Expert Review of Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini White frost
While Samsung’s latest Galaxy S4 handset may not have climbed mountains like its predecessor Galaxy S3 did, the company is looking to exploit the brand power set by it for all its worth. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the South Korean smartphone maker decided to launch a “Mini” version of its flagship handset, called the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Just like the Galaxy S3 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Mini comes with both bad and good news: the former called so, for the scaled-down specs and the latter for the scaled-down price tag. It is clearly aimed more at the average smartphone user who wishes to get a taste of high-end smartphone technology. The S4 Mini sports a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen display with a resolution of 960 x 540pixels and 256ppi pixel density. While it does a good job at rendering crisp images and text, it falls short of the amazing clarity of the full-scale S4. And of course, if you are a Phablet-phile, the loss of 0.7inches may hurt a lot. The S4 Mini is powered by a 1.7GHz dual-core processor and runs on the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system.
The Galaxy S4 Mini comes with an 8MP primary camera with Auto Focus, Digital Zoom and LED Flash. A 1.9MP digital camera sits on the front for video calling. The S4 Mini is also capable of shooting 1080p Full HD video at the rate of 30fps. However, Samsung has not compromised when it comes to the connectivity options: you get Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Infrared connectivity, NFC (only in GT-I9195), microUSB v2.0, 2G, 3G and optional 4G LTE. The dual-SIM capability on the phone is optional. The S4 Mini comes with 8GB of internal memory, of which 5GB can be accessible by the user. The 3G model offers 1.5GB of RAM while the LTE model offers 2GB of RAM. While we do know that the S4 Mini will run on a 1900mAh Li-Ion battery, Samsung has not yet announced the estimated battery life on the handset.
User Interface and UI functionality
The Galaxy S4 Mini will run on the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system. However, as usual, Samsung has pasted its own proprietary TouchWiz user interface on top. Several features of the full-scale S4 have been incorporated in the Mini, such as S Translator, S Health and Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri that is, S Voice. However, Air View and Air Gestures, which are some of the defining and most celebrated features of the S4, remain absent from the Mini.
The Galaxy S4 Mini comes with all the multimedia features that you would expect from a 2013 smartphone, including a Music Player that is capable of playing MP3/WAV/AC3/FLAC/eAAC+ formats and a Video Player that is capable of rendering MP4/DivX/XviD/H.263/H.264 formats. Stereo FM Radio is also available with RDS.
Pictures and Video quality
The 8MP shooter is a far cry from the 13MP camera that came with the full-scale S4. The image resolution from this camera is only 3264 x 2448pixels, which would stand in stark contrast to those produced by the S4’s camera. However, 1080p Full HD video recording is allowed at the rate of 30fps to bring some solace.
The Galaxy S4 Mini will be available in both 3G-only and LTE variants, so you can take your pick according to your needs and budget. Its 3G speeds are decent: HSDPA 42Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps while LTE speeds are spectacular as usual: Cat3 UL 50Mbps and DL 100Mbps. While the stock browser is good enough, you can choose to install Google Chrome from the Google Play Store, if you want more features.
Internal and External Memory
Memory space is a bit cramped on the S4 Mini with 8GB internal memory out of which, only 5GB is usable. However, it can be expanded up to 64GB using a microSD card. It needs to be kept in mind that the microSD card slot is located behind the battery, so it will be a bit annoying to remove the battery every time you want to swap the microSD cards.
Applications and Gaming
The S4 Mini comes with JAVA support and Google Play Store so you can pretty much download and run any application or game you want that is compatible with the Android operating system. The 1.7GHz dual-core processor is more than capable of running any high-end game that you throw at it. Besides, you get several standard Samsung applications like S Voice, S Translator and S Health, in addition to Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Google Hangouts and Picasa, which are present on almost every Android handset.
What we know for sure is that the Galaxy S4 Mini will come with a 1900mAh Li-Ion battery which , at first glance, seems a bit inadequate considering that the Galaxy S3 itself came with a 2100mAh battery. Samsung is yet to reveal details on the estimated battery life to be offered on the handset.
The Galaxy S4 Mini comes with most of the standard connectivity features seen on the full-scale S4, including Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth v4.0, microUSB 2.0, NFC (only in GT-I9195), Infrared Connectivity, 3G (standard) and 4G LTE (optional). The provision of dual-SIM capability is optional as well.
Pitting the S4 Mini against the recently launched Galaxy Mega 5.8, there are some very interesting differences in the features of the two phones, while both occupy more-or-less the same price category. While the S4 Mini comes with only a 4.3-inch display, the Mega 5.8, as the name says, comes with a gigantic 5.8-inch screen that is sure to attract the attention of Phablet-philes. Also, the S4 Mini comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean pre-loaded while, the Mega 5.8 comes pre-loaded with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, however, an update might be on the cards. The S4 Mini also packs more punch compared to the 1.4GHz Dual-core processor that powers the Mega 5.8. Both phones are equally placed with their 8MP shooters. However, the Mega 5.8 sprints ahead with a powerful 2600mAh Li-Ion battery that is somewhat necessary to power the huge display. Therefore, if you are looking for a phone with a large display to watch movies and play games on, the Mega 5.8 is your ideal pick. However, if you want a little more power under the hood, the S4 Mini may be more suited to your speeds.