Sporting a plastic body, the Mini resembles its larger cousin in shape and form, but is obviously smaller. Like the S4's, the plastic build doesn't feel flimsy. I do, however, have an issue with the glossy rear cover, which ends up being fingerprint-smudged and oily after use.
The Galaxy S4 Mini looks like a Galaxy S4, only smaller.
One thing I liked about the phone's smaller size is that it's much easier to hold. You won't have to worry about the phone slipping out of your hand. The S4 Mini sports a 4.3-inch qHD (960x540 pixels) Super AMOLED display, which delivers quite a sharp resolution. However, I found the fonts a little too small in some apps and had to increase the size manually for readability.
The button layout is the same as on the S4.
The S4 Mini comes loaded with an impressive array of connectivity options, including LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth. There's also a microSD card slot that's located underneath the removable battery.
While the S4 Mini does pack impressive specs, it also has to compromise on some parts -- the handset comes with only 8GB of onboard storage as well as just 1.5GB of RAM. It's likely you will have to use a microSD card if you need more space.
The handset features a removable 1,900mAh battery, for those who prefer swapping out instead of carrying a charger around.
The S4 Mini has an 8-megapixel main camera.
The S4 Mini runs Android 4.2 with Samsung's TouchWiz UI, and you will be pleased to note that a few of the S4 software-based features have trickled down. The handset will come with Smart Stay (which keeps the display on if you're looking at it), Palm motion control (which lets you pause your video or audio), Group Play (which lets you share music to play on other Samsung handsets, as well as host multiplayer games), as well as the S Memo and S Translator apps. Read our Galaxy S4 review for more on these features.
As there's an IR blaster in the phone, the S4 Mini also comes packing the Samsung WatchOn app. It shows programming information for your TV channels and lets you control your TV as well.
The S4 Mini's 8-megapixel camera performance is pretty good. It's on par with the S4's, with plenty of details and a lack of noise in the outdoor test shots. The only weakness is the S4 Mini's inability to take good low-light shots, which looked even worse than the S4's.
Outdoor test shot.
Indoor test shot.
Low-light test shot.
Test shot with flash.
Packing a 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, the S4 Mini performed smoothly. A test run with 3DMark's benchmark app revealed scores of 5,664 and 2,914 for the Ice Storm and Ice Storm Extreme tests.
Battery performance was decent, lasting a full day of moderate to heavy use before the phone died. This included surfing the Web and social-media platforms as well as having two e-mail accounts, Facebook, and Twitter set to give push notifications.
The S4 Mini's audio is pretty loud -- you'll be able to hear notifications while it is in your pocket. Voice clarity on calls was pretty good with no distortions heard from the other party.
Priced at 390 GBP, or about $580, the S4 Mini isn't really supercheap. You do get a few of the S4's features, as well as the design, but it's not the "chock-full of features" that made the S4 so overwhelming for some. The S4 Mini's decent hardware and good performance make this a great midrange device for folks who don't want the large handsets of today.
|Processor||Dual-Core 1.7 Ghz|
|RAM Memory||2 GB|
|Operating System||Android 4.2|