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Motorola DROID mini hands-on

Motorola DROID mini hands-on

Small, medium, and large. That seems like the mentality with Motorola nowadays, as they announced its latest devices in the longstanding DROID family line with Verizon. Although some would believe that there would be a compromise made with a device that’s attached with the ‘mini’ moniker, Motorola intends to buck the trend by delivering a new DROID that doesn’t compromise much – aside from size, of course. Well, that’s where the Motorola DROID mini comes to mind, as it really is a miniaturized version of its siblings.


Just like the DROID RAZR M from last year, the DROID mini features a 4.3-inch edge-to-edge display that’s more fitting for a device tagged with the ‘mini’ name. Rather than being AMOLED based, like what its siblings are using, this one is actually a TFT display, which interestingly enough, still has a polarizing look to its aura – thanks mostly to its iridescent color output. At the same time, it’s wickedly detailed too with its 720 x 1280 pixel resolution (720p), which delivers an admirable 342 ppi pixel density. At the end of the day, it still has that same glow to attract attention – albeit, there’s a subtle amount of distortion at wide viewing angles.


Gone is the rubbery Kevlar material employed by the DROID RAZR M, and instead, it’s flaunting a glossy finish that’s more prone to fingerprints and smudges. Despite that one unfavorable aspect, we truly love how this is super compact and easier to hold in the hand – something that’s significantly easier over the other new DROIDs. It’s not as thin as the DROID Ultra, but frankly speaking, its smaller size easily makes up for a lot of things. Still, when we look at the thing, it’s quite evident that Motorola didn’t want to steer clear from the design aesthetics of its predecessor.


We won’t get into any more detail in this particular category, seeing that it’s running the same Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean experience that’s showcased on the DROID Ultra and DROID MAXX as well. Visually, it pays homage to the style of stock Android, but it receives some new enhancements that deepen its functionality (touchless controls, active notification, and quick camera access). As we’ve detailed from the beginning, Motorola made sure to provide users with an uncompromised experience with the DROID mini. And surely enough, that seems like the case here!

Oh snap! The Motorola DROID mini has one snappy performance that remarkably seems similar to what its siblings are also able to produce. Surprise-surprise everyone! The reason why it’s moving so effortlessly with the same tasks is because it’s running the same processor under the hood, a dual-core 1.7GHz Motorola X8 Mobile Computing system that’s complemented by 2GB of RAM and a 400MHz quad-core GPU. By now, this handset is proving to us that it isn’t like the other ‘mini’ devices that its rivals offer, but instead, it’s so much more.


Don’t let its size or name fool you, mainly because the Motorola DROID mini is a small bundle of joy that doesn’t have the same compromises we'd typically be exposed to by something of this caliber. Rather than gracing it with a lower resolution display and fluffier processing hardware, Motorola is somehow able to magically give almost everything that’s in the Motorola DROID Ultra into the DROID mini. Concurrently, it’s receiving a price point that’s also half the cost of its sibling too – $99.99 with a 2-year contract. At the moment, we’ll be reserved with our judgment until we check out a final version, but it’s shaping out to be a wonderful mid-range offering.

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posted on 23 Jul 2013, 18:57 3

1. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

Does it come in white!!!?

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 22:22

11. Birds (Posts: 1171; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)

I want it in bright, bright, bright, bright, bright orange....e.O....

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 19:19

2. sabretigger (Posts: 67; Member since: 15 Sep 2012)

droiddoes.com actually lists the display as super amoled panel. Am wondering, where does the sim card slot go? Are the back covers interchangeable?

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 20:18

6. o0Exia0o (Posts: 901; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)

It has a Nano Sim that is built in to the phone. It is not interchangeable like the previous generation.

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 19:28

3. Genersis (Posts: 219; Member since: 29 May 2013)

Wait, not pentile or even AMOLED? Wow; WANT.
Though it says on Verizon's site that it's Super AMOLED, are you sure John V. that it's TFT?

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 19:36

4. roldefol (Posts: 4365; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

I think Verizon's site was a bit rushed. There's a lot of accidental overlap in their specs, like listing the MAXX having a 2130 mAh battery. Motorola.com has the real specs, and they don't list the Mini as an AMOLED.

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 20:13

5. Genersis (Posts: 219; Member since: 29 May 2013)

Oh, thanks. I did notice the specs seems almost identical to the Ultra.
Irritatingly, the UK Motorola site hasn't been updated yet, I really should of checked the US one.

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 20:21

7. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

Very disappointed what happened today. Their only saving grace is the Droid mini only because it matches the supposedly flagship models and is the best mini out of the competition.
As a Note 2 owner why should I even upgrade (or should I say downgrade) to a Droid maxx at $300? The Note 3 will just be too much for these droids to handle at the same cost. Even the S4 and HTC One are better phones. Did Motorola forget how to make a flagship phone?

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 21:05

8. Avenger337 (Posts: 81; Member since: 14 Apr 2013)

Looks interesting this smartphone. No need to show off what it offers is not bad

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 21:42

9. htc_evo_3d (Posts: 84; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)

John V's camera man made a worse thing. the video was blurring out continuously throughout the video.

posted on 23 Jul 2013, 22:08 1

10. EXkurogane (Posts: 863; Member since: 07 Mar 2013)

The Droid Mini kicks HTC One mini and Galaxy S4 mini's a$s, but the Ultra and MAXX, meh...
Motorola even have the balls to call their X8 processor an 8-core processor when it is actually a dual core, while other are specific task cores and graphic cores.

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 00:43

12. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 813; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)

For all people who are not satisfied with dual cores, I feel that in the race of specs, companies have now realised that real life performances of these devices are very good with dual cores & do not need quad cores etc. Vanilla android works well even on single cores (example my HTC One V which has android+"heavy" HTC sense+512MB RAM. The performance is "OK". Without HTC sense, it would run just fine on single core.)So I can say that dual core is enough for any OS (iOS, Android, Windows, Windows desktop etc). Plus it is coupled with 2GB RAM+better GPU, which would help it give great real world performance.

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 00:52

13. kabhijeet.16 (Posts: 813; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)

Can this BE any better? Mini version is getting the same kinda hardware,only screen size varies. AWESOME, no doubts...

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 02:47

14. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Eh? It is not making any compromises because it's larger siblings are already compromised with mid range specs.

In reality, all the mini's are about as high end as you can get without having them outperform the high end phones. If you put a Snapdragon 600 into a screen less than 720p, it will outperform a handset using the same chip with a 1080p screen. That is marketing suicide and only HTC was stupid enough to do it with the One S and One X where the One S outperformed the One X handily in everything except scree quality.

The Snapdragon 600 also needs a batter that is at least 2300 mah and a battery that big doesn't jive with a small and thin phone.

So basically the iphone specs, less than 720p, dualcore cpu, 1gb of ram, and 1400 mah battery is top of the line.

If it was that easy to make a S600 + 1080p + 2600 mah with a 4 inch screen phone that is compact and thin someone would have at least came close to that by now. No one is even close and that is why people that expect that are dreaming.

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 04:59

15. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 2195; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)

AWESOME droid..

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 07:40

16. kpeanut (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Jul 2013)

Does anyone have any idea if these are UK bound? The Mini ticks all the boxes for my long awaited new phone and I'm dying to get my hands on one. I know the Moto X is supposedly US only and I'm hoping this isn't the case with the Droids too.

posted on 24 Jul 2013, 11:38

17. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)

Over the last 15 years, I have owned two Motorolas. I can honestly say that I have been very happy with them. I dropped one Motorala phone getting into a evelator on the second floor at my work and it fell into the basement (dropped atleast 27-30 feet) . When I got it back, it was in three pieces. I put it together and put the battery in and it worked like nothing happend. That would never happen to these new smartphones, but I think its time to give this brand a new look. I have had a Sony, Samsung, LG, and Nokias since, and was thinking about a new S4, but now its time to go back to a Driod or a Moto X if available on Rogers/Fido network in Toronto.

posted on 25 Jul 2013, 22:49

18. sando09 (Posts: 4; Member since: 09 Sep 2012)

will it work with gsm networks

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