Performance: Speeds, processor, battery life
Performance was on par for a phone with Verizon's LTE data network and for the processor involved.
Starting with speeds, Verizon's data network was mostly strong in San Francisco, but was also spotty at times, churning out lower-than-average speeds in the downtown area. Anecdotally, I was able to download apps, stream videos, and upload content online with relative ease, and Web sites rarely hung or spun. You'll see timed results to some standard tests in the chart below.
Results with the diagnostic Speedtest.net app revealed a peak of 25Mbps down in San Francisco's metro center, with a high of 19Mbps up. My lowest lows, not shown in the screenshot here, were 1.36 Mbps down and 0.49Mbps up in the dead zones, though these weren't typical.
Internal speeds on the 1.2GHZ quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor were fair, but didn't break the land speed record by a long shot. The diagnostic Quadrant score came in at 9,795 (versus 24,593 on the M8). Both the Remix/One Mini 2 and Motorola Moto G pulled down comparable scores in Andrew Hoyle's Geekbench diagnostics.
In my real-world tests, navigation never seemed to drag; apps opened and tasks switched in an acceptable length of time. For instance, the phone's boot-up time and camera loading time were well within the realm of normal. Sure, it wasn't quite as light on its feet as other phones with more muscular chipsets, but it sure wasn't bad.
HTC One Remix performance testing
|Install CNET mobile app (5MB)||13.3 seconds|
|Load up CNET mobile app||5.2 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||4 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||17 seconds|
|Boot time to lock screen||13.3 seconds|
|Camera boot time||2 seconds|
|Camera, shot-to-shot time||Less than a second without flash|
Gaming is one area where the processing power makes a big difference, and that's certainly the case with the Remix. Graphics-heavy game Riptide GP2 played just fine, though with a tiny amount of lag and a lower frame rate per second than on lean, mean graphics machine like the M8 or Samsung Galaxy S5. In fact, the phone's hardware doesn't support all the game's most demanding graphics settings.
So far, the Remix's 2,100mAh battery lasts a full workday, requiring an overnight charge. Verizon rates battery life at 15.2 with standby time lasting up to 16.6 days. During our battery drain test for continuous talk time, it lasted 17 hours and 33 minutes.
In terms of storage, you'll find just 6GB of internal memory, but you'll be able to add up to 128GB more through a microSD card. The Remix has 1.5GB RAM and a digital SAR of 0.92 watts per kilogram.
I tested the Remix's call quality in San Francisco using Verizon's network. Call quality was acceptable, with a few minor problems here and there. Audio was strong on my end, with voices sounding warm and natural in a moderately loud room with the volume set at about three-quarters of the way up. White noise in the background made itself known, but didn't distract too much from the content of the call.
HTC One Remix audio quality sample
This background hush disappeared when speakerphone turned on, but it was also harder to hear my caller when I held the phone at hip level, even with the volume on max. Still, I appreciated the lack of echo, even if my test partner's voice sounded lispy when he spoke.
On the other end of the line, my tester said I sounded somewhat tinny, with an initial "warbly" vocal quality that subsided over time. Still, it was infinitely better than talking through speakerphone, he said, which made my voice sound distant and (again) warbly, and which made my speech hard to discern.
Buy it or skip it?
If your smartphone needs to look as good as it acts, then the HTC One Remix/HTC One Mini 2 is your kind of handset. Verizon subscribers who sign onto the two-year contract will shell out $100 (or less during a promotion). The same pricing will get you the original HTC One, LG G Vista, Kyocera Brigadier, and (another good buy). With its excellent camera and brushed metal jacket, the Remix tops the list.
However, if you're paying off-contract, its $450 cost is $50 more than a lot of those other phones, and true midrange-priced handsets besides, like the Motorola Moto X. If you're paying off-contract and it's a real bargain you're looking for on Verizon, you'd be better off passing up on the Remix in favor of another device.