Interface and Functionality

Wow, take a look at that! The Motorola DROID Mini is running the exact same flavor of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean that we saw on the DROID Ultra. All joking aside, we’re glad to see Motorola using the same software across multiple devices in its DROID line-up. Like we mentioned before, it’s as close to stock as possible, with 5 home screens, apps drawer and widget selection, but still has some extra additions.

These include Touchless Control, which is voice recognition with the Google Now experience, Motorola Assist, Droid Zap for sharing images and videos to other nearby phones, Motorola Migrate to transfer setting from your old phone to your new phone, and Wireless Display. You can read more about these exclusive Motorola features in the DROID Ultra review here.

Everything else is pretty much stock Android, from the calendar, calculator, clock, and alarm, to the E-Mail and GMail apps. Just keep in mind that since the display is 4.3”, the on-screen keyboard is a bit cramped and the keys are a bit small in size, which may pose an issue for people with larger hands.

Processor and Memory

Again we see the use of new Motorola X8 SoC, which combines a 1.7 GHz dual-core application processor, 400 MHz quad-core GPU, a natural language processor core, and a contextual computing core. The latter of which is used for voice recognition of Touchless Controls and the behind-the-scenes working of Motorola Assist. (You can read more details about the X8 here).

Since the Motorola DROID Mini and DROID Ultra make use of the X8 processor and have 2GB of RAM, it’s only natural that both devices would have similar benchmark scores, but they also stack-up nicely when compared to other devices that use standard quad-core processors. The DROID Mini is plenty quick in its boot-up time, loading and running apps, multitasking, and playing games.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD) Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Motorola DROID Mini 8827 19252 5982 / 53 fps 2449 / 775
Motorola DROID Ultra 8609 19384 5973 / 53 fps 2455 / 768
Samsung Galaxy S4 12078 24701 4437 / 39 fps 1702 / 704
HTC One 12481 23308 3551 / 31 fps 2395 / 781

One area of disappointment with the new devices is that the DROID Mini and Ultra lack a microSD card slot for expanded storage, which means you are limited to the internal 16GB. This then gets divided into the Android OS (4.97GB), Apps, etc, which leaves you with about 9GB of usable space out of the box. The only way to have more storage space is to opt for the DROID MAXX, which comes with 32GB of internal storage.

Internet and Connectivity

Combining both the X8 processor and Verizon’s 4G LTE data network, the Chrome browser on the Mini is a breeze to use. Pages load fast and properly rendered, with pinch-to-zoom and scrolling being quite fluid.

When using the app, we were able to get between 15-27 Mbps downloads and 10-15 Mbps uploads depending on the area, time of day, and signal strength. Since the device is Global Roaming ready, it can also be used in other countries with EDGE/GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), HSPA/UMTS (850/900/1900/2100MHz), supporting HSDPA 42.2 Mbps (Category 20) and HSUPA 5.76 Mbps speeds.

Other connectivity includes Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0 with EDR, and NFC.



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: 79; 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 ( ): "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: 79; 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: 79; 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 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: 79; 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.
  • 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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