Samsung Galaxy Mini review

Full review: Can this budget Android phone rival the HTC Wildfire S

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Great value handset, but we're waiting for Gingerbread...

Samsung’s Galaxy family has been breeding like wild fire in recent months. The latest addition to the Android-focused fam’ is the Galaxy Mini, a pared down, budget blower that aims to offer the full-on Google experience without a recession-busting price tag. But just how does this cell stack up? And is it worth plumping for over the brilliant HTC Wildfire S?

Samsung Galaxy Mini Controls

The Galaxy Mini’s controls take their cue from the pricier Samsung Galaxy S2. That means you get a central home key, with a back button to the right and menu key to the left. This arrangement is easy to get to grips with and helpfully aids the simple touchscreen Android controls. The simple Android menu structure, coupled with multiple homescreens and a lack of any awkward custom skin means the Galaxy Mini is a breeze to get along with.

Samsung Galaxy Mini Android

Sadly, the version of Android here is 2.2 FroYo, rather than the current 2.3 Gingerbread iteration. While that’s not exactly devastating news for entry-level users, there’s no excuse considering the rival HTC Wildfire S comes with Gingerbread under the hood, although it is a bit more expensive. That said, Samsung has promised a software upgrade, “…in the near future”.

Samsung Galaxy Mini Features

Being a phone of the budget variety, the Galaxy Mini’s features can’t compare to its more expensive stablemates. The camera clocks in at a measly 3.2 megapixels, and while Android means you can easily share shots with your Facebook pals and on Picasa, the quality is average, with no flash to boost low light images. Video is shot at 320x280, which makes it barely useable for YouTube. This is all the more disappointing when you consider the Wildfire S’s 5MP snapper.

Samsung Galaxy Mini Screen

While the 320x240 screen might not be the highest resolution going, its remarkably assured for such a cheap phone. It’s capacitive, so you can easily swipe through menus and homescreens, while the onscreen keyboard is impressively accurate. Proof, if it were needed, that touchscreens are getting better all the time.

Samsung Galaxy Mini Battery

We squeezed two days from the Galaxy Mini before we needed to find power. That included accessing email over 3G and Wi-Fi, watching videos, listening to music and trawling the web for football results for hours on ‘Survival Sunday’.

Samsung Galaxy Mini Verdict

Samsung’s Galaxy range has helped the Korean company to establish itself as a mobile top dog. The Galaxy Mini isn’t the best phone in the range, but it’s a decent choice at the price. The impending update to Gingerbread aids its cause, although the average camera means it can’t quite match the HTC Wildfire S.

Samsung Galaxy Mini price: £110-£150

Samsung Galaxy Mini launch date: Out now, link Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Mini Specs

  • OS: Android 2.2
  • Processor:600Mhz
  • Storage:164Mb, microSD
  • Screen:3.1-inch 240x320
  • Connectivity: WiFi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, aGPS, HSDPA 7.2Mbps
  • Camera:3-megapixel/320 x 240 video
  • 3G Talk time:380 minutes
  • Dimensions:110x61x12.1mm/106.6g