Making sure it was ok if I panned what they sent, I accepted. Enter my first device. The HTC One Mini. The bottom line is the device performs much better than my Droid Motorola Razer Maxx, and is more comfortable to hold than many of the larger phones now dominating the market.
Although the phone has been on the market for a few months already (with rumors that the phone's successor will hit the market soon), I don't believe I would have been able to easily tell that the phone was al most a generation back after putting it through the motions.
Without going in to the specs of the phone too far (as you can easily find them on HTC's site), here are my impressions.
The Real Feel and Appearance
I'd like to point out that from the moment I unboxed the phone it felt solid. Real solid. I directly attribute this to it's all metal casing. (Which is a nice departure from the plastic casing that's already showing some wear on the S5 I've had for three weeks.)
The on button is on top, volume is on the upper right... exactly where I would want the buttons to be for one handed operation. A few people (online via a Google search) mentioned that some of the phones had "air cracks" which showed up on the sides of the phone, but either I was lucky and got a better batch of phones or the problem has been since fixed.
The weight was heavier than what I would expect for a phone of it's size, but that is not to say that the phone was heavy. To that end, I can't agree more that the HTC One Mini was the right size for my hand. The buttons are aligned as I would expect.
The speakers were far better than I expected, and I found myself wondering if the rumored $3.2 billion dollars Apple is rumored to be paying for BeatsAudio was worth it.
Just press the shutter and instantly shoot 20 photos in rapid succession. This was fantastic for getting the right shot, but a pain in the ass to then have to go in and delete all of the photos I didn't want. I suppose the trick will be finding a happy medium of what and when to shoot (along with the desired setting).
Battery Life was fantastic. I left it sitting in my desk for three days (without push apps such as HootSuite enabled) and the phone lasted for more than two days. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Overall, I'd give the phone a stamp of approval... almost to the point where I returned my S5 to see wait the short few weeks until the Mini's second act hit the market. Perhaps HTC isn't out of the game yet...