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Motorola DROID Mini Review

Posted: , by FAUguy

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Motorola DROID Mini Review
This is a small review of the Motorola DROID Mini, as it shares many of the same features that are on the DROID Ultra, which you can read about here.

Introduction


Just as the Motorola DROID Ultra is this year’s replacement for the DROID RAZR HD, the new DROID Mini takes the place of the DROID RAZR M in the line-up. In fact, both the DROID Mini and DROID Ultra share similar features, such as the 1.7GHz Motorola X8 SoC, 10MP Clear Pixel camera, and Kevlar construction. With the Mini, all is coming in a smaller package for those not looking for a massive smartphone.

Included in the retail package is the Motorola DROID Mini XT1030, wall charger with microUSB cable, and user guides.


Design


As the name implies, the Motorola DROID Mini is a smaller version of the DROID Ultra. In fact, it is almost the same size and weight as the DROID RAZR M, which makes it quite compact and comfortable to hold. Even though the DROID Mini is slightly thicker than the DROID Ultra, this doesn’t take away from the overall appearance.

The Motorola DROID Mini is quite compact and comfortable to hold - Motorola DROID Mini Review
The Motorola DROID Mini is quite compact and comfortable to hold - Motorola DROID Mini Review
The Motorola DROID Mini is quite compact and comfortable to hold - Motorola DROID Mini Review

The Motorola DROID Mini is quite compact and comfortable to hold


Motorola DROID Mini
4.77 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches
121.25 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Motorola DROID Mini

Motorola DROID Ultra
5.41 x 2.8 x 0.28 inches
137.5 x 71.2 x 7.18 mm
4.83 oz (137 g)

Motorola DROID Ultra

Motorola DROID RAZR M
4.82 x 2.4 x 0.33 inches
122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm
4.44 oz (126 g)

Motorola DROID RAZR M

Samsung Galaxy S4
5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Both the DROID Mini and DROID Ultra share the same Kevlar construction, allowing for it to be tough and durable, but at the same time we’re not a fan of the glossy backing that is a fingerprint magnet. We believe a better choice would have been the soft-touch coating, which is used on the DROID MAXX.

Front - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Capacitive control buttons - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Front camera - Motorola DROID Mini Review

Front

Capacitive control buttons

Front camera


Motorola has decided to bring back the dedicated capacitive control buttons (back, home, and recent apps) under the display, instead of using the on-screen buttons. Most likely this was done to make better use of the screen real-estate, while above it is a 2MP camera for self pics or video chatting. On the right edge of the phone is the power/lock key and volume rocker, which are raised-up and have a nice texture to them so they are easy to find. Up on top is a 3.5mm headset jack, with the microUSB port on the bottom, and the camera with LED flash and external speaker on the back. If you are wondering about the SIM card slot, it is actually part of the volume rocker. All you need to do is get your finger nail (or a small pin) under the center part, push up and pull out. This is an interesting way to make use of all available space, instead of having a separate SIM slot.

Right side - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Top - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Left - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review

Right side

Top

Left

Bottom - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Back - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review
Rear camera - The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini - Motorola DROID Mini Review

Bottom

Back

Rear camera

The sides of the Motorola DROID Mini




Display


Even though the DROID Ultra received a larger display this year, the DROID Mini remains at 4.3”, though instead of using Super AMOLED technology, the DROID Mini is sporting an LCD display with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels. When looking at the DROID Mini next to the DROID Ultra, the Super AMOLED on the Ultra does have more “pop” to it, but the LCD on the Mini still looks great. In fact, due to the higher pixels-per-inch, both text and images look a bit sharper on the DROID Mini. The only downside is that DROID Mini’s LCD screen doesn’t have as wide of viewing angles, and is not as bright and visible when viewed in heavy sunlight.

Also on board is the Active Display notification feature, which we’ve seen on the Moto X and DROID Ultra. Basically what it does it allows you to nudge the phone, and only the center of the display will turn on showing the date and time. Then if you get any notifications, such as a new message or a missed call, only that part of the display will turn on. This way, the device will conserve power since it does not have to turn on the entire display.

Motorola DROID Mini 360-Degrees View:



30 Comments
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posted on 26 Aug 2013, 06:19 1

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5724; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


What happened to call quality? The bigger brother suffered a bit on sound quality of incoming calls.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 08:13

2. Penywyz (banned) (Posts: 255; Member since: 13 Aug 2013)


Both of the reviews I have read on here, said that the call quality on the devices "did well" So what are you talking about?

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 15:51

10. FAUguy (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)


The Call Quality on both the DROID Mini and Ultra is identical. Voices sound clear and natural on both ends.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 23:36

14. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5724; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


From the Moto X review (http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Motorola-Moto-X-Review_id3379/page/4 ): "Voices have a subtle robotic tone to them through the Moto X’s earpiece and speakerphone."

I realize I am citing from the review of the X. My bad. I mixed up the review for the X with the review of the Ultra. Even better for the Mini and Ultra (and presumably for the Maxx as well). Out of curiosity, how long to the review of the Maxx?

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 08:31 1

3. stuck_788 (Posts: 7; Member since: 26 Jul 2013)


perfect size phone

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 09:11 1

4. o0Exia0o (Posts: 348; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


4.2.2 is Jellybean not Ice cream sandwich

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 15:44

8. FAUguy (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)


That's a mistake on my part, it is 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. We'll be correcting it. -FAUguy.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 02:54

16. o0Exia0o (Posts: 348; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)


FAUguy,
Just just a few questions about your review rating here. How is it that the Razr M from last year rated at 8.5 and the Droid Mini, which is the razr m successor, only rated at 8.5? The Razr M had a qHD screen and the mini has 720P screen, the Razr M did not have a wireless charging coil and the Droid Mini does, and the Razr M has a 0.3 VGA front facing camera while the Droid Mini has a 2.0 front facing camera. I know that not having an SD card reader on it is bad but given that against the hardware and software upgrades wouldnt that warrent a higher review rating than 8.5 which is the same rating that the Razr M received last year? Or am I missing some other faults that the Droid Mini has that the Razr M did not? I just thank that given the upgrades that the Droid Mini has that it should have gotten a little higher rating given last years model vs this years.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 15:25 1

18. ElScorcho (Posts: 21; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)


... the answer may be in the question : "from last year"
Even if still pretty good, the Razr M would hardly get 6.5 considering today's standards.
HTC desire was rated 9 in 2010... not sure it'd get 5 today !

I'm more sceptic about comparision w/ S4 mini who got the same mark, while Moto's Mini beats the sh*t out of Sammy's one at all stages : compactness, resolution/ppi, battery, RAM, graphic processor, camera, plus Moto X latest features.
Not sure lake of SD storage + LCD display is worth explaining the same mark.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 11:19

5. robocopvn (Posts: 179; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)


for me, 9Gb of storage is DOA

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 12:25

6. grant2 (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


"we’d recommend using a pair of wired earbuds"

FAUguy, Does the droid mini support 3-button headsets? (fastforward, pause, rewind)

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 14:42

7. ocilfa (Posts: 333; Member since: 03 Aug 2012)


No amoled, but it can do Active Display notifications? Is that even possible?

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 15:50

9. FAUguy (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)


The DROID Mini does have Active Notification, but it does turn on the full display, though it is all black with just the center showing the time and notification. On the DROID Ultra, only the center part of the display is actually turned on, with the rest of the display turned off.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 18:27

12. HowieDub (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


Looking at some forum posts, the active notification works a little different on the Mini...instead of constantly pulsing, it only comes on if it "senses" you're near the phone. There is an LED notification light on the Mini.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 18:25

11. HowieDub (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


"The only downside is that DROID Mini’s LCD screen...is not as bright and visible when viewed in heavy sunlight."

Not as bright as the AMOLED on the Ultra or just a general statement compared to other LCD phones? If it's a general statement, then it should be noted that the Ultra would be even harder to see in sunlight, considering that LCDs are brighter than AMOLEDs in sunlight.

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 19:52

13. mas11 (Posts: 1028; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Why is the review video private?

posted on 26 Aug 2013, 23:42

15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5724; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


+1. It is definitely private as of this post.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 15:43

20. FAUguy (Posts: 77; Member since: 09 Apr 2008)


It is now active.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 14:57 1

17. rabidhunter (Posts: 90; Member since: 05 Jul 2013)


This looks like a great for the price. The interenals of the latest Motorola phones are all the same. The performance is great on all of them. They all have a lot of really great features. 4.3" isn't a bad screen size. But where the DROID Mini shines is that it has it all for a lower price. Then consider Amazon or Wirefly, $49.99, sold!

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 15:30

19. ElScorcho (Posts: 21; Member since: 17 Jul 2013)


Waiting for an international version available in France... Maybe under the Razr brand?
Good thing is that it's global roaming ready i.e. usable in Europe, but crazy that phones cannot be bought alone in the US...

posted on 29 Aug 2013, 18:36

21. sudonym (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)


You can buy the phone at full price from Verizon's website, although I'm not sure if they would ship to Europe. If you do get it from Verizon, you can ask Verizon's customer service for a "Subsidy Unlock Code", which you can use to unlock the phone for use on other US carriers.

I want to purchase this phone from Verizon without a plan, unlock it, and use it on T-Mobile. My concern is that I'll be limited to the 2G network. From what I can tell it should work, but I just want some confirmation of this.

posted on 28 Sep 2013, 14:06

22. grant2 (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Aug 2013)


FAUguy did you ever get a chance to try this phone with a 3-button android headset?

I am curious if Motorola fixed this from the RazrHD series.

posted on 30 Sep 2013, 20:38

23. dpinilla910 (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Sep 2013)


I live in Colombia and i really want to buy the motorola drodi mini. How can i unlock the phone not being a Verison client?

posted on 14 Oct 2013, 09:11

24. KewlDawg (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Does anyone know if these include a FM radio?

Other, previous, MOT cells had the hardware, and only need an app added to gain a functional FM radio.

posted on 02 Nov 2013, 12:18

25. akbar (Posts: 62; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)


Is there a global version of the phone?

posted on 03 Nov 2013, 10:32

26. KewlDawg (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


It is global. When outside of the US, just replace VZW's LTE sim with a prepaid sim for the country you are currently in.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 15:30

27. mdsav (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)


thanks for the in depth review. one question, and sorry if i missed this, but how is the internal storage partitioned? In particular, I'm wondering if the apps partition is limited to about 1GB in this phone, as that's been a hurdle in every htc phone i've had. the in-store models have demo software on them so i can't tell there. thanks!

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 07:08

28. KewlDawg (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Apps share in about 11GB of internal storage.

Just to add, the Mini also supports an external OTG flash drive in its USB port.

posted on 20 Nov 2013, 12:09

29. mdsav (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)


cool thanks - do you know how much of that apps are allocated? it's been partitioned to about 1GB in the last two phones I've had.

posted on 21 Nov 2013, 06:26

30. KewlDawg (Posts: 10; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Apps share in about 11GB of internal storage.

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Motorola DROID Mini

Motorola DROID Mini

OS: Android 4.4.4 4.4 4.2.2
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (342 ppi) LCD
Camera10 megapixels
Hardware
Motorola X8, Dual core, 1700 MHz
2048 MB RAM
Size4.77 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches
(121.25 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm)
4.59 oz  (130 g)

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