Camera


This year, Motorola is featuring a new 10MP Clear Pixel camera on several of its devices, including the DROID line. Instead of using a standard RGB sensor, the Clear Pixel sensor uses RGBC, with the C standing for “clear”, which is said to help collect up to 75% more light. This is combined with an f/2.4 aperture lens and 1.4 micron pixel size.

The camera interface is identical to the one of the Moto X and DROID Ultra; minimalistic in its nature with some basic settings, and lacking any fancy color effects/modes. Swiping over to the right will pull-over a dial on the left that allows some user options for HDR, flash, tap to focus, slow motion video, panorama, geo-tag, shutter tone, and quick capture (which allows you to quickly launch the camera just by flipping it in your hand twice) though we did notice that it sometimes didn’t work all that well. There is also continuous burst shooting, all you have to do is press-and-hold on the screen for it to take one picture after another. One option missing is a way to change the camera resolution, as it is fixed at 10MP 4320x2432 pixel resolution widescreen.


Images that we took outside were not that impressive, though they were plenty bright, as some areas were over-exposed, and colors looked muted and dull, instead of vibrant and life-like. Even though there was plenty of visible detail, when zooming in we could tell that images weren’t as sharp as we would like.

For indoor images with bright light, images continued to look passable, but the ISO was at 640, which did cause for a bit of visible grain. As we moved to lower light, the ISO jumped all the way to 2500, which made the image plenty bright, but colors and details were noticeably blotchy looking. The single LED flash does a good job illuminating the room, but again we have an ISO of 2000 with a lot of grain, and colors have a bit of a green-hue to them.


Videos are recorded at 1080p resolution at 30fps and with a data rate of 17 Mbps, allowing for smooth playback without any jittering effect. Even though videos look good for the most part, we did notice that when going between bright and dark areas, it does take a few seconds for the exposure to readjust, and the focusing can take a couple seconds as well. Sound quality is pretty good, as it’s captured in 2ch stereo with a bit rate of 128 kbps and a 48 kHz sampling rate.



Multimedia


With the Motorola DROID Mini being almost stock Android as possible, the gallery app is straight forward and easy to use without any unnecessary clutter. All pictures and videos are shown in a thumbnail view, based on their file directory. But there are still some built-in picture adjustments available, such as color effect, borders, and cropping.

When it comes to video playback, again there are no surprises here, as it can play pretty much any file you can though at it, including MPEG4, H.264/263, DivX and Xvid.


The standard Google Play Music app can access your stored music files on the phone, allows for purchasing of songs and albums, and don’t forget about the All Access subscription feature. The small micro-dots next to the camera is where the speaker is located. Even though it sounds good, it seems to us that the DROID Ultra is capable of producing louder and fuller sounding music from its rear speaker. Still, we’d recommend using a pair of wired earbuds for an overall better quality music experience.


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: 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 (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: 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 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: 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.
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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