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.


Motorola DROID Mini

Motorola DROID Mini

Dimensions

4.77 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches

121.25 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Motorola DROID Ultra

Motorola DROID Ultra

Dimensions

5.41 x 2.8 x 0.28 inches

137.5 x 71.2 x 7.18 mm

Weight

4.83 oz (137 g)

Motorola DROID RAZR M

Motorola DROID RAZR M

Dimensions

4.82 x 2.4 x 0.33 inches

122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm

Weight

4.44 oz (126 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Motorola DROID Mini

Motorola DROID Mini

Dimensions

4.77 x 2.41 x 0.35 inches

121.25 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

Motorola DROID Ultra

Motorola DROID Ultra

Dimensions

5.41 x 2.8 x 0.28 inches

137.5 x 71.2 x 7.18 mm

Weight

4.83 oz (137 g)

Motorola DROID RAZR M

Motorola DROID RAZR M

Dimensions

4.82 x 2.4 x 0.33 inches

122.5 x 60.9 x 8.3 mm

Weight

4.44 oz (126 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm

Weight

4.59 oz (130 g)

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.


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.




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:



FEATURED VIDEO

32 Comments

1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

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

2. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 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?

10. FAUguy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

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

14. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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?

3. stuck_788

Posts: 54; Member since: Jul 26, 2013

perfect size phone

4. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

4.2.2 is Jellybean not Ice cream sandwich

8. FAUguy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

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

16. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 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.

18. ElScorcho

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 17, 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.

5. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

for me, 9Gb of storage is DOA

6. grant2

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 26, 2013

"we’d recommend using a pair of wired earbuds" FAUguy, Does the droid mini support 3-button headsets? (fastforward, pause, rewind)

7. ocilfa

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 03, 2012

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

9. FAUguy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 09, 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.

12. HowieDub

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 26, 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.

11. HowieDub

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 26, 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.

13. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Why is the review video private?

15. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

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

20. FAUguy

Posts: 78; Member since: Apr 09, 2008

It is now active.

17. rabidhunter

Posts: 90; Member since: Jul 05, 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!

19. ElScorcho

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 17, 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...

21. sudonym

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 29, 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.

22. grant2

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 26, 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.

23. dpinilla910

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 30, 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?

24. KewlDawg

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

25. akbar

Posts: 62; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

Is there a global version of the phone?

26. KewlDawg

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

27. mdsav

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 18, 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!

28. KewlDawg

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 10, 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.

29. mdsav

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 18, 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.

30. KewlDawg

Posts: 10; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Apps share in about 11GB of internal storage.
DROID Mini
  • Display 4.3" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 10 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Motorola X8, Dual-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 2000 mAh

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