Samsung Galaxy S III Mini: The Budget Flagship
Samsung Galaxy S III Mini
Samsung has just recently unveiled the new Galaxy S III Mini which is a down-sized and budget version of Samsung’s extremely famous Galaxy S III flagship. We initially expected the Mini to feature the same or similar specs seen in its older brother, but instead it looks as if Samsung has downgraded most of internals in an effort to reduce the cost. So, is the lower price worth it? Let’s check it out.
There is absolutely no difference in design from the Galaxy S III, other than the fact that it’s much smaller. Even the ports and buttons are all in the same place, so someone moving from the original to the mini will have no issues with adjusting. The smaller frame makes the phone much more comfortable to hold and use, because it doesn’t stretch your hand as much as the original S3. Oddly enough, the Galaxy S III Mini is actually thicker than the original one at 9.9mm versus 8.6mm on the S3. The phone is, thankfully, lighter at 111.5 grams vs 133 grams.There haven’t been any major changes, but it looks like Samsung has achieved what they were going for which is a smaller phone that is more compact.
The display in the phone is, obviously, much smaller at 4-inches compared to the previous 4.8-inches. The Super AMOLED display has a very meagre resolution of 800×480 (233 ppi) which is a major step down from the 720p display seen before. This was actually the display which was featured in the original Galaxy S in 2009. This is one of the major shortcomings of the Mini. The Super AMOLED is the same great display with excellent color reproduction and much deeper blacks, but the PenTile configuration is more prominent thanks to the lower screen resolution. This can and probably will be a major turn off for many potential buyers.
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The Mini has also, once again, compromised in the specs department (where Galaxy smartphones usually lead). There is a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM to fulfill the processing requirements. There’s also 8GB or 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded up to 32GB through a microSD card slot. The phone has all of the small bells and whistles like 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and even NFC which is very nice considering that this is a budget phone. The phone will only support 21.1 Mbps HSPA+ and not 4G LTE which is being rapidly deployed in Europe, the phone’s primary market. The camera on the back is a 5-megapixel shooter which can record 720p video and not 1080p even though it has dual-core. The front is a sad VGA camera for video chats and profile shots.
The only possible area where this phone truly shines is its software. Despite the relatively low-end specs, this phone is rocking the latest Android 4.1.1 JellyBean. The phone has all of the exact same features as the original S3, even S-Voice which is now useless thanks to Google Now. The phone manages to handle all of the software very smoothly with almost the same level of speed as its quad-core brethren. All in all the software is very good and performs surprisingly well with such weak specs, because we have all come to know that Android commands the best specs to perform flawlessly. This the quite a feat and I look forward to it being done again.
I can’t recommend the Galaxy S III Mini while there’s still a Galaxy Nexus out there
The Galaxy S III Mini is quite a good phone with excellent software but weak specs, as I have said many times. The S3 Mini will be retailing, unlocked, for $480 (€370, Rs.25000) in Europe, availability in other countries hasn’t been announced yet, but expect it to reach budget markets, like India, soon. It will be available in Marble White and Pebble Blue. The Galaxy Mini is very hard to recommend because the, much better, Galaxy Nexus is available for $130 less and it has much better specifications and features. Unless the smaller form factor is extremely important to you I suggest you try looking around for a Galaxy Nexus because it will be getting updates a lot longer than the Mini.
Update: Now there’s a Nexus 4 here at $300, and with some killer specs!
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