R4400 Samsung Mini S3 – Hit Or Miss?

The Good
The Bad
The Verdict
★★★☆☆

Compared to the Nexus 4, the Samsung S3 Mini struggles to convince.

R4499.95
Buy Now

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini [Review]

With the Galaxy S3, Samsung pretty much dominated the high-end smartphone market for most of 2012 and the phone has been able to capture a massive and loyal customer base, much like the iPhone in its heyday. But one of the recurring criticisms that the Galaxy S3 received was that it’s got everything, but it’s just a little too big for comfort.

Enter the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. As the name suggests, this is a smaller version of its bigger brother and also comes at a more affordable R 4400. But how do the specs stack up?

(For a quick comparison, skip ahead to our Galaxy S3 vs Galaxy S3 Mini comparison table)

Still the same good looks

At first glance, the S3 Mini convinces with the same shiny plastic chassis with its sexy silver trim we came to love from the original S3. It also carries through the super cool touch sensitive back and menu buttons that only light up when you need them. The S3 Mini also copies the tried and tested formula of just two buttons along the edge of the phone, with the volume rocker on the left and the on/off switch on the right.

samsung-galaxy-S3-mini-south-africa

Even though the S3 Mini is – oddly enough – just 1mm thicker than the S3, the phone pleases with a sleek, tidy and ergonomic design.

S3 Mini – A No-Brainer At The Price?

From the above, you might ask yourself why you should fork out another R 2000 if the S3 Mini looks just as smart as the bigger S3. And the answer is becomes clear when we take a closer look underneath the hood…

Whilst the S3 was clearly an ambitious and extremely well executed effort from Samsung to design a market defining handset, the S3 Mini serves a much less ambitious end.
So whilst the original S3 comes firing out of the box with a speedy quad-core 1.4GHz processor, the S3 Mini runs a very much muted 1GHz dual-core. Throw in a supporting 1GB of RAM and you end up with a phone that performs well enough in speed terms – it certainly doesn’t suffer from feeling slow or laggy in everyday use. But it is clearly not leading from the front.

The screen has been subjected to a similar downgrade, with the stunning 1280×720 screen from the S3 being replaced by a 4in super AMOLED screen on the S3 Mini. And whilst this is perfectly acceptable and delivers crips and clear viewing angles, it is evident where the S3 Mini cuts costs to come in at a much lower price than the bigger brother. The camera has also been tuned down to 5 megapixels – compared to the S3’s 8 megapixel shooter – which might be frustrating to camera users, but will be perfectly acceptable for everyday happy snappers.

The slightly slower processor and the less intensive screen place fewer demands on the battery, which shows in an overall very acceptable battery life on the S3 Mini.

The S3 Mini runs Android 4.1 which is a clear advantage against other Android-phones within this price range, who are unlikely to run such an up-to-date version of the OS. And even though the S3 Mini comes standard with just 8 GB of memory, Samsung has had the foresight to make this expandable via a microSD card.

In terms of software, the Galaxy S3 mini includes most standard features that Samsung users will be familiar with, plus some additional apps that ensure your set straight from the start.

Verdict

The Galaxy S3 Mini is clearly based on a tried-and-tested formula and emulates the S3 very well in design terms. Unfortunately, the S3 Mini is not just cut down in size, and its decreased processing speed and lackluster screen make it feel somewhat dated.

With price thus becoming a key determinant, the S3 Mini will have a hard time convincing customers who are weighing up their options between this and the

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less expensive and better featured Google Nexus 4. Unless you are a die-hard Samsung fan, the Nexus 4 is simply a better choice and offers more features, better performance and updated specifications.

The Good
  • Proven design
  • Cheaper than S3
  • Thin and light, easy to hold
The Bad
  • Decreased processing power
  • Specification appear a bit dated when compared to latest Android phones
The Verdict
★★★☆☆
R4499.95
Check Price

Galaxy S3 Mini vs Galaxy S3

samsung-galaxy-S3-vs-galaxy-S3-mini

 

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

Display

   

Screen size

4.8in

4in

Resolution

1,280 x 720 pixels

800 x 480 pixels

Pixel density

306ppi

233ppi

Type

Super AMOLED

Super AMOLED

Processor and battery

   

Family

Samsung Exynos 4412

NovaThor U8420

CPU

Cortex A9

Cortex A9

Cores

Quad-core

Dual-core

Clock speed

1.4GHz

1GHz

GPU

Mali-400MP

Mali-400

Battery

2,100 mAh

1,500 mAh

Claimed 3G talk time

Up to 11h

Up to 7h

Storage and memory

   

RAM

2GB

1GB

Internal storage

16GB

8 / 16GB (market dependant)

microSD

Yes (up to 64GB)

Yes (up to 32GB)

Camera

   

Megapixels

8MP

5MP

Resolution

3,264 x 2,448 pixels

2,592 x 1,944 pixels

Video

1080p

720p

Front-facing camera

1.9MP

VGA

Wireless

   

UK Network

4G (LTE)

3G

Wi-Fi

802.11 a / b / g / n

802.11 a / b / g / n

NFC

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

v4.0 +HS (A2DP/AVRCP)

v4.0 (A2DP, LE, EDR)

Built-in charging

No

No

Dimensions

   

Size

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm

121.55 x 63

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9.9mm

Weight

131g

120g

Operating System

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Price (SIM-free)

R 6 400.95 RRP

R 4 449 RRP

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