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Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

£139.99
design
features
performance
compatibility

4.1

5

Overall

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a very solid mid-level smartphone that offers a compromise between elite smartphone performance and budget smartphone price. It does pretty much everything you'd want it to do fairly well.

User Rating (15 votes)

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Sam Applegate

19th September 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is the smaller and not quite as pompous cousin of the full size S4. It has plenty in common with its larger relation, but there are some notable differences too.

Neat & Nimble

There aren't too many Android-based phones out there that are both slick operators and are the size of a normal phone. With a screen that's 4.3 inches high, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is undoubtedly one of those. I've never understood the craze for phones that are the size of a small tablet, with all the weight and lack of convenience that entails. Try getting one of those things into or out of your pocket in a hurry.

Smaller also generally means cheaper, and whilst you can certainly get respectable smartphones for a lot less cash than the S4 Mini retails for, you inevitably ended up sacrificing power and performance in a number of areas.

Aside from the size (which weighs in at a feather-light 109 grams), the build is notable for the fact that Samsung persevered with using shiny plastic rather than metal or glass. It certainly doesn't feel like a premium product, but nor is it falling apart at the seams. You can choose either a white, black or purple case according to your tastes. It looks fine on the whole, and you have a menu, home and return button at the bottom of the display the complement the touch screen. Samsung have also jettisoned the notification light that's found on the main S4.

Phone Characteristics

With a resolution of 540×960 and a pixels per inch figure of 258, the display sits squarely in the mid-range performance sector. It's miles behind Apple or HTC's crisp imagery, say, but it's a great deal sharper than some of the Nokia Lumia models. Brightness is average and as the screen doesn't seem to pick up too many fingerprints then you're generally able to see the display when you're out in the sunshine. On the whole, the display is fine, and will offer 1080P video playback.

Some distinctive features of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini include NFC connectivity and Samsung's group play facility, which allows you to link up your phone with friends to play brilliant quality music. Ahem. Sorry for the sarcasm. Group play is better for creating a sense of social purpose and generating a bit of extra volume than it is for actually playing music – if you want to enjoy listening to something, I'd suggest pairing the S4 Mini with a Bluetooth speaker, possibly even using the aforementioned NFC. There's also an IR blaster thrown in so that you can use it as a TV remote in the war for control of what's on!

On top of these slightly more unusual features, you have a barometer, a digital compass and various other odds and ends thrown in.

Having owned and lost expensive iPhones in the past to apparently innocuous amounts of the water, the fact that the S4 Mini is rated IP67 is quite a big plus in my book. What that means, in case you're unaware of the lingo, is that the phone is dustproof and will survive a dunking in water of up to one metre's depth. It's not something I'm going to test, but it is a source of some comfort.

Middle Of The Road

With an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9MP front camera, the Galaxy S4 Mini is photographically average for its class of smartphone. You have a flash to help with low-light conditions and the phone will take much better snaps outdoors than it manages indoors. Same again for video: it's OK but it's nothing to write home about, the only subsidiary criticism being that the microphone seems a bit below par, so the sound captured with your video is often woolly.

Specifications are a bit boring and meaningless for a lot of people, but they're worth taking a quick look at. The phone has 1.5GB of RAM, a 1.7GHz processor and supposedly 8GB of memory (more about that later). It runs Android pretty rapidly, which is especially the case if you get rid of Samsung's Touchwiz version and install something a bit more efficient. It doesn't really punch out games very well, and you'll likely experience lag and choppiness if you ask it to take on something demanding.

The S4 Mini's battery life is downright average and you can look for it last about a day with normal usage. There are phones out there that far outstrip it that will suit some users, but there are plenty of others that can't even manage to last a day.

A Tiny Sting In The Tail

The worst thing about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is probably the abysmal amount of memory that you're left with once all the system files have been taken into account. On the 8GB model, users will likely be shocked to discover that they only have about 3.6GB to play around with upon purchase. That's a pretty poor show, but as there's a micro-SD slot it's not actually too much of a hassle or cost to resolve.

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To read more on this model, check out the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Smooth and powerful performance
  • Fast and large memory
  • High resolution camera
  • Use smart services for health, travel and more
  • Play and share with friends using Group Play

Model

Screen Size (inches)

Storage (gb)

Processor

Operating System

Rating

Price

Apple iPhone 5s

4

16

Dual-core

IOS 8

£N/A

Motorola Moto G

4.5

8

Quad-core

Android Kitkat 4.4

£109.00

Nokia Lumia 520

4

8

Dual-core

Windows Phone Os

£60.00

Nokia Lumia 630

4.5

8

Quad-core

Windows Phone Os

£74.95

Nokia Lumia 635

4.5

8

Quad Core

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1

£64.91

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

4.3

8

Dual Core 1.7 Ghz

4.2.2 Jellybean

£139.99

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

4.5

16

Exynos 3 Quad 3470

KitKat 4.4.2

£234.50

Sony Xperia M2

4.8

8

Quad-core 1.2 GHz

Android OS V4.3 (Jelly Bean)

£119.99


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