Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

Can the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini compete with our phone of year - the Galaxy S3?

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Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini review

For

  • Slim profile
  • Samsung apps
  • Jelly Bean as standard

Against

  • Lack of storage
  • Poor camera
  • Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is a pared down version of the top-tier Galaxy S3, but does it do enough to compete with its rivals?

Packing an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS in a smaller package than the original, the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini offers Super AMOLED skills but it’s up against the Motorola Razr i, Sony Xperia P and the original iPhone 4.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Size and build

The Mini remains identical to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in design terms. There’s a slim plastic body and removable back panel for the battery, SIM and MicroSD card. On the surrounding edges, there’s just the power button and a volume rocker.

Everything is smaller than the Galaxy S3, naturally. Samsung can claim an ultra lightweight body as the Galaxy S3 Mini clocks in at 111.5 grams, designed to undercut the iPhone 5 by just half a gram. It matches the body of the iPhone 5 for size and the screen is now 4 inches as opposed to 4.8 inches.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Features

Everything’s been downsized from the original Galaxy S3. A dual-core processor replaces the quad-core one, a five megapixel camera replaces the 8 megapixel one and internal storage is now just 8GB, though there’s the MicroSD expansion option.

Familiar Samsung apps like S Voice are Memo are embedded within the Jelly Bean OS and there’s a decent pair of headphones in the box, offering a good upgrade from the poor headphones that accompany many Android smartphones that aren’t made by Sony...

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Screen

The four-inch display is a Super AMOLED screen but there’s a drop in resolution compared to the normal Galaxy S3. It’s 480x800 pixels which means a 233 pixels per inch density compared the the wunder window display of the 306 pixels per inch of the Galaxy S3.

Remember that an iPhone 4 now costs the same as a Galaxy 3 Mini and has 330 pixels per inch. Overall, the screen looks sharp and is responsive but we know there’s better for the money and, really, we miss the 4.8-inch screen of the full fat Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Performance

The Galaxy S3 Mini isn’t slow and is able to handle multiple apps at speed with no slowdown. Yes, you’ll notice the dual-core processor struggle with the latest games aimed at high-end smartphones but the presence of Jelly Bean out of the box and extra Samsung apps add value.

The camera looks woefully average in 2012 - it’s a five megapixel sensor under the bonnet but the results aren’t as convincing as cheaper rivals and a full step back from iPhone 4 or Motorola Razr i camera performance.

Images lack definition, shutter speed is slow and low light shooting is particularly bad. The 8GB is storage isn’t great for music or app fans either and although you can use a MicroSD card, we’re surprised that the Galaxy S3 Mini doesn’t offer 16GB as standard.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Battery

The 1500mAh battery lasts a day and half with heavy use which is commendable and matches rivals in the same price band.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini looks like a Galaxy S3 but has been stripped of all the things that made that smartphone the T3 smartphone of the year. It doesn’t look as nice as an iPhone 4, doesn’t have the camera skills of Sony smartphones and has a lesser screen than the Motorola Razr i.

The real killer is that it doesn’t cost that much less than a Galaxy S3 which means, once you’ve seen one, it’s hard to accept second best...

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini: release date: Out now

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini price: £310

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