I don’t know about you but, the increasing size of smartphone screens is really starting to bug me. I really don’t need a 5″+ screen and I certainly can’t hold it comfortably in my small hands. So when I saw the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini it was love at first sight.
Full disclosure: I don’t normally like Samsung phones because of the cheap plastic feel but for some reason this little beauty is different. It is a shrunken clone of the S4 but somehow doesn’t feel as flimsy or cheaply built..it has a substantial feel to it that I haven’t seen in a Samsung phone for quite a while. This despite the same flimsy plastic back cover seen on the S3 and S4.
Even the button and port layout on the S4 Mini is the same as on the S4: Power is on the right side, near the top, the volume rocker is on the right, the Micro USB charging port is on the bottom, and the headphone jack and IR blaster are up top. If you have really sharp eyes you will notice that the Air gesture sensor is missing, which means there’s no hover-your-finger-over-the-screen features to play with no great loss as far as I am concerned..
The only other thing noticeably different between the S4 and S4 Mini when you set them side-by-side is that the Mini is slightly thicker, at 0.35 inches, versus the S4’s thinner 0.31-inch profile. But thanks to its smaller size and thicker, more rounded backside, it’s very comfortable to hold.
The biggest physical difference between the S4 Mini and the S4, of course, is screen size. The S4 Mini has a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display with a 960 x 540 screen resolution and the PPI goes from 441 to a not so impressive sounding 255. However, it’s not as bad as it sound. Sure, you lose the clarity of a Full HD display, but the qHD screen is still bright and colourful and in everyday use is perfectly good for videos and games and excellent for everything else.
Under the hood hate S4’s quad core processor has been replaced with a still pretty powerful dual core CPU running at 1.7GHz with 1.5Gb of RAM and 16Gb of internal memory. There is also a SD Card slot hidden away under the battery. It is running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.
The result is a good performing phone. Screens scroll smoothly apps open quickly and the S4 Mini handles multi tasking without breaking into a sweat. Data and Voice performance on the TELUS LTE network was excellent.
The cameras on this little smartphone don’t compare to the ones on the bigger sibling. The 2MP front facing camera is only so so. The rear facing 8MP shooter is a lot better taking pretty reasonable pictures under good lighting conditions. Take a look at these samples, as you can see the outdoor shot was pushing the limits.
The video camera is also not bad..it takes decent videos at 1080p and the autofocus works reasonably well.
Overall I really liked the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Sure, it doesn’t have all the features of the S4 but it does everything I need and the camera is good enough for snapshots as long as you don’t expect miracles under marginal conditions. The 4.3″ screen is the sweet spot as far as I am concerned. I would buy this phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a really good deal at TELUS where it is priced at $0 on a 2 year term with a $45 monthly spend before tax or a very reasonable $300 with no plan.