Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini: Powerful enough for those who can’t afford Galaxy S4

Samsung is hoping to give its lighter smartphone much of the same GS 4 taste.

Written by Muhammad Zulqarnain Zulfi | New Delhi | Published: June 6, 2013 7:10:23 pm

If Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is more smartphone than you think you need,the electronics giant has just offered up the smaller,more midrange – and surely cheaper – Galaxy S4 Mini.

Samsung is hoping to give its lighter smartphone much of the same GS 4 taste with just a little less vigor. Although the Mini has stepped-down specs compared to its flagship family,like a lower-resolution screen and an 8-megapixel camera instead of a 13-megapixel shooter,it’s no slouch when it comes to the Galaxy S4’s core features,even a built-in TV remote control.

As with the Galaxy S3 Mini that came before,this version is aimed more toward the mass market than the high-end sector,without sacrificing too many of the superphone’s more defining features.

Launch and Price

With the Samsung galaxy S3 launching for €300 (Rs 23,300),it’s hard not to expect the S4 variation to launch at the same price. This could be bit too expensive given the specifications and strong competition for mid-range Android phone. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out – UK event scheduled for June 20 likely to give us more information. According to the sources,the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will be launched in India on 30th July 2013 and will be priced at Rs 24,000 (approx).


Samsung’s modest Mini is a wee bit shorter,thicker,and wider than the svelte Galaxy S4 but clearly cut from the same cloth. Like the round-shouldered original,the Mini retains its curved perimeter,metallic rim,and rectangular home button,and also comes in black and white versions.

Specifically,the global GS4 Mini stands 124.6 millimeters tall (4.9 inches) by 61.3 millimeters wide (2.4 inches) by 8.9 millimeters thick (0.35-inch) and weighs a lighter 107 grams (3.7 ounces,compared to the GS4’s 4.6-ounce weight.) A 3G-only,dual SIM version will weigh a hair more at 108 grams.

The Galaxy S4 Mini has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen. Inside is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor.

The phone’s screen quality is perhaps the first place you’ll really notice the hardware differences between the Galaxy S4 and its little cousin. Don’t expect the S4 Mini’s 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display to look as sharp at 960×540 pixels as does the Galaxy S4’s 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution on its 5-inch screen. For all you pixel-hounds,that’s a 441 pixel density on the Galaxy S4 compared with 256ppi for the S4 Mini.

Both Galaxy screens support the same color gamut and OLED display technology,though the Mini won’t have the Galaxy S4’s ultrasensitive,glove-friendly capabilities.

From the looks of it,the S4 Mini shares most of the S4 family’s other physical attributes,including the location and shape of the camera,flash,sensors,buttons,and ports. It seems that the Mini sports the same subtle patterning as the GS4’s finish.

The Operating System

Importantly,the Galaxy S4 Mini runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean underneath its TouchWiz layer. Custom interfaces like TouchWiz are notorious for stalling Android update efforts,so starting at such a current OS build is crucial for keeping a phone like the GS4 Mini from falling behind the times.

With TouchWiz comes a mountain of software embellishments,like more one-touch system settings in the notifications pull-down and options like Air View,which produces an onscreen cursor when you wag your finger close to the screen.

Samsung hasn’t told us exactly which extras will take root in the Mini,but it’s safe to assume that it’s an almost identical software build as the Galaxy S4. Transporting its signature Galaxy-only abilities across devices is absolutely Samsung’s style.

If software enhancements are your thing,the presence of these bonus features is one reason to pick the Mini over any other midtier device: you won’t have the most powerful hardware,but you’ll still hold onto features like Group Play,and Samsung’s built-in apps.

As for connections and communications,Bluetooth 4.0 keeps the Mini current. NFC,which makes content-sharing possible with a tap,will make it onto LTE-enabled versions of the Mini. Samsung isn’t including NFC in non-LTE Mini handsets,but it likely has something to do with cost control for different markets worldwide.

The Shutterbug

Although the Galaxy S4 Mini may not deliver quite the rich detail of the S4’s 13-megapixel camera,Samsung is still gifting the ‘decaf’ device with an 8-megapixel shooter,which is no resolution to sneeze at,especially the way Samsung typically outfits its camera modules. Expect high-fidelity images and smooth 1080p HD video.

The 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera should also pull its weight for casual self-portraits and video chats.

Shutterbugs will also get a nice,large helping of Samsung’s photo software,including panorama and HDR modes (that’s high-dynamic range),night mode,burst shot,and several others that help pick the best of the bunch.

While the new Sound & Shot mode makes an appearance (that records an audio clip to narrate the still,but plays back only on GS4 phones,) the new dual-shot mode — which uses both front and rear camera captures in a single picture — does not.

The Performance

While it’s tough to guess how well the Galaxy S4 Mini will perform all around the world,the specs do tell a promising story. First up,there are up to six bands for global LTE support,plus HSPA+ 42 speeds,and 3G and 2G fail-safes.

LTE-ready builds of the Mini won’t come to every market,but if you’ve got LTE phones where you live,that’s the version you should expect to see when and if the handset lands in a store near you. Otherwise,you’ll get a 3G version of the phone,and,in some markets,even a dual-SIM device. The double-barrel configuration has its benefits,but don’t hold your breath for a dual-SIM Mini to hit every country .

Now what about raw computing power? Unlike the superpowered quad-core or octa-core Galaxy S4,the GS4 Mini will pack a 1.7GHz dual-core processor under its hood. That’s completely respectable,depending on the chipset’s make and model,and I’ll guess that most people won’t miss the Galaxy S4’s high-octane gaming speeds.

The phone’s smaller screen size is one explanation for the Mini’s 1,900mAh battery,which should still keep the phone charged during the peak hours of the day. Unsurprisingly,there’s a smaller bank of storage on this lighter device — 8GB,with closer to 5GB for the phone owner’s content. However,a microSD slot holds up to 64GB extra.

In terms of RAM,The Galaxy S4 Mini splits the difference between the GS4’s 2GB quotient and midrange device’s 1GB capacity with 1.5GB RAM.

Face off: Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S4 Mini?

From the looks of it,the Galaxy S4 Mini has the ingredients to deliver a very solid smartphone experience at a more affordable price,though the screen quality and battery life could flag compared with the real S4 deal. More serious mobile gamers and camera snobs should stick with the fully loaded Galaxy S4.

That advice also goes for anyone who consumes a large amount of reading and viewing material from their phone screen. The GS4’s,while fairly reflective,will still trump the Mini’s lower-res display.

Still,if you like the sound of a surely less expensive device that keeps most of its key features,and you don’t mind some toned-down specs,hold off for the moment until more information about the Mini pours in.

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