Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

As predicted Samsung has launched a 'mini' version of the Galaxy S4. We got to spend some time with the new Galaxy smartphone at the Samsung Galaxy & Ativ event at London's Earls Court. Here's our Samsung Galaxy S4 mini hands-on review. See also Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S4 mini comparison review.

The first thing we should really say, is that it's pretty hard to get excited about the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. It's a bit like dating the ugly sister – not that we're saying the S4 mini is ugly – it's just not as good as it's sibling (the Galaxy S4 proper). Take a look at what's the best Samsung Galaxy smartphone?

That said, the S4 mini still has a lot of things going for it, and if you judge it on its own merits, you can't help but be impressed with the Android smartphone. See: Samsung Galaxy S4 Active hands-on review.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: design and build

I have to admit that I prefer the size of the S4 mini to the S4. The arms race of big screened smartphones can go too far sometimes, and I think the 4.3-inch screen size of the S4 mini is a lot more practical and convenient for everyday use. See also: Group test: What's the best smartphone?

The Galaxy S4 mini feels nice in the hand. It's not a heavy phone at all and as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it's nice to be able to reach everything on the screen without overstretching your thumb.

I feel that Samsung has missed a trick with the design of the S4 and the S4 mini though, as it still feels a little bit cheap and plastic in terms of its finish. Other smartphone manufactures are all opting for cool aluminum frames, which makes the S4 mini seem a bit wimpy in comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: hardware

The hardware of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is good, but hardly inspiring. It's definitely in the Premier League in terms of its spec, but it's definitely not going to be pushing for a Champions League spot come the end of the season. To carry on the football theme, think of this phone as Everton, it does all of the right things, but it will never challenge with the big boys. Which is fine, that's not what the S4 mini was designed to do.

The 580x960, 4.3in SuperAMOLED screen with 256ppi is very sharp to look at, and is something that you come to expect from high-end Samsung smartphones. The dual-core Qualcomm snapdragon processor is also a welcome addition and will provide plenty of oomph to keep this phone snappy when using more demanding apps; 1.5GB of RAM (2GB for the LTE model) is more than ample too.

In terms of storage the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is pretty well equipped. It comes with 8GB of internal storage, of which 5GB is available to the user. This isn't exactly huge, but the good news is that there is a microSD slot, which users can use to boost the phone's storage by up to 64GB too.

There are two pretty decent cameras on offer here. The main is an 8Mp camera, complete with autofocus and an LED flash, the second is a 1.9Mp front facing camera which is more than good enough for snap-chat and Skyping your friends with.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: software

As you'd expect, the S4 mini comes with the latest version of Android preinstalled (4.2.2 Jelly Bean), with Samsung's TouchWiz interface.

A few of the full S4's software features have been dropped though. The S4 mini has S Voice, S Translator, Group Play and Screen Mirroring, but doesn't have the following S4 features: Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, Dual Shot and Air Gesture.

Verdict

The Galaxy S4 mini seems like a much better option than when Samsung brought along the Galaxy S3 mini. It's a nice size and has pretty good features. The price of nearly £400 puts it in a strange position though as you may as well spend more to reach flagship level or go for something cheaper like the Nexus 4.

Samsung Galaxy S4 mini: specs

Network
LTE
3G
Display
4.3”qHD (16:9 wide view) Super AMOLED
CPU
1.7 GHz Dual-Core Processor
OS
Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Camera
Rear : 8Mp
Front: 1.9Mp
Camera Features
Sound & Shot, Night(Low Light Shot), Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face(include Live Beauty), HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports, Continuous Shot
Video
Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark
Audio
Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, Vorbis(OGG), FLAC, apt-X
Additional Features
Group Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document,
Play Games
Story Album, S Translator
Samsung Hub, ChatON , Samsung WatchON
S Travel (TripAdvisor), S Voice™,
S Health (Downloadable from Samsung Apps)
Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound
Safety Assistance, Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring, HomeSync, Smart Switch
Samsung KNOX
Google Mobile Services
Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Messenger,
Google Play Store, Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk,
Google Local, Google Navigation, Voice Search, Chrome
Availability of Google Play Books, Play Movies, Play Music,
Play Magazine varies by region.
Connectivity
WiFi 5.0GHz a/b/g/n
GPS + GLONASS
Bluetooth v4.0 (LE), NFC (LTE version only)
IR LED (Remote Control)
Sensor
Accelerometer, Light, Proximity, Gyro, Magnetic
Memory
8GB Internal memory (User Memory approximately 5GB) + microSD (up to 64GB), 1.5GB RAM
User memory space may be less than the total memory space due to system files. User memory may different by region, carrier, and supporting language, and may change after software upgrade.
Dimension
124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94mm, 107g (3G Dual SIM version:108g)
Battery
1,900mAh


 

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