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Small, affordable but packs a big Android wallop: First Look

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First Look: Small, affordable but packs a big Android wallop

3:33 /

The $99.99 Motorola Droid Mini is compact and attractively priced yet squeezes in many of the slick Android features of its larger Droid brethren.

-Hi. This is Brian Bennett for CNET.com. And right now, we're taking a first look at the Motorola Droid Mini, super small compact and very lightweight, you may not think much of the mini. After all, it does occupy the lowest [unk] I Motorola's Droid lineup for 2013. I have to say, though, that this little guy packs quite a mobile punch and for an affordable price too available now on Verizon for $99.99 with 2-year contract. The Droid Mini offers most of the same core features you'll find on Motorola's more expensive new Droid models, namely the $199.99 Droid Ultra and $299.99 Droid Maxx. Driving the phones Android 4.2.2 Jellybean software is Motorola's fresh X8 Mobile Computing Platform. It cramps 6 discreet processing centers around a dual-core 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU. And ability called touch-less control means the phone is constantly listening out for your vocal commands. Just say the words "Okay, Google Now." Then tell the Mini what you'd like it to do. There are a long list of commands at your disposal including ones for sending texts, e-mails and making calls. You can also look up places, get directions, set reminders and check the correct forecast. A feature called Active Display handedly showcases phone alerts on the screen when the Droid Mini is sleeping. The Droid Mini also feels very nimble and responsive, whether that's flipping through homescreens or settings menus. There are 5 homescreens you can personalize with your choice of applications shortcuts and widgets. The main screen features the useful circles widget that [unk] older Motorola handsets. It displays a time, weather, battery level, plus offers fast access to settings and to other sleek abilities. These are wireless display to mirror the Mini screen to compatible TVs and monitors, androids app which shares photos and video with other Android phones nearby. The Droid Mini 720p screen measures 4.3 inches bigger than the iPhones but relatively small compared with most Android phones. It does get pretty bright though and has vibrant colors. Above the display is a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, while below set 3 capacitive buttons for basic Android control. The only physical keys are on the right edge; a volume rocker and power button. The bottom lip holds a micro USB port and up top is the mini's 3.5 mm headphone jack. Around back is the phone's main 10-megapixel camera with LED Flash. Like the Moto X, Droid Ultra and Droid Maxx twisting to many a few times in your wrist fires up the camera app. It offers minimal controls and settings but does have important shooting mode such as HDR, Slow-motion video and Panorama. Snap images by tapping anywhere on the screen holding your finger down takes multiple shots in a row. You can also zoom in and out by swiping up and down. One thing I really don't like about the Droid Mini are its glossy surfaces. Like the Droid Ultra, this phone gets covered in fingerprints and smudges in no time. There's no SD card slot either to expand the Mini's 16 gigabytes of internal storage. The Droid Mini's power source is a sizeable 2000 mAh battery, which Motorola says, provides 28 hours of run time. I also like that just like the other new Droids. The Mini supports the [unk] standard for wireless charging. Connecting to Verizon's 4G LTE Network, the Droid Mini can grab fast data speed that is if you're in an LTE coverage area. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET.com and this has been a first look at the Motorola Droid Mini.

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