTC One mini 2 camera is flush with the back and also features a single LED flash. The secondary microphone is here too, while the Galaxy Alpha places its two mics on the top and bottom.

Winner: HTC One mini 2. There are plenty of half metal/half not phones out there from Apple, Sony, Nokia and others but metal unibodies are rare. The One mini 2 is certainly not the most compact 4.5" phone out there but it's still a joy to hold - and has stereo speakers to show for it.

The Galaxy Alpha is one of the best built phones by Samsung (the metal-clad Waves as good as forgotten). It's impressively thin and light too and doesn't add much bulk around its 4.7" screen. Still, that so-so plastic on the back doesn't do it any favors.