Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review

Find out how the Galaxy S3 Mini measures up to its big brother as we go hands on

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – at a glance

Stuff has been using the full size Samsung Galaxy S3 for some time – so we were initially worried that the dainty Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini would be crushed in our burly paws. Despite some trepidation in taking a step down in size and specs, we were pleasantly surprised. In fact, it's refreshing to take a step back from screen size inflation and recognise that a 4in Super AMOLED does the job fine – without stretching our pockets or burning a hole in our wallet.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – speed

A dual core 1GHz processor was top of the line just six months ago, and now it’s running the show in this mid-range mobile. When compared to its 1.4Ghz quad-core toting big brother the S3, the smaller Mini holds up fine. Running Android Jelly Bean it seamless flits between apps, fires up the camera instantly, runs videos over tasks without lag, loads web pages with haste, and even handles games like Angry Birds Star Wars far easier then our attempts to play it competently.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – build

The Mini has the looks, build and overall feel of the top of the range Galaxy S3 – only smaller in this 115g mass. When we read the specs, in spite of it packing NFC, we were worried the Mini would be nothing like the larger S3, but with it here in hand there’s little difference. Sure the screen isn’t as sharp and the load times on downloads might be a little slower, but not to an annoying degree, and for the money we can’t complain. Plus the flash sitting below the camera actually looks cooler on the Mini. And if the 8GB storage isn’t enough it’ll even take a microSD for expansion.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – size

In spite of the 4in Super AMOLED screen, which sounds large, the phone feels tiny – making even the 3.5in iPhone 4S seem bulky. That’s thanks to its minimal bezel and efficient use of space – well done Samsung. So you’ve got a pocket friendly phone that makes texting a stretch-free experience. But without zooming in on web pages you’ll be making a trip to your eye doctor sooner than you’d like. While fine for watching films with that bright colourful sAMOLED – the WVGA (480x800) resolution just doesn't measure up to the 4.7in display on the Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – affordability

At £300, even a mid range phone like the Galaxy S3 Mini isn’t cheap these days. But it's money well spent – you get the full Android 4.1 Jelly Bean experience in a portable package, with a 5MP camera that's plenty good enough for snaps. But £280 will net you the new 16GB Google Nexus 4 – which packs in the industry leading quad core Snapdragon S4 processor, an 8MP snapper, wireless charging, Android 4.2, and 4.7in IPS+ HD display. But if you don’t want that larger screen and don't mind paying a bit more, the Galaxy S3 Mini certainly fits the bill.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini hands on review – verdict

If you want to save money and don't mind a smaller screen (and for dainty-handed gadgeteers that might be a benefit) then the Galaxy S3 Mini is ideal. But with the top of the line Google Nexus 4 available for just a bit more – or even an iPhone 4S if size is the key selling point – there are other options out there. For a premium quality feel and look, that runs fast enough to keep up with all but the most taxing tasks, the S3 Mini really is a worthy smaller sibling to its elder S3 brother.

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