Motorola DROID Mini Review

Call Quality


Just like with its big brother, the Motorola DROID Mini does well in this category. We made several calls over a couple of days, and voices on our end were clear and natural sounding. People that we talk to also said we sounded clear on their end, without any distortion or static. Volume was also good, as when turning it up all the way we could still hear callers while we were in a noisy environment. Signal reception was also respectable at -90dBm for 1x voice, and -103dBm for 4G LTE data.

Battery


As it turns out, both the Motorola DROID Mini and DROID RAZR M come with a 2000 mAh capacity internal battery, which is said to provide up to 28 hours of usage time or 14 days of standby time. In our testing, we were able to get up to 11 hours of continuous talk time (while the larger 2130 mAh battery on the DROID Ultra could provide 13 hours of talk time), or about 1.5 days of mixed usage. But if you are a power-user and want the maximum battery capacity available, then you should look at the DROID MAXX, as it comes with an impressive 3500mAh battery, though the device is larger overall.

Conclusion


With a 2-year contract price of $99.99, the Motorola DROID Mini is the most affordable of the new DROIDs, and still has the same X8 processor, software, and features that its larger siblings have. The DROID Mini is truly designed for someone that wants a smaller and more-compact smartphone. Even though the display is 4.3”, which is small by today’s standards, there is no way a larger display would fit, without making the device larger as well. Overall, we believe that Motorola did a nice job balancing form and function with the DROID Mini.

Software version on the reviewed unit:
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Baseband version: MSM8960PRO_BP_2323.011.75.00R
Kernel version: 3.4.42-gfd1a699-00151gc170e6f
Build date: Tue Aug 6 18:39:38 CDT 2013
Build number: 12.9.0Q2.X-160-OBK_TA-14-7



Pros

  • Nice size for compact smartphone lovers
  • Close to stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with exclusive Motorola apps
  • Excellent call quality

Cons

  • Glossy back is fingerprint magnet
  • Lacks expandable storage

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

User Rating:

9.2
6 Reviews

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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